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Two books that taught me how to facilitate meetings.

facilitate meetings

Two books that completely changed how I facilitate meetings. There is a connection between the methods and outcomes in both books. The theory and practical techniques in both books will make any meeting more engaging.

The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making

It focuses on facilitation. Most facilitation courses use methods from “The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making” by Sam Kaner.  Sam’s book is a comprehensive and practical guide. Anyone who wants to become an effective facilitator of group decision-making processes will benefit from this guide. From the theory of group decision-making to the practical skills required to lead groups through complex decision-making processes.

There are five main steps in a typical meeting  1. setting the stage, 2. divergent thinking, 3. the groan zone, 4. convergent thinking and 5. closing. These patterns lead to decision-making models, such as consensus-building.  It provides a step-by-step approach to implementing them in practice.

The book is also highly practical, with numerous examples, case studies, and exercises. It illustrates key concepts and skills. The author provides guidance on dealing with common challenges that arise during group decision-making processes. Some examples include managing conflict and dealing with difficult personalities.

I liked the emphasis on participatory decision-making. It involves all stakeholders in decision-making processes to ensure that all perspectives and interests are considered.

Agile Retrospectives – Making good teams great by Diana Larsen and Esther Derby

The second book is Agile Retrospectives.  It is a comprehensive guide to conducting effective retrospectives in an Agile team. The book completely changed how I facilitate retrospectives. The book shares practical techniques and tools to reflect on team work. It identified areas of improvement to take action to continuously improve team processes.

The book is divided into three main parts. A brief overview of retrospectives is provided in the first part.

The second part covers the five phases of an effective retrospective.

1. Setting the stage, 2. Gather Data, 3. Gather Insights, 4. Decide what to do, 5. Close the retrospective.

This maps directly to the 5 stages of Sam Kaner’s model for meetings.

In the third part, practical techniques are provided for each stage to run a wonderful retrospective that includes everyone.


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