August 23, 2022

218: Facilitate Effective and Inclusive Meetings

Managers all over the world facilitate meetings every day, but how many managers facilitate meetings well? The goal of facilitating a meeting is to create a space so that everyone can participate effectively. This may not come naturally to some managers, but it’s a skill that anyone can master with the right tools.

Today’s guest is Rae Ringel. Rae is an executive coach, facilitator, author and founding President of The Ringel Group. She is a faculty member at the Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership and founding director of their certificate program in the Art of Facilitation and Design. She is also a frequent columnist for Harvard Business Review.

Rae and I talk about meeting facilitation. What facilitation really is, how to do it well when meeting in person or virtually, and Rae shares a bunch of facilitation tricks and activities you can immediately use with your team to improve your meetings.

Members of the Modern Manager community get two articles Rae has authored and published in Harvard Business Review. “Please Stop Using These Phrases in Meetings” helps readers take control of their speech patterns by learning phrases that aren’t as helpful as you think. “When Do We Actually Need to Meet in Person?” helps leaders determine which factors of work can be kept virtual and which require being in-person. Get them when you join the Modern Manager community.

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Read the related blog article: How to Facilitate an Effective Meeting


Twitter: @ringelgroup

LinkedIn: @rae-ringel

Instagram: @julieraeringel

Key Takeaways:

  • Facilitation is creating the space in a meeting where everyone can participate.
  • It’s important to start with a planned agenda and then be flexible enough to pivot when needed. Plan the activities ahead so you can prepare any materials, e.g. polls, Miro boards, etc.
  • Virtual meetings have the potential to be more inclusive and comfortable for people. Leverage the strengths of technology to create a more inclusive meeting by using different modalities of participation.
  • Consider how you can arrange the room, or ask people to arrange their physical space, to support effective engagement.
  • Overemphasize the importance of the remote participants in a hybrid meeting. By focusing on them, you’ll boost engagement for everyone.
  • Use collaborative online tools to support more equitable engagement, even if you’re fully meeting in person.
  • Use the HIIT approach of alternating between passive and activity activities in a meeting.
  • As a facilitator, your energy is contagious. People will remember how they feel when they leave more than your specific facilitation abilities.

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