“It is easy to know that your meetings aren’t being productive, but knowing why is much harder. Learning what an effective meeting looks like, and how to run such a meeting, is such a valuable skill that I didn’t even know I needed.” — facilitation workshop participant
Sophie Rodgers, a May 2020 graduate of Bentley University, is now the school’s Manager of Sustainability. In her role, she is co-leading the Sustainability and Climate Action Strategic Planning Process, chairs the newly formed Green Revolving Fund, and manages the Student Sustainability Leaders, the Office of Sustainability’s academic year interns.
How Sophie became so central to shepherding Bentley toward achieving its sustainability goals has a lot to do with her skills as a facilitator.
Thanks to both in-person and virtual facilitation training from GreenerU, Bentley’s Office of Sustainability has incorporated facilitation techniques into how they run all their meetings, from staff meetings to larger committee meetings — which has resulted in diverse groups on campus being able to navigate decision-making processes while pivoting to virtual meetings during the pandemic.
“The biggest takeaway for me has been creating a feedback culture,” Sophie says. “At the end of every meeting, I ask for feedback to make sure the process continually improves.”
Why good facilitation matters
You know it when you’re in an effective meeting. You’re hearing diverse perspectives, the energy is palpable, and everyone is sharing good information. It feels like you’re getting something done. You’re making decisions together. You’re learning something. Breakthroughs are happening. You leave inspired to take further action.
Don’t these meetings just happen?
Obviously, if you’re reading this article, you know they don’t “just happen.” The hallmarks of these effective meetings are the result of intentional preparation and anticipation on the part of a leader who knows how to effect them.
While the skills and techniques are many and take practice, we’ve whittled down the three elements of good meeting facilitation:
While GreenerU provides a whole range of services and support (we are starting to call it the “enchilada”), one of the best-kept secrets of what we do is offer facilitation training. Many institutions find this to be the biggest bang for their buck. It’s somewhere in the “teach me to fish” instead of “give me some fish” analogy.
Even during this strange pandemic time, GreenerU offers remote facilitation training workshops that can scale to different depths and types of meetings. The workshops can be broken up into multiple sessions to reduce Zoom fatigue. They provide a theoretical overview of the psychology of group dynamics, collaborative leadership, and organizational change through effective meetings, giving you practical tools as a facilitator for many different types of meetings. Participants have ample time to practice facilitation through fun, challenging, and interactive activities and receive constructive feedback from the group in a safe environment.
This workshop covers topics such as:
The short answer is yes.
We’ve gotten loads of positive feedback from previous facilitation training.
Mary Ellen Mallia, director of environmental sustainability at the University at Albany, hired GreenerU in 2019 to coach the school through a sustainability planning process that included facilitation training. “The people involved not only made a plan; they learned skills that we could use in our professional lives going forward,” she noted. “Your team really helped us out because we wanted to be very involved in the plan.”
“The facilitation training was invaluable,” said Chad Carwein, sustainability manager of East Carolina University, with whom GreenerU worked on a sustainability strategic plan throughout 2018. “The core team of focus area chairs participated and felt like they got a lot of value out of that.”
If your team is looking for fun, interactive, remote, and productive professional development opportunities, consider group facilitation training from GreenerU. Contact us for more information.