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As a college graduate or an Early Careerist, you need to add value in your professional conversations. That’s not always easy. Many times you’re not in a position to educate or influence others because you’re new to the individual, the task, the role, the company, or the industry. Plainly said, you will be in positions where you simply don’t have the subject matter expertise to add value.
So, what should you do? Have you heard about the “MEETING that creates another MEETING” dilemma? It’s more like a plague. And it happens often. It’s when a meeting results in another meeting without much progress in between because nobody FACILITATED appropriately, if at all. So, what should you do to solve this problem? Consider offering to be the facilitator for an upcoming discussion and capture notes and action items throughout. Wait a minute…You’ll need some basic skills to do that.
Becoming an effective facilitator will allow you to play a value added role in meetings and conversations without putting you at risk of being an expert. A facilitator “coaches and encourages” the flow of discussion from a neutral position to ensure progress is made. The attendees add the subject matter expertise needed to solve the problem.
There are many tips, tools, courses and even institutions that focus on facilitation skills. Below are a few you can use when you’re up to the task. Your Google search on “facilitation tips” will of course produce millions more – about 3,370,000 results in 0.18 seconds. Or, we here at Early Careerists can help you plan your next session.
For a simple meeting, conference call or conversation consider questions and comments like:
- How much time do you have for the discussion?
- What do you want to get out of our scheduled time?
- Here’s what I’ve prepared as an agenda, how does this sound? Anything you’d like to prioritize?
- Let’s go around the room to get everyone’s input on the issue. Who wants to start?
- We’ve talked about X and Y so far, any additional comments or should we move to Z?
- Let me review the actions I’ve captured. Did I miss anything?
- When do you want to meet/discuss again?
For more in depth topics with more complex objectives, you’ll need to become proficient in meeting methodologies that follow a prescriptive process. This is something you’ll need to look for professional training and certification on. Ask your employer about available tools and funding.
You heard it here…Take the necessary steps to becoming a savvy facilitator early in your career. It’s a relevant skill you’ll use on day 1 of your new career and in the board room when you’re CEO. It also could become an opportunity for you to be an independent consultant as many companies pay up to $2-$5k per day for a strong facilitator. Just imagine the interesting conversations and career learning you will experience as a savvy facilitator. As Wayne and Garth should have said, “Facilitate On” my friends!