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.
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.
The checkpoint serves to ensure that all participants are aware that a transition is taking place. It also helps participants understand why the agenda item is being done and how it fits into the purpose of the meeting. Finally, when you give a checkpoint at the beginning of every agenda item, the participants experience a smooth transition as you guide them through the meeting.
As an example, let’s say you were facilitating a team through a session where the purpose is to improve the organization’s performance review process.
- We have just talked about how the performance review process works today. (Review)
- Our next step is to identify the problems and root causes to those problems. (Preview)
- This is important because by identifying the problems and root causes, we will be able to ensure that we create solutions that overcome them, which will result in a much better performance review process. (Big View)
Facilitators tend to be fairly good at the review and preview parts of a checkpoint. Unfortunately, they tend to leave out the key component – the big view. The big view explains why the step is important and why the participants should invest their time in the step. The big view should always tie back to the overall session objective by explaining how this step contributes to the purpose of the session.
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About the Author
Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, the largest provider of professional facilitators and facilitation training in the country. Michael is a much sought after trainer, facilitator and speaker. He is a Certified Master Facilitator and a Certified Professional Facilitator. As a past president of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, the creator of the FindaFacilitator.com database and a board member of the International Institute of Facilitation, Michael is a national leader in the facilitation industry. You can get more tips from Michael’s books, including The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy, The Secrets of Facilitation, The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, and CLICK: The Virtual Meetings Book.