With in-person meetings back in full swing, there has never been a better time to convene the Team and plan for the road ahead. Working with a professional meeting facilitator for your strategy sessions can be the difference between a good meeting and a great meeting.

After two years of a virtual team reality, committing to time spent face to face works to reaffirm and reestablish crucial relationships that determine the success of your executive leadership team and ultimately your organization as a whole. While remote work has proven to be productive and surprisingly efficient, the impact of well-orchestrated (emphasis on well-orchestrated) in-person meetings, remains unchallenged.

According to Forbes, “84% of executives agree that face-to-face meetings are not just preferable but mandatory for building deeper, more profitable bonds with clients and business partners and maintaining productive relationships with co-workers.”

That said, there are few things less inspiring or frankly, frustrating than taking the time, investing the resources and attending any meeting that lacks a clear agenda, focused discussions and attainable outcomes. When designing your meeting experience, begin with the end in mind. What do you want your team to leave the meeting understanding and feeling excited about? And how do you ensure that they leave with a clear sense of why they came?

An in-person meeting, especially after a sustained period of remote communications, can quickly devolve into a time waster without someone to keep the sessions focused, on time and on topic. Let’s face it. If the full team has not been together in a while and putting yourself or others on mute is no longer an option, things can take a wrong turn in a hurry.

That is where a professional meeting facilitator can help maximize results from your time together. A neutral, third party with no PPA (perceived personal agenda), is often the key to orchestrating a successful meeting.

Someone needs to watch the clock, listen from a completely fresh perspective, recognize when the conversation has strayed off topic and be willing to engage the fence sitters or possibly even cut someone off in the middle of a sentence to get things back on track.

Delegating the running of the meeting to someone outside of the organization, allows the team (including the CEO) to focus solely on the topics at hand. Professional meeting facilitators are experts at helping you define your desired outcomes and providing proven methods to best attain those goals.

“Group facilitators bring skills that provide purpose and clarity, engage people in productive conversations, prevent and resolve conflict, and ensure all voices are heard.” — CEO Michael Wilkinson, author of The Secrets to Masterful Meeting

A professional facilitator sets the stage for an inclusive and robust conversation, while keeping an eye on the meeting’s agenda and time constraints. A facilitator takes ownership of the meeting flow and helps to level the playing field, creating an environment of safety and trust that inspires collaboration and innovation from the entire team.

The result: A productive meeting with an action list of outcomes, more connected team members and a sense of “time well spent” for all.

The world-class management team at Stone Cottage curates executive leadership programs tailored to your team’s needs, complete with meeting facilitation and technical support. Contact us to begin planning your next meeting.