LSI Blog

14 Easy Tricks To Make Your Conference Interactive and Engaging

Many of us have been to a boring and humdrum conference. If you’re hosting a large meeting, you won’t want people walking away saying the same for yours.

In our experience as facilitation professionals, we have learned some general tricks for getting and keeping an audience’s attention. With these easy tricks, you can take your conference to the next level by being both interactive and exciting. Click here to read more »

Virtual Meetings: Why Are They on the Rise?

Technology, once a useful if not limited tool, is now undeniably interwoven into the fabric of both our personal and professional lives. It’s no surprise then that virtual meetings are becoming the norm for many businesses and agencies.

Virtual meeting technology has experienced a steady upward climb in efficiency, clarity and accessibility while the price of travel has only gotten more costly. Read below to see how the rise of virtual meetings is helping businesses improve their bottom line.  Click here to read more »

Tuesday’s Master Facilitation Tip: Starting on Time

It’s 9:12.  The meeting was supposed to start 12 minutes ago.  As the project manager, you purposely had this monthly senior executive update scheduled for 9:00 – not too early so that you could avoid hearing the “bad traffic” excuse, and not too late so that you could avoid “the last meeting ran over” excuse.

Yet, true to form, only a third of your audience is present – the ones who typically arrive on time.  And, the key person, the executive sponsor for the project, hasn’t arrived yet.  She’s the one who will give the final sign-off on the status, and you don’t want to start without her.

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Common Issues Shared by Virtual and Face-to-Face Meetings

Planning a successful meeting is a process, no matter how it’s done. Depending on the medium (conference call, virtual meeting or in person), that process may or may not change in order to encourage full participation from all key members and increase follow-through after the meeting.  Click here to read more »

Tuesday’s Master Facilitation Tip: Know Your Process Cold

Do you find that you are nervous before starting a facilitated session?  I do too, despite having facilitated well over 500 sessions. There is a difference, however, between the nervousness during my first year of facilitation and the nervousness I have now 30 years later.

  • The first few times I facilitated the internal voice was saying, “Oh, my God. I’m nervous. I’m about to try to facilitate this group? Is it going to go well? Do I know what I’m going to say? Am I really prepared? What if I blow it? What if I stumble or say something wrong? What if…?”
  • Sound familiar? Do you have an internal voice that sounds like this too? Well, these days, the nervousness is still there, and the internal voice is still active. But, it’s different: “Oh, my God. I’m nervous… Hmm, I wonder what’s for lunch?”

Why the difference? Well, of course, experience helps a lot. But, I think there is another major factor involved. Over time, I learned that a significant factor impacting my nervousness was whether I felt prepared. I know now to address this by making sure I “know my process cold.”

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Problems Unique to Virtual Meetings

Technology has changed the way that businesses approach client relationship management, productivity and efficiency. Virtual meetings are just one facet of an ever-evolving landscape of modern convenience. Yet, as much as they reduce travel costs and time spent away from the office, they often have their own set of issues. That’s why it’s important for meeting leaders to learn the most effective way to manage virtual meetings to maximize their benefit for all parties involved. Read below for some of the problems faced by virtual meeting leaders and ways to avoid them. Click here to read more »

Save the Dates! 3 Events, 2 CMFs, the #1 Facilitation Training

SAVE THE DATES! Train with our Certified Master Facilitators!

Wilkinson-Smith-CMFs

Looking for more ways to learn practical facilitation techniques that will improve your group management and meeting management skills? How about 3 events, with 2 CMFs, and the #1 facilitation training? Our facilitators look forward to seeing you at these exciting conferences in Q2 (in exciting cities too!). Join Michael Wilkinson and Richard Smith, two of the industry’s leading Certified Master Facilitators (CMFs). Their interactive sessions will help you innovate and sharpen your collaboration skills when it comes to strategic planning, virtual sessions, and working with groups.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming sessions…

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Tuesday’s Master Facilitation Tip: Paraphrasing?

By Michael Wilkinson, Founder and CEO of Leadership Strategies, Inc.

A Case Study

A member of our team was serving as coach and assistant  to a lead facilitator from another organization.  The lead facilitator was working with a group of 40 people responsible for identifying methods to improve public safety in a large urban area.  The task force included judges, police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, juvenile court officers and others who have an interest in public safety. At this particular meeting, the lead facilitator got the session started and asked the participants to identify the key issues they wanted to see discussed during the collaborative process.  One of the participants, a police chief, indicated, “We have to address the recidivism rate.”  The lead facilitator responded, “So, what you are saying is that the recidivism rate is too high.”  The police chief, just a bit annoyed, responded, “No.  What I said was that we need to address the recidivism rate.” 

Rather than write what the participant said, the facilitator once more responded, “OK, you’re saying then that too many criminals have repeat crimes.”  “No,” said the police chief, “That is not what I said.  I said the recidivism rate is too high!” The facilitator then turned to the other participants and asked, “What other concerns do we have about the recidivism rate?” 

At this point, you could see the police chief get totally exasperated.  He pulled back in his chair and didn’t say a word for the rest of the session.

The facilitator coach added later, “I could see the chief of police getting upset.  All I could think was, ‘Write it.  Just write it.  The man’s got a gun.  Write it!’”

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Tuesday’s Master Facilitation Tip: The Checkpoint

During meetings it can be very easy to lose people as you move from agenda item to agenda item. The checkpoint is a technique that you can use at the beginning of every agenda item to alert participants that you are moving to a new topic that is valuable to achieving your session results.

How do you take a checkpoint? You review, preview, and big view, as follows.

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Learning, Talent, and Leadership Development: Evolution or Revolution?

When it comes to developing a workforce, we know organizations face the challenge of justifying the costs of training and development. “What return will we see from this training?” “How many days will this take my team away from the office?” “Are these skills a nice-to-have or a need-to-have?” – some questions confronted by HR, learning, and departmental leaders. With shrinking departmental budgets, how do managers value training and development?

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