Boring meetings – every office worker has had to endure them. They seem interminable, pointless and ultimately self-defeating, no matter how noble or important the topic of discussion may have been.

Facilitating meetings successfully is a skill that does not always come naturally to the people who have to run them. Below are useful tips to make sure your next long meeting comes off without a hitch.

Involve Everyone and Stay on Topic

Do not let one person dominate the meeting, no matter what their status in the company may be. Making sure that all your attendees are engaged and actively participating is a sure-fire way not only to hold their attention, but to keep your meeting moving at a good pace and in the right direction. If you did your homework, your attendees know the purpose of the meeting and have come prepared to discuss the points in your agenda. Be sure you stay on topic or you will lose their interest.

Employ Varied Techniques

Keep in mind that variety is the spice of life; this holds true for your meetings as well. Have a PowerPoint presentation, use a question and answer technique to elicit new ideas, break them into small groups, have your participants role-play scenarios, etc. Choosing a variety of presentation and discussion methods will enliven your sessions and hold the interest of your participants throughout the meeting. It will also keep them guessing (as to what the next activity will be) and prevent them from getting bored and

Use Humor

No matter how serious the topic of discussion may be, using the right type of humor will help you hold the interest of your group. However, as a general rule, avoid raunchy, sexist or any type of off-putting humor. Stay away from making snarky comments at the expense of anyone in the meeting. Instead, share humorous personal anecdotes that relate to the topic of discussion or invite your participants to do so. This will indicate the level of sharing they are comfortable at and you can take your cue from there.

We have a team of seasoned, dynamic professionals who are ready to assist you as strategic planning facilitators as well as project, seminar or conference facilitators. Take our meeting facilitation training courses and say good-bye to unproductive business meetings forever. If you’re thinking of entering the facilitation field, we’ll be glad to talk to you about our professional facilitator training program. It’s an excellent course to begin or jumpstart your career in this fast-paced and challenging field.