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Helpful Hints for Effective Meetings


Title: Helpful Hints for Effective Meetings Author: Betsy Stanwood Last modified by: Special Education Created Date: 10/31/2006 10:30:01 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Helpful Hints for Effective Meetings

Helpful Hints for Effective Meetings
  • New Hanover County Schools
  • Betsy Stanwood
  • Revised Fall 2006
  • Additional input from Debbie Stout

Desired Outcomes
  • Introduction to meeting facilitation techniques
  • Introduction to basic mediation strategies

Effective meetings
  • What do effective meetings include?
  • They should include
  • Meeting facilitator
  • Meeting agenda
  • Appropriate physical environment
  • Meeting checklist Review for preparation
  • Ground rules
  • Communication among team members that is
    respectful of others positions on the topic

Meeting Facilitator
  • What is a meeting facilitator?
  • A meeting facilitator is the person in charge of
    the meeting. They move the meeting along making
    sure that the focus of the meeting is kept and
    the participants all have opportunities for input
    questions while keeping communication open,
    honest, and professional.

Meeting Facilitator Roles Responsibilities
  • Prior to meeting
  • Identifies the purpose of the meeting
  • Develops the agenda
  • Identifies roles for participants
  • Obtains an appropriate location for the meeting
  • Makes sure all necessary participants are invited
    to the meeting
  • Schedules a pre-meeting with certain
    participants, if appropriate

Meeting Facilitator Roles Responsibilities
  • At the meeting
  • Distributes the agenda
  • Makes sure introductions are made roles are
  • Establishes ground rules
  • Keeps to the agenda
  • Assists the group with the process of the meeting

Meeting Facilitator Roles Responsibilities
  • At the end of the meeting
  • Summarize actions
  • Identifies any next steps
  • Sets next meeting date, if necessary
  • Thanks the group for their time participation

Techniques Used by Effective Facilitators
  • Avoid detailed decision making with a large group
  • Focus energies on actions that effect the
    outcomes (stickers vs. stamps)
  • Move the group to actions
  • Prioritize, clarify, decide, develop, identify,
    determine, complete
  • Seek confirm commitments
  • Each participant gets a job
  • Change observers to doers
  • Post actions with names assigned or send
    follow-up summary
  • Bring closure to items or discussions
  • Reach consensus
  • If agreement to an action is reached, keep it

Coming Together Conference- February 19, 2001 Dr.
Norma Taylor, Assistant Director, Special
Education Related Services
Techniques Used by Effective Facilitators
  • Keep everyone involved.
  • We have heard from the math science
    departments, what do the counselors think?
  • Lets hear some comments from this side of the
  • Mom Dad, what are your thoughts on this idea?
  • Mr. Assistant Principal, we have not heard your
    thoughts on this yet.
  • Use an issue bin for noting ideas, suggestions,
    or concerns not on the agenda (to be addressed at
    a later time or meeting)
  • Great for redirecting people who stay off the
  • Write it down move back on track
  • Avoid asking people to hold that thought for
    later bring it up when we are finished with
  • Be flexible
  • Change the agenda if items need to be
  • Ask for a 5 minute break
  • The train can change tracks after it leaves the
  • Summarize results follow-up before the ending
  • What did we do?
  • How did we do?
  • What needs to happen next?
  • When will we reconvene (if necessary)?

Meeting agenda
  • When do you need to design an agenda?
  • Consider designing an agenda when
  • There are controversial issues to resolve
  • There is an anticipated dispute
  • There are a large number of people involved
  • There are trust issues among team participants
  • There is a complex issue to discuss or resolve
  • There is a time crunch

Design an agenda
  • How do you design an agenda?
  • Consider designing an agenda that includes
  • Date of meeting
  • Start time ending time
  • Assigned roles for participants (time keeper,
    note taker, etc)
  • Location
  • Purpose of meeting
  • Desired outcome for the meeting
  • List participants
  • Agenda items (Be sure to include introductions
    ground rules)
  • Participant who is addressing each agenda item
  • Timeframe dedicated to each agenda item
  • Next steps or actions for meeting follow-up
  • Participant responsible for each next step/action
  • Determination of next meeting (if necessary) as
    last step

Appropriate physical environment
  • How do you set up the physical environment?
  • Consider the following when setting up the
    physical environment prior to a meeting
  • Privacy with limited distractions during the
  • Adequate meeting space including
  • Size of room (not too big but not over crowded)
  • Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Seating
  • Equipment supplies including
  • Necessary forms
  • Pens
  • Paper for notes
  • Copies of information to be shared
  • Seating arrangement
  • Staff mingled among other participants (not
    parents their advocate on one side of table
    staff on the other side)

Meeting checklist Review for preparation
  • What kinds of things should be on a meeting
    checklist that you review for preparation for a
  • These are the types of things that should be on
    the meeting checklist
  • Provide adequate notice of the date, time, place,
    purpose of the meeting
  • The purpose of the meeting is clear
  • Meeting has clear beginning ending times (The
    ending time is changed only with consent of the
    entire team.)
  • Roles are clarified at the beginning of the
  • Team members are prepared for the meeting (Bring
    data, educational records, progress reports,
    other assessments, probes, work samples, etc.)
  • The room seating arrangements support the
    meetings purpose
  • Decision making procedures are clear for all team
  • Working agreements are clear affirmed by all
    team members
  • All participants are involved contribute fully
  • The real issues are raised dealt with honestly
    (Different points of view are encouraged
  • A clear written record is kept which summarizes
    all decisions made
  • The meeting ends with a process evaluation
  • The group assigns accountability establishes
    action items everyone leaves with a clear
    understanding of who will do what by when to
    follow through on meeting agreements
  • Communication avenues (who to ask which
    questions) are clarified

Ground Rules
  • For long meetings or multiple meetings situation
  • Ground rules are usually determined by the group
    through a brainstorming/listing process. These
    are recorded posted.
  • For short meetings
  • The facilitator might present rules ask the
    group for additions or deletions.

Ground Rules
  • What other things should be considered in
    establishing ground rules?
  • Consider these notes
  • At the outset, let people know what you hope to
    accomplish in the allotted time. Even though the
    agenda is printed and distributed, it will help
    to restate the objective in your own words.
  • At the outset, let people know at what time in
    the meeting you plan to revisit progress toward
    the meeting purpose and have the team decide to
    continue with meeting past agreed ending time or
    identify a second meeting date.
  • Meetings have different formats, each of which
    suggests a set of ground rules.
  • For example,
  • there are no bad ideas in brainstorming
    sessions, and speakers may or may not be
    permitted to interrupt one another. Participants
    should understand whether they are expected to
    contribute to the conversation, or just listen.
    If you set clear ground rules at the beginning,
    it will be easier to keep the meeting on track.
  • To avoid interruptions, put telephones on "do not
    disturb" and turn off mobile phones or set to

Ground Rules
Sample Ground Rules
  • Start on time/end on time
  • Stay on task
  • Honor facilitators requests
  • Listen to each other (one person talks at a time)
  • Open, honest communication
  • There are NO dumb questions
  • Accept others comments without judgment
  • Discussion is confidential
  • ?Additional sample ground rules are listed in
    Sample ground rules links at end of this

Ground Rules Start on Time Stay on
Task Listen Accept Others Comments
Communication Among Team Members that is
Respectful of Others Positions on the Topic
  • Be a Vibeswatcher
  • Pay attention to nonverbal communication, such
  • Body language
  • Facial expressions
  • Side conversations
  • People interrupting each other
  • Pay attention to verbal communications, such as
  • Making judgmental statements
  • Making global all or none kinds of statements
    (we never do that)
  • Making personal attacks or accusations ( meeting
    facilitator should use reframing to get at the
    underlying legitimate issues or concerns)
  • Making unclear statements (meeting facilitator
    should question team member further for

Lets see. Yes, they are smiling and shaking
Techniques that Dissolve Communication
Threatening If you dont, then You had better
or else
Ordering You must You have to You will
Preaching Its your duty to You should You
ought to
Lecturing Here is why you are wrong Do you
Focusing on Self Listen to my problem Nothing
is as bad as I have it
Denying I dont see anything wrong There is
no problem
Judging You are just crazy You have no
Laying Blame She is the reason for the
trouble Its your fault
What Do You Think?
Look at this picture. List or discuss the things
you observe the mediator (meeting facilitator)
doing that are poor meeting facilitation
  • Just a few observations!
  • Talking on phone while meeting in progress
  • Eating
  • Leaning back in chair
  • Feet on table (too casual)
  • Allowing arguments
  • Allowing crying

A Meeting Gone Wrong
  • What kinds of things can happen to make a meeting
    go wrong?
  • Consider these things
  • Someone says to a parent
  • We cant do
  • We dont do
  • We never do
  • We only do
  • We dont believe in
  • No student gets more than
  • It would cost too much to
  • It would take too much
  • I have 25 (30) other students in my class so
  • You should put your child on medication or
  • I believe it is willful behavior
  • Staff unprepared for meeting
  • Staff in disagreement with each other during
    meeting (should the team have had a pre-meeting?)

Unreasonable Requests
  • What if a member or parent seems unreasonable?
  • Consider responding with one of the following
  • Where did you hear about that? Could you provide
    me with a copy or give me the source so that we
    can gather more information?
  • Are you using that at home?
  • Do you have data on that? Can you get us
  • Which IEP goals (objectives) do you see that
  • How do you envision it being implemented?
  • Have you seen progress in this area?
  • Have we described what were doing in the program
    were using?
  • What part (s) of the IEP/IAP/Interventions do you
    agree are appropriate?
  • Are you familiar with our process for determining

Out of the Box Thinking
We encourage our teams to think outside of the box
Think of one meeting you have participated in as
a team member and the team came up with an
innovative idea to resolve the issue.
Other Effective Meeting Strategies
  • Using consensus
  • What is consensus?
  • A general agreement reached through open
    communication, understanding opposing views,
    consideration of alternatives in an open fair
    environment shared commitment to the decision
    reached. The focus is on unanimous commitment
    instead of unanimous agreement.

Other Effective Meeting Strategies
  • Using conflict resolution strategies
  • What is conflict and what are sources of
  • Conflict is a controversy, disagreement, or
    opposition. It is the natural tension that arises
    from different perspectives.

Sources of Conflict
  • What are some sources (causes) of conflict?
  • Expectations
  • Broken Promises
  • Incompetence
  • Lack of Quality
  • Resources
  • Time
  • Money
  • Personnel
  • Space
  • Values
  • Priorities
  • Perceptions
  • Styles
  • Personal
  • Standing on Principles
  • Inner Conflict
  • Unmet Needs

The JCA Mediation Model 1995 Justice Center of
Dynamics of Conflict
  • What happens if conflict goes unresolved?
  • Feelings intensify
  • Positions harden
  • Dehumanizing occurs
  • Desire to punish emerges
  • Communication Deteriorates

The JCA Mediation Model 1995 Justice Center of
Other Effective Meeting Strategies
  • Formal Informal Mediation

Informal Mediation
Formal Mediation
  • Mediation is an act of bringing two states, sides
    or parties in a dispute closer together toward
    agreement through alternative dispute resolution
    (ADR), a dialogue in which a (generally) neutral
    third party, the mediator, using appropriate
    techniques, assists two or more parties to help
    them negotiate an agreement, with concrete
    effects, on a matter of common interest.
  • Court mandated mediation
  • Mediation Center
  • An informal, voluntary process intended to
    resolve conflicts, without resorting to
    arbitration or litigation, by using an impartial
    third party to facilitate an agreement .
  • Third party (liaison, administrator, etc) attend
    meeting to assist in facilitating resolution of
  • Third party (liaison, administrator, etc)
    assisting in facilitating communication between
  • Facilitated IEP

Language of Resolution Techniques
  • What are some mediation techniques that help
    resolve conflict?

Statement Purpose How To Do Example
To convey interest to keep the other party
Dont agree or disagree use neutral words
Can you tell me more?
To get more information to help the speaker see
other points of view
Ask questions
When did this happen?
To show you are listening check your
Find positive from negative statement
You wish he were more helpful?
Flip Sides
To show understanding of how one feels to help
party evaluate his/her feelings
Reflect a persons basic feelings
You seem very angry.
Reflect Feelings
The JCA Mediation Model 1995 Justice Center of
Language of Resolution Techniques
  • What are some mediation techniques that help
    resolve conflict?
  • Statement Purpose How To Do Example

To review progress to pull together ideas to
establish basis for further discussion
Restate major ideas expressed
These seem to be the key ideas so far.
Acknowledge value of issues show appreciation
for efforts and actions
I appreciate your willingness to resolve this
To acknowledge worthiness of the person
To create doubt in ones mind about a hardened
Cite possible consequences confront
discrepancies and unrealistic viewpoints
Have you thought about what court costs might be
Reality Testing
The JCA Mediation Model 1995 Justice Center of
  • The most important thing in communication is to
    hear what isn't being said.
  • Peter Drucker (1909 - 2005)

  • Resources Links
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • The JCA Mediation Model 1995, Justice Center of
    Atlanta, Inc.

More Resources
  • Sample agenda links
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • Sample ground rules links
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

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