Meetings and Facilitation

General Tips for Organizing Meetings and Facilitation

  • Make sure everyone knows the time and place.

  • Have a collectively developed agenda.

  • Try to start on time.

  • Make sure someone is taking notes.

  • Facilitators should do their best to get all points of view.

  • Facilitators should not use their position to impose their personal ideas and opinions on the group.

  • Facilitators should be attentive to people who are speaking -- look at them, lean forward, smile, nod. Make eye contact with people who may need encouragement to speak.

  • Try to end on time. Nothing makes people dread and avoid meetings more than knowing they're likely to go on and on and consume far more of their time than they want to give.

  • Make sure the minutes are written up and, if necessary, posted or distributed.

  • Start getting ready for the next meeting!

Meeting Participant Self-Check

[From No Blood for Oil meeting guidelines with modifications by the editor.]

1) Tone and Body Language:

Be aware of how your attitude influences others as well as the effectiveness of the meeting. Make thoughtful comments that maintain a positive and constructive vibe.

2) Stay on Topic/Make Concise Statements:

Respect the goals of the meeting by making succinct comments that pertain directly to objectives addressed in the agenda. Evaluate your comments as to whether they assist or divert the direction of the meeting.

3) Step Back, Step Up:

Notice how much you raise your hand and/or speak. Be aware of others who have not spoken and the environment in which they would feel comfortable to do so. If you aren’t speaking but have something to add, assert yourself with the understanding that your comment will be heard and respected. Don’t simply wait for your turn to talk, LISTEN.

4) No Offense/Defense:

Meetings should not be about winners and losers or personal attacks. Offensive and defensive behavior and accusations detract from the objectives of the meeting. Be sensible about the intentions of others by giving them the benefit of the doubt.

5) Respect the Role of the Facilitator:

Help the facilitator make the meeting effective. This does not mean pointing out minor mistakes, but rather allowing the facilitator to do their job to better the outcome of the meeting. It is not a personal attack when the facilitator fails to put you on the stack in the correct order.

6) We're in this Together:

Meetings of activists and organizations generally would not happen if the people in them weren’t committed to similar ideas and held similar values. Try to keep in mind that a grassroots organization is a joint effort which requires a healthy, positive, give and take atmosphere. Meetings should be productive in order to leave with specific plans and that great feeling of achievement and solidarity!

<< Back to Forms of Decision Making and Organization
<<Back to Table of Contents