Facilitation Skills: Logistics

Steps for Planning and Holding Meetings with Results

Meetings! They take a lot of time out of our schedules. Unfortunately we have all attended a meeting that could have used a little help in the area of planning, organization and facilitation. This section will highlight helpful hints, tools, and forms that may allow you to conduct more productive meetings.

To meet or not to meet-that is the most important question. Think in terms of staff time, money for travel and food, and the most appropriate process to meet your objectives. Instead of a face-to-face meeting, consider e-mail, list serve, letter or memo, fax, conference call, teleconferencing or other alternative methods.

If you decide on some form of a meeting, in person or electronic, there are many factors to consider. Listed below are steps for you to review and use prior to your next meeting to make sure the members of your group or committee will feel it was a good use of time.

As you plan, consider what you need to do: 

  • Before the Meeting 
  • During the Meeting 
  • After the Meeting

Here’s a planning list you can use (pdf). Check to see that you’ve done everything to make the meeting a success.

Managing Materials at Your Meeting: Tricks of the Trade!

Many times we go to a meeting where materials and supplies are in chaos or it takes time from the meeting to pass out supplies for different tasks. Here’s a list of meeting materials (pdf) with suggestions for how you can keep meeting supplies organized and accessible.

  • Tips for packaging sets of materials for individual tables
  • Easy ways to take supplies and equipment from one place to another
  • Suggested items for a ready-to-go supply kit

If, as a facilitative leader, you follow these recommended steps and guidelines, your meetings will be time efficient and productive. Keep in mind, if you are planning a meeting involving group decision-making (e.g., board retreat, strategic planning), you may want to have a meeting facilitator. The result will be well worthwhile.

Holding Effective Conference Calls

It is not always necessary to have people drive to a location for a meeting. Conference calls are an alternative way to have an effective meeting. They are a great way to check progress on a project or to finalize details. Here’s a Conference Call Chart (pdf) that lists some key things to review before your next conference call!

Adapted with permission from Soil and Water Conservation District Outreach: A Handbook for Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation, 2003.