As we head into the summer months, it’s a perfect time to plan ahead and book professional facilitation services for your fall or winter meeting.

We support organizational clients every year to plan for and facilitate effective meetings. We’d love to work with your organization to make your team retreat, strategic planning sessions, ideation, or decision-making meetings a great success.

With three professional facilitators on our team, we can support groups of any size, from small to large, ensuring the best facilitator-to-participant ratio for your purpose and goals. We can facilitate your meeting in person or, if preferred, we are highly skilled to facilitate it on Zoom.

If you’re curious about what it might look like to work with us, here are some of the steps we would take with you throughout the process:

Exploration meeting and contracting

In your first Zoom meeting with us, you’ll chat with Beth about why you want to hold the event, who it’s with, and the logistical details you have so far. We’ll ask questions to help us get clear on your needs and determine if we’re a good fit for the project. We’ll then discuss the next steps for providing you with a quote for our services. For facilitation work, we usually give this to you after the meeting as a 1-2 page statement of work, which becomes our contract together.

Needs assessment activities

Once we decide to work together, we begin research and needs assessment activities to give us the information needed to plan the design of the event. Depending on the complexity of your situation, we can carry out various activities to help us understand the context and situation, and plan an effective way forward with you, such as:

  • meetings with key individuals to discuss past successes and challenges with similar meetings, as well as hopes for this one
  • focus groups to learn more about the needs of relevant individuals, such as expected participants or partners
  • online surveys to gather input from staff, volunteers, or clients
  • reviewing existing documentation, such as the current strategic plan

Agenda design

Once we’ve gathered information during the needs assessment stage, we’ll start drafting the agenda for the event. This includes processes like:

  • identifying desired outcomes with you, ensuring they are measurable and attainable
  • planning the design in an agenda template that helps us determine structure, flow, timing, and other details
  • discussing and identifying strategies and activities to make the event participatory and engaging
  • iterating the design over 1-2 (or more) meetings with you, gathering your feedback along the way and ensuring its alignment with desired outcomes
  • sharing insights together about how to plan an accessible, inclusive event for all
  • creating pre-event communications with you to send to participants
  • preparing all materials and resources to bring to the event, including testing technology
  • planning feedback-gathering strategies
  • finalizing the plan well in advance of the event so that we all feel prepared and ready to have a great meeting together

Facilitation

We show up early, prepared and ready to go, bringing a comfortable, humanizing, and fun approach to the day. We love meeting groups and inspiring energized working days together. We focus on paying attention, listening to you and your group, and being as responsive as we can to the emerging and changing needs of the group.

Follow up

After the event, we often carry out a few follow-up activities. This might include:

  • taking photos of participant-generated work (e.g., flipcharts or online whiteboards) and uploading them to a cloud-based folder
  • preparing a simple summary of the event (Note: As facilitation professionals and not strategic planning experts, we don’t write your strategic plan for you.)
  • gathering, analyzing, and communicating with you about feedback received from participants

Remember, great meetings require intentional planning, and intentional planning takes time. Ideally, reach out to us at least 10-12 weeks ahead of the event date. This ensures that we have time to fit the work into our project schedule and to properly plan and facilitate your event.

Watch for our upcoming post in August about how to book our learning design services if you’re interested in that side of our business. Or just reach out – we’re always happy to chat!

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