Facilitating discussions and meetings is an essential skill for leaders, especially in business.
Effective facilitation enables leaders to tap into their team’s collective intelligence, generate new ideas, and make well-informed decisions. The best leaders understand this and possess an exceptional ability to create an environment that encourages open and productive communication.
Why are great leaders gifted at facilitating discussion and meeting?
Great leaders understand that their team’s collective intelligence is far greater than any one person’s smarts. To have the best results possible, leaders create an environment where team members feel encouraged to express their ideas and opinions. In addition, they possess excellent communication skills that enable them to listen actively, ask questions, and provide constructive feedback. Most of them are curious at their core. They also possess the ability to keep discussions on track, ensuring that the team remains focused on the agenda and achieves the set goals.
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are two examples of business leaders who excel at facilitating discussions and meetings. In a recent interview, Musk highlighted that he has a “no PowerPoint” rule in his meetings. He prefers that his team members express their ideas verbally and then encourages open and frank discussions based on the verbal presentation. This approach allows for a freer flow of ideas and prevents the suppression of any potentially great ideas that might have been lost waiting for a break in the presentation to ask questions. Musk is also known for asking people who are not contributing to leave a meeting and go work on something more productive.
Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, has a “two-pizza rule” for meetings. He limits the number of people in a meeting to those who can be fed with two pizzas. This approach encourages smaller, more focused meetings, where everyone can have their voice heard and contribute to the discussions.
Five ways leaders can be better meeting facilitators
- Prepare: Leaders should have a clear agenda for the meeting and ensure that all team members are aware of the agenda beforehand. This helps team members prepare and ensures that discussions are productive and focused.
- Encourage participation: Leaders should create an environment where team members feel safe and encouraged to share their ideas and opinions. Leaders should actively seek the participation of all team members. To create an environment where everyone on the team can participate, regardless of whether they are in the office or working from home, I use the 55″ Vibe Board and the Owl Camera. These tools help to encourage participation and inclusion.
- Active listening: Leaders should seek to understand their ideas and opinions by asking probing questions. This helps to build trust and encourages team members to share more openly.
- Keep discussions on track: Leaders should ensure that discussions remain focused on the goals of the meeting and set clear timelines. Leaders should also prevent discussions from being sidetracked or dominated by a single team member.
- Evaluate and improve: Leaders should seek feedback from their team members on how they can improve as a facilitator to capture more ideas.
In conclusion, great leaders possess exceptional facilitation skills that enable them to tap into their team’s collective intelligence, generate new ideas, and make well-informed decisions. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are excellent examples of leaders who excel in facilitating discussions and lead productive meetings. By preparing adequately, encouraging participation, active listening, keeping discussions on track, and evaluating and improving, leaders can become better meeting facilitators and drive their team’s success.
Effective facilitation skills are essential for leaders to tap into their team’s collective intelligence and make well-informed decisions. By preparing adequately, encouraging participation, active listening, keeping discussions on track, and evaluating and improving, leaders can become better meeting facilitators and drive their team’s success.
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