Basic Facilitation Techniques Bring Consensus in Local Government Meeting
The techniques we teach in our courses are focused on being productive in the workplace. But, there is an intrinsic value in education and learning. Once something is learned, it can never be “unlearned,” and people find themselves applying our principles in everyday life. Here is an unsolicited email that we received recently from one of our Effective Facilitator class participants:
“I want to thank you again for a very excellent training …The adrenaline was still flowing through my veins on my way home from the course. I had a meeting that evening with a group of 4 folks related to local government. I was not looking forward to this meeting because I knew the crowd and I knew the problem “behaviors” that are always present with this crowd. The objective of the meeting was to come up with a list of modifications to a draft contract the Village was about to enter into with a professional planning firm, prior to actually holding the negotiation meeting and signing the contract.
The participants were an engineer acting as the project manager who consistently lives in the nitty gritty details, the Village Solicitor who talks lawyer talk (no one can understand him) and mumbles all the time, a friend of mine who tries very hard to have everyone get along, and myself (whose main objective was to get the deal signed as fast as possible and not allow any delays).
I was driving home from the course and had all this adrenaline flowing and just decided that I was going to take over the meeting and facilitate it. I knew from past experience that the Solicitor and Engineer would talk for hours and get nothing productive actually done while my friend would go crazy trying to make everyone feel alright, and I would just shut down and check out. So after the Engineer opened the meeting (pretty lousy now that I know what I’m looking for), I jumped right in and started off with something like, “So our objective here tonight is … we’ve all been given the authority to negotiate this contract … This is important because our community has given us a clear mandate to get this planning process underway as quickly as possible, etc.”
I had ’em. I didn’t have flip charts, but I was taking comments, listing, grouping, and wrapped the whole thing up in a neat little ball in about an hour, and we were out of there. Just wanted to say thanks again…”
Senior Product Designer