According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, 71% of senior managers in a variety of industries said that meetings are unproductive and inefficient. One of the main faults for this lack of productivity? The absence of a facilitator. Meetings without proper (or any) facilitation tend to flounder around the edge of great ideas. Once team members have delegated the role of agenda creator and remote participant moderator to a facilitator, the individual is freed up to focus on generating productive contributions rather than on the structure of the meeting.
Picture this: It's time for your weekly progress meeting signaled by the calendar alarm going off on your phone, you pause to collect yourself before heading over to the conference room and snagging your favorite chair. Or maybe you check your teeth in the reflective surface of your phone, smile into the camera on your computer, and log in to your virtual meeting room.
However you arrive to your meeting, the same remains true: Each one has the potential to create and inspire. So, there's nothing more frustrating than arriving at a meeting jazzed and finding yourself and your coworkers thrown off by a lack of focus. That's where the facilitator comes in.
Having a meeting facilitator is a simple way to make sure your meeting stays on track and is as productive as possible. Meetings cost a lost of money. (Find out exactly how much your company spends with this meeting cost calculator.) Whether your meeting is fully in-person, completely remote, or a hybrid, having an organized moderator will help the ideas flow and make the most efficient use of the time you have, saving your company money.
The role of a meeting facilitator is to moderate the conversation during your team gathering or meeting. They set the tone for the meeting and keep the agenda on-track. Meeting facilitators ensure the everyone has a chance to participate in the meeting and creates an inclusive meeting environment.
Not yet convinced that you need a meeting facilitator? Here are four more reasons why your next meeting needs to have a facilitator.
Whether an in-person, remote, or hybrid meeting, having a designated leader to set an agenda and keep the meeting flowing and productive is essential. Of course, it can be fun to catch up with those coworkers we only see through the screen at hybrid meetings, but it is always best to move that personal conversation over to face-time after work or Slack after the meeting. Having a meeting facilitator is necessary to move the discussion along and keep it on track during the time constraints.
All productive meetings have a meeting agenda decided beforehand. It's the only way to guarantee everyone is approaching the table, or monitor, with the same mindset. Without a designated facilitator, it is unlikely that there will be a set agenda. Without an agenda, well, there's likely to be chaos (or at least a moderate amount of interrupting and unnecessary clarifying questions.). Your facilitator should email the same agenda to all those attending the meeting, especially those joining in remotely. The meeting facilitator can then follow up with meeting notes and open up a space to debrief via Slack or email.
Especially in the case of hybrid meetings and remote meetings, having a facilitator to establish the rules of engagement is key. Heading into a big meeting or a regularly scheduled one, everyone thrives in a familiar environment. The facilitator should establish these guidelines, or meeting norms, and have them shared with the agenda at the top of each meeting. This can help remote voices be heard by specifying how they can add an agenda item or follow up on a point being made, giving them an equal part in the meeting.
When choosing a facilitator, rotate between team members to allow for each teammate to share in the responsibility and gain a different perspective.
Joining a hybrid meeting as a virtual member can be more nerve-wracking than usual, but it doesn't have to be. At a meeting with both people in the room and remote participants, using a facilitator or moderator— typically a person in the room physically — will ensure inclusivity of all participants. A job of the facilitator of a hybrid meeting is to make sure all voices are heard, so it will be necessary for them to keep on eye on the audio and visual connections of the virtual members and do a quick A/V check before the meeting begins.
Whether your meeting is a weekly one-on-one with a direct report, a large team brainstorm session, or a daily team standup, having a meeting facilitator and a set agenda will help your team be more productive, creative, and efficient.