7 Roles that Successful Meeting Facilitators Must Play

The goal of every meeting is to inspire positive action. What often happens, though, is inaction—or worse yet, outright boredom.

If you’re the host of the meeting, you have a lot of power over the outcome. But as the saying goes, with that power comes great responsibility: Facilitating successful meetings is a challenging task that requires skills and savvy, as well as the ability to wear many hats.

So how do you do it? Recognize the roles you’ll play as the facilitator to keep your audience engaged and make your meetings, discussions and events meaningful.

  1. Agenda Designer: Design and organize an agenda that helps attendees get the most value out of their time. All attendees should be able to answer the question: “What is the purpose of this meeting?”
  2. Safe Haven Creator: Foster a safe and empowering atmosphere in your meetings. Your goal is to respect all attendees and what they have to offer—and to avoid domineering, interrupting, over-talking or putting others down.
  3. Role Modeler: Display excellent listening skills. Show interest and confidence in what each attendee brings to the meeting, and voice your appreciation for their contributions.
  4. Participation Encourager: Encourage attendees to express their viewpoints, even though they may be conflicting.
  5. Asserter: Know when to intervene decisively and redirect a meeting that’s getting off track.
  6. Decision Maker: Keep the group focused on one item at a time until a decision has been reached, even if the decision is to table it for some other time. Make decisions on action steps that are based on the group’s understanding of the who, what, where, when, why and how of a topic.
  7. Commitment Seeker: Seize the moment to get attendees committed to certain tasks, goals and future involvement. Everyone should leave the meeting with a commitment to action items.

Gain the poise, pointers, and professionalism you need to master your next meeting in our Professional Presence, Image and Etiquette program.