Do you sometimes feel you’re losing control of a meeting and don’t know how to get it back on track? It only takes one side conversation that takes a life of its own or one tenacious attendee to derail the focus of the entire group. Once you lose control, herding the cats back into the corral can seem like an impossible task.
Here are 9 tips to help you become a cat herding champion.
But first, why does it matter? Shouldn’t a facilitator ensure that everyone has their say? Yes and no. The facilitator needs to be respectful of everyone in the room and be aware of his or her responsibilities.
Participants expect that the meeting will run on time, and complete the agenda. When this happens, they feel a sense of accomplishment and that their time has been well spent. If you deliver this consistently, volunteers will be easier to attract and retain for your organization. Effective meeting facilitation is a hallmark of the High Performance Organization TM.
The 9 tips below can be used effectively for any type of meeting; small or large.
Preparation: 3 Tips before your meeting starts
- Start with a pre-approved agenda.
- Ensure that each agenda item has a time limit consistent with the priority and complexity of the agenda item.
- Ensure that briefing materials as required for each agenda item are included with the agenda. Make it clear that participants are expected to have read them.
Onsite: 6 Tips while you are facilitating the meeting
- Remind participants of your role as the facilitator. Your job is to keep the meeting on track and on time.
- Start by reiterating the agenda, timing and deliverables for the meeting. Note what needs to be accomplished.
- Allow equal time for the pros and cons for each agenda item; not equal time for each participant. Call a close when both sides have been well stated.
- Beware of rabbit holes. If the conversation gets off track, bring it back to the agenda item. Respect and record items that are not on the agenda and put them in a “parking lot” agenda for later.
- Build in regular time checks to the agenda and call out respectfully if the meeting is going overtime.
- When the meeting is completed, summarize the decisions and the parking lot items and compliment the participants on a job well done.
If you’d like some help training your leaders to be good facilitators and directors, contact the Zzeem team.
Is your board of directors a dream team? Do you love heading into board meetings because you’re excited about what is going to be accomplished? Or are you frustrated that the meeting will fail to deliver the high-level and strategic decisions that your association needs?
Your board of directors sets the stage and leads the charge for your association’s success. A great board means an awesome and sustainable association.
Often the CEO faces an uphill battle to move forward because of friction and inefficiency at the board level. So what’s the path to take your board from the ordinary to the extraordinary? Here are 6 tips.
- Effective board training.
- Top drawer director recruitment.
- Effective strategic planning, monitoring and accountability.
- Effective, well-facilitated, high-level board agendas.
- CEO confidence and conviction.
- Managing “difficult” board members
Effective board training
- Every new board member needs live training as soon as they join.
- Current board members need regular updating of their role.
- This could be an annual training event or a quick hit at each board meeting.
Top drawer director recruitment
- The best prospects are attracted to a strong, effective board. If you deliver that, they will come.
- Start your recruitment at the committee/task force level and monitor their engagement. This is your director pipeline.
Effective strategic planning, monitoring and accountability
- The board must be engaged in setting strategic planning and accountability for each element.
- The plan must be reviewed annually for its progress.
Effective, well-facilitated, high-level board agendas
- Design the agenda to focus on strategy, not operations.
- Train the President/Chair to stick to the agenda and keep on track.
CEO confidence and conviction
- You need to have the conviction to risk your job.
- If the board is in danger of making a bad decision, you need to call out and stand tall.
Managing “difficult” board members
- This will always be your challenge. Work it.
Want some help in building your board dream team?
Written by Anne Mazile – Manager, Marketing
As a young professional in today’s workforce, I always enjoy hearing about my colleagues’ experiences. Whether they’ve been in the workforce for 25 months or 25 years, hearing others talk about their past adventures is always fascinating. Changes in technology, work-life balance and work culture are just a few of the important shifts in offices around the world.
Attitudes about membership associations have also changed. In the past, joining an association was a no brainer. At times, joining an association was the only way to get access to valuable resources and networking opportunities. These days, connecting electronically is often cheaper than the traditional face to face conversation. Also, finding industry information has never been easier. All you need is an electronic device with an internet connection to access the latest news.
Why should young professionals join associations? Simply put, why not?
- Information Resource. Membership associations are still a great resource for information. Associations are a great starting point to get industry perspective and insights. The content provided by associations are curated to cater to you and your industry. Researching information online might be more accessible today but time is everything. Let the association do the legwork for you!
- Professional Development. Associations also offer numerous opportunities to perfect your skills. Young professionals can gain new skills that can help them excel in current and future jobs.
- Networking Opportunities. Make connections and grow your network! Networking opportunities are still a big part of many associations’ member value. Mentorship programs are also a great benefit.
Tips for joining an association:
- Ask for financial assistance. Associations are a great resource. But, financially, they may not be accessible to everyone. Paying for a membership out of pocket can be an hindrance to joining an association. Ask your employer if they would consider paying for your membership for your professional development. In the end, they’ll also benefit from your engagement.
- Pick the membership that works for you. Many times, associations offer varying levels of membership. Make sure to pick the category that fits you best. You want to get the best value for your membership.
- Get involved. Paying for a membership is one thing. Using the resources is another. Researching and evaluating the available opportunities may be a big undertaking at first but, over time, the tools you use may offset the cost of your membership.
Joining an association may be considered to be old hat by some but I would encourage others to look into associations that cater not only to their professional life but personal as well. Find resources that aid your professional and personal life outside of your bubble! Ideas that work for one group may work for yours. I always want to learn new life hacks and time management tips! The old adage that there’s an association for everything still rings true today. Find the hat that fits – it’s out there!
By Asif Ahmed, Manager at Zzeem
Zzeem recently hosted an European-Canadian summit to exchange views on how associations and Association Management Companies (AMCs) operate across Canada and abroad. The 10-member delegation represented various Dutch associations and AMCs. There seemed to be a lot of similarities and differences between Europe and Canada not only in the way associations are run but also in what members perceive as value.
Current research demonstrates that networking is the major reason why people become members of an association in North America. Similarly, it stands true for the Dutch too. One member of the delegation noted that “an opportunity to meet peers and socialize” is the reason why people join an association and go to events. It’s the member to member interaction that everyone is looking for whether it be in Europe or North America. The other similarity that I observed was the fact that their members are looking for smaller, more intimate events where there are more opportunities to talk to the attendees as opposed to the big conferences with umpteen education sessions where people are busy trying to catch the next session.
One of the associations in the Netherlands has had huge success in achieving record attendance at their events by making them free for members to attend. The story doesn’t end there. They have gone a step further by penalizing the no-shows. Yes you read it right! They charge 30 Euros (CAN $45) as they consider it to be disrespectful to register and not show up at the event.
In The Netherlands, they have incorporated XDP which stands for Xperience Design Project.
The next generation of conferences are evolving as multidisciplinary, experiential marketing platforms to better personalize the learning and networking options for attendees. They’re also a hell of a lot more fun.
— Greg Oates
This is fairly a new phenomenon for the North American market. So what is XDP? It is an event built specifically for leaders who plan, design, execute, and support association events and want to:
- Attract and invite the right people to their events
- Create positive experiences for the audience before, during, and after the event
- Keep attendees engaged and, most importantly, coming back
Young Professionals Network (YPN) is yet another growing trend that all parties are experiencing with respect to the structure of their associations. The Europeans have made great strides to empower the younger members by letting them have their own Board and budget for events, which is laudable. However, the challenge they’re facing is the transition for the young professionals to move over to engagement in the ‘regular’ association (for a lack of a better word) once they have crossed 40.
At the end of the day, it was a very meaningful exchange and my regret is that we didn’t get a chance to record the audio of the conversation. Nonetheless, I am happy that they left with some sweet memories – of the mutual learning and the Timbits that we ordered.