Preparation. More. Better.
Preparation creates the opportunity for what we call, “Planned Spontaneity.” Everything is well thought- out in advance, including the possible contributions of each participant, but nothing is scripted and nothing certain. Facilitators and
participants alike look forward to the experience; everyone is excited by the opportunity and uncertain how it will unfold. Preparation also encourages the engagement and commitment of the panelists.
Progress requires preparation. We strongly believe that the potential for progress far outweighs the investment costs.
Compelling Meetings’ Five Steps of Preparation
Compelling Meetings uses a five-step preparation process. Without these five steps, content and change objectives will not be met.
- Define the Questions — Most deliberations (and panels and meetings) start with questions that are too complex or too narrow; they can produce interesting conversation, but it won’t be focused enough to make disciplined progress. Important deliberations usually break down into essential components. Each component may require different discussants and experts. Preparation breaks problems, challenges, and opportunities into manageable components for analysis, discussion, decision and solution.
- Identify the Diverse Perspectives that Surround the Questions — We cannot eliminate bias — that is our human nature. We can balance biases. Bringing together the full range of valid perspectives — most matters worth the effort don’t break down into a simple for/against propositions — provides an opportunity to discover misunderstandings, variation in assumptions, differences in values, and conflicts in agendas or greater goods.
- Invite Participants Representing Each Perspective and Committed to
Vibrant Interaction — Each perspective needs a capable, full-throated advocate seen among the like-minded as representative and capable. This also promotes panelist and audience participation.
- Recruit Facilitator(s) with a Commitment to Preparing for the Role — Good facilitators must prepare extensively for an active role using questions strategically to assure the discovery of misunderstandings, assumptions, value, conflicts, and potential consensus. Good facilitators, of course, will be smart and agile. They also will be curious and strong enough to lead, but open and humble enough to enable the panelists to shine. A good sense of humor always helps.
- Brief and Prepare the Facilitator(s) and Participants — We engage everyone ahead of time. The better prepared everyone is, the more excited they are about their parts, and the more productive the work likely will be.
Want to think through how this might help you? Call us for a free telephone consultation 215-348-5277