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February 21, 2018

Teacher Leaders: 6 Steps to Facilitate a Productive Meeting

Are you an administrator, teacher leader, department or grade level chair, or just the ‘go-to’ person on your team?You may be asked to organize and facilitate a meeting with your colleagues, which is a great opportunity to encourage beneficial dialogue that allows brainstorming or decision making.

We all have oodles of meetings on our calendar, but with proper preparation in meeting facilitation, you can help make these meetings efficient and beneficial for all! Below are 6 steps you can use to help conduct a positive and productive meeting.

Step 1. Determine purpose of the meeting
Are you meeting to brainstorm ideas? Are you meeting to finalize ideas from a previous brainstorming session? Maybe to problem solve an issue with a student or parent or is this a meeting to disseminate information and take questions? You will want to clarify the purpose so all participants are on the same page, focused and come prepared.

Step 2. Create an agenda or informational sheet to guide the thinking and discussion.
Most important: send this out prior to the meeting to allow your participants to review and prepare; preparation allows for a more efficient gathering… trust me on this!

Step 3. Determine place and time.
Maybe you only have one meeting room, so your job is done. But if you have options, think this through to ensure comfort level of all participants, noise level and if the room meets your needs. For instance, you may need to project, so the room you choose should have a projector.

Set a start AND end time for the meeting. The start time is important, but don’t forget the specific end time- it should not be open ended. This encourages efficiency, allows participants to plan better around the meeting, and shows a respect for participant time.

Step 4. Conduct the meeting.
Sounds simple, right? Well, let’s take a moment to think this through. You will want to plan how to facilitate the path and guide progress of the meeting so it runs smoothly and stays on track within the time limit given.

  1. Welcome everyone
  2. Restate the purpose of the meeting
  3. Review agenda items
  4. Begin brainstorming, problem solving… whatever it is you are meeting about
  5. Continue to be engaged and guide the discussion throughout. Allow for small tangents, but keep the group on track. Take notes (or designate a note-taker) and clarify what is being said to ensure understanding. Don’t forgot to invite those that are being silent to speak: “Hey Julie, we haven’t heard from you yet, what are your thoughts on the new after school program?”
  6. Keep track of the time, and remind the group as needed: “We have 20 minutes left, so let’s move on to Item 12.”

Step 5. Wind up the meeting in a purposeful way.
State designated action steps, items that were finalized, and whether or not a follow-up meeting is needed.

Step 6. Follow-up with a memo or email to the full group, with the information from Step 5.

I hope you are now feeling confident and excited to conduct your next meeting. We know meetings are necessary, but with the proper preparation and thought,they can be beneficial for all involved. The overall goal is for all participants to leave feeling productive and positive–you can do it!

Are there steps you would add to my list? Please share in the comments below!

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