One of the things I do is facilitate peer group meetings for Remodelers Advantage. These meetings are gatherings of around 10 non-competing remodeling contractors from the U.S. and Canada.

This is my 20th year facilitating Remodelers Advantage Roundtable Meetings. Over those years, I've learned a bit about how to run a meeting so that most attendees think it was well run.

Here are some of the things I've learned. As you read, see if you can find any lessons regarding how to work with your employees in your company.

Set the Stage
At the very start of the meeting it is important to set the stage. I need to welcome the attendees and establish my credibility as the leader of the meeting. I don't rush this. Redoing a beginning is almost impossible to do. So, get it right the first time.

The Goal
Be clear about the goal—the point. We are here to help one another make changes that we wouldn't otherwise make. To gain insights and knowledge that we would not learn if we stayed where we live and ran our businesses.

Clear Expectations
What are the ground rules for our time together? Let's review them:

  • Everyone contributes: When it's a member's time, when they are in the spotlight, all other attendees are supposed to provide some insight for them.
  • Everyone talks: That means as the facilitator, I will help those who talk a bit too much talk a bit less and help those who don't talk much—or at all—talk a bit more.
  • Respect the queue: If you want to say something, get my attention and I will put you in the queue. Everyone will get their turn to contribute.
  • No side conversations: We are focused on the business at hand. We will be in our seats for no more than an hour at a time. When we break, you can talk about other things.
  • We have two ears and one mouth for a reason: The member who is in the spotlight needs to be reminded to ask questions about the input they are receiving. Explaining to us why things are the way they are is not why we are here. We are here to help make changes happen.

Say What Is Not Being Said
I tend to hold back, saving my input until about two-thirds of the way through a member's time. I hold back in case something that needs to be said hasn't been brought up yet.

When I make my point, or points, I try to connect them to what has already been said. That gives them more validity. It also makes them easier for the member whose focus time it is to hear them.

I also do it as succinctly as possible avoiding saying the point over and over. Short and sweet is the easiest to digest.

Create Clear Outcomes
At the end of a member's time, they are to share with the group several items they will be working on in between meetings. Even though I asked all the members at the beginning to have some idea of their action items before they have their time, some members don't have any in mind. To make that work out well for those attendees, they have to be open to what the group then offers to them as possible action items.

How this works out depends on the attendee. If they are open to new ideas, it can go pretty well. It they are not, it becomes a slog, eating up precious time.

Regardless, as the facilitator, it is important to drive clarity and get ownership of each and every member's action items, as that is what they attended the meeting to get.

Wrap Up
After all items have been addressed, wrapping up the meeting happens. Wrapping up the meeting well makes it more likely that all the attendees will leave the meeting room with a clear idea of what they committed to working on in between meetings.

The best way to do that is to review their action items with each attendee in turn. By saying it in the meeting room, they are making themselves more accountable to the group.

How Does This Work in Your World?
You are running a business. How do those ideas fit into your world? Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Have a written agenda or format for every meeting your company has. The agenda for each meeting will be slightly different.
  • Have all attendees report what they've got done since the last meeting. Let the group, not just you, hold everyone accountable.
  • Manage the time. Start and end the meeting when you said you would.
  • Table issues that come up not involving everyone in the room until later. Have those responsible for dealing with the issues clear them up outside the group meeting setting.
  • Every time an action item comes up, get clear about who is responsible for it and when it is supposed to be completed.
  • Wrap up the meeting by asking every attendee what they have committed to getting done by the next meeting.

By taking these steps, you are likely to have increased profits. Employees are also inspired to do great work well. Facilitate success for yourself, your employees, and all those you work with and for. Every one of those folks deserve that!