In an earlier blog, I discussed the importance of using checkpoints as you transition from one agenda item to the next to alert participants that you are moving to a new topic. During a checkpoint you perform three actions.

Taking a Checkpoint

  • Review—Review quickly what has been done to date.
  • Preview—Describe briefly what the group is about to do.
  • Big View—Explain how the previewed agenda item fits into the overall meeting

If, however, significant time has passed since you covered the last agenda item (for example, you are restarting a session on a new day or after an extended break), you should use an extended checkpoint to get the participants “back in the room.” There are four steps in an extended checkpoint.

Taking an EXTENDED Checkpoint

  • Remind—Remind the participants of the overall session objective.
  • Review—Review all agenda items that have been completed to date; consider “walking the walls” by walking around the room and pointing to the flip chart pages or other output that has been posted on the walls.
  • Preview— Preview all the agenda items remaining to be completed.
  • Big View— If only a subset of the remaining items are to be done today, explain how the specific items to be completed in the current session relate to the overall session objective.

As an example, let’s say you were facilitating a team through a session to improve the organization’s performance review process.

Sample Extended Checkpoint

  • Welcome back from lunch everyone! Let’s start with reviewing our session objective. As you recall the purpose of our session is to overhaul our performance review process to make it more streamlined, more objective, more transparent, and more developmental focused. (Remind)
  • In the session this morning we discussed our first three agenda items: how the process works today, strengths of the current process, and the problems and root causes to those problems. (Review)
  • What we have left to do is to brainstorm potential improvements, select the improvements to implement, map out the recommended new process and then develop an implementation plan. (Preview)
  • This afternoon in particular we will focus on brainstorming improvements and selecting the ones to implement. This is important because we want to be creative in thinking about what could be done, and then select the specific things that will be done to achieve the goals we have for the better process. (Big View)
  • Any questions before we get started?

To learn more about facilitation skills, consider our course, The Effective Facilitator.  The four-day course provides a structured approach for leading teams and facilitating meetings and covers over 100 techniques for getting amazing results from groups.