Questions for facilitators to ask to keep meetings magical
At Voltage Control, we are dedicated advocates of facilitating meetings that are not only productive and effective but truly magical. That’s because meetings are the threads that hold every company or business together; we need meetings to be successful.
One of the best ways to facilitate a meeting like a pro is to be aware of the potential pitfalls that can happen and be prepared to diffuse them if they arise. All meetings are subject to dysfunction–something or someone that throws off the meeting’s flow and prohibits it from being the best it can be. That’s just the name of the game; we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Remember that people are fundamentally good; they aren’t bad if they exhibit one of the following behaviors–it’s just a dysfunction.
“He who takes offense when offense was not intended is a fool, yet he who takes offense when offense is intended is an even greater fool for he has succumbed to the will of his adversary.” – Brigham Young
5 Assurances all People Want:
- To be acknowledged and treated with respect and dignity
- To be included and have their voice heard
- To be informed on the why; know their purpose
- To be challenged for their opinion rather than undermined or attacked
- To be met with compassion and understanding
Educating yourself on common meeting dysfunctions and how to deal with them will help you not only make the most of meetings but take them above and beyond to achieve real success.
We were recently inspired by professor and police officer, George J. Thompson and his book Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion. The bestselling book outlines his internationally recognized training program in Tactical Communication, a program that is now required education for many police officers across the U.S. “Verbal Judo” is the concept and practice of martial art for the mind and mouth. Judo is all about using an opponent’s energy against them. There is no punching, kicking, or striking – just the shifting of weight and balance. According to Dr. Thompson, you can use verbal judo to defuse confrontations and generate cooperation in any verbal encounter, whether you’re talking to your boss, your significant other, or a child. The method teaches you to listen and speak more effectively by empathetically engaging with people, and provides you with proven strategies to successfully communicate your point of view.
“When you react, the event controls you. When you respond, you’re in control.” – George J. Thompson
We applied this verbal judo knowledge to the art of facilitation at Voltage Control as a way to deal with dysfunction in meetings. We believe facilitation should be the direction and focus of a team’s energy, not an aggressive act of forceful instruction. So we created a facilitator’s guide to aid in meeting verbal judo–a pocket reference for facilitators to always know what questions to ask to keep their meetings magical.
The Facilitator’s Guide to Questions
The Facilitator’s Guide to Questions is filled with some of our favorite questions for redirecting the energy of participants when you’re facilitating meetings or workshops. Ultimately, the guide prepares you with things to say in particular situations. We package this up into a simple, easy-to-use guide of questions because we think the best way to approach dysfunctional behavior is to guide conversation and ask questions to get people engaged and talking.
Use this guide to help you facilitate: the beginning of meetings, engagement, understanding, alignment, positivity, and closing and feedback. The reference guide will equip you to masterfully direct the flow of energy within your meeting or workshop space. In it, we outline potential situations in which you may need to direct or redirect participants and prescribe an arsenal of specific, effective questions to keep your meetings magical.
“Judo teaches us to look for the best possible course of action, whatever the individual circumstances.” -Kano Jigoro
Add this guide to your facilitation toolbelt to take your leadership skills to the next level.