Anonymous's picture

What opening techniques have you found useful to begin a session? How do you set the tone as a facilitator for a productive session? share your best tips with the group, and gather some from others to begin incorporating in your next meeting!

Theodora Nelson's picture

Responsiveness


As a facilitator, I listen to the team. What do the team members need? What are their suggestions for greater organizational efficiency? How are they relating to the leadership? To each other? By carefully listening and responding, the facilitator can make quick improvements that will dramatically affect the organization. In addition, leaders do not have all the answers, though others may think they do. Leaders are always on the learning curve (Toler, 2002).


 

Elizabeth Chapell's picture

I like to have people fins someone they don't know well, and spend a few minutes conversing. I then provide an icebreaker and tell everyone what will be covered in the training.

Angela Lowery's picture

I like to open with an Ice Breaker so that staff have the opprtunity to talk and share ideas and to get to know each other better. 

Gira Christian-Brooker's picture

I am a positive individual, so I always start with a smile and explain the purpose of the training.  I always welcome the audiences' input, since I believe that I am not an expert; and it’s always good to hear what other people think about the subject so you can deduce the level of experience from the group.

Tricia Reid's picture

I like to start with an ice breaker.  Depending on the size of the group, this may be a large group acitvity or I may break it down into several smaller groups.  I also like to have a posted agenda so the participants will know what to expect and can see the progress.  I think the more interactive the session is the more participation you will get. 

Lacey Allen's picture

I enjoy starting with a question outside the box, or a team building game to get staff on the same page.

Lisa LaConte's picture

I think it is important to always be organized and ready to start on time.  Welcome each person as they arrive - try to mingle as people take thier places and try ot connect with each person if only for a minute or so.  Start on time!  Open with an introduction of yourself and the purpose/goal of the meeting.


If possible (due to the size of the group) have each person introduce themselves.  It is important for the members to feel that it is an open environment where they will be comfortable to participate.

Cathy Catling's picture

I usually start with an introducton and ice breaker so there's an opportunity for the individuals to get to know one another.  I have a written agenda ready for the participants so they'll know what's expected.

Melissa's picture

I like to open a meeting with some ice breaker that will get everyone focused - sometimes even a game, quote or joke. As a facilitator it is important to keep everyone on task. By sticking to the topics of the meeting then it helps everyone stay focused. If an issue or concern comes up that is not related to the topic then it is annotated and discussed at the end if time allows.

Melissa Haas's picture

I like to open a meeting with some ice breakers that will get everyone focused - a game, quote or joke.  As a facilitator, it is important to keep everyone on taks.  By sticking to the ttopics of the meeting, it helps everyone stay focused.  If an issue or concern comes up that is not related to the topic then it is annotated and discussed at the end of the meeting if time allows. 

Alicia McLelland's picture

I either start with an ice breaker or a topic that is open-ended. I often remind everyone if we are brainstorming or sharing ideas that there is no "wrong" answer to ease any tension. When we develop goals and conclusions we will eliminate the answers that do not apply.

Patti Fortier's picture

To start a meeting, I greet as people arrive. At the time to start I gather people. Usually start on a good note-praise of jobs well-done or good news to share. Do not usually distribute agenda before meeting but after looking at information for class I think it is a good idea so pepople can prepare and be ready to make decisons.

Jennifer Harjer's picture

I tend to stay true to your my style and personality. When I'm comfortable, the session moves smoothly.

Theodora Nelson's picture

The meeting started on time
Guests were introduced and welcomed
Agendas were available for all members
The purposes for the meeting were made clear
There was a transition from the last meeting
One topic was discussed at a time
One person has the floor at a time
Discussion was relevant
The chairperson summarized the main points of the discussion
The meeting moved along at a workable pace
Committee assignments were complete and clear
Plans for the next meeting were announced
All that was planned for the meeting was covered

Theodora Nelson's picture

The meeting started on time
Guests were introduced and welcomed
Agendas were available for all members
The purposes for the meeting were made clear
There was a transition from the last meeting
One topic was discussed at a time
One person has the floor at a time
Discussion was relevant
The chairperson summarized the main points of the discussion
The meeting moved along at a workable pace
Committee assignments were complete and clear
Plans for the next meeting were announced
All that was planned for the meeting was covered

Ivan DeJesus's picture

As a facilitator, I like to maintain a positive attitude, and be flexible about the topic. I like to listen by being an active listener.

Aspire.jen's picture

When I am going to be facilitating a meeting, I always take the time to prepare. I stay positive throughout the meeting, ensure I am knowledgable about the topic and make sure I have plenty of strategies ready to keep the meeting flowing.

Nichele Murphy's picture

When starting a meeting, I usually have each participant introduce themselves by name and tell of a favorite place they have visited and why. I typically find that when people talk about travel, it eases tension and helps them to find out about each other (differences and similarities). Using this technique, helps the team to feel more comfortable contributing to conversations.

sara lesko's picture

When we facilitate or start meetings we usually start out with an icebreaker of some sort. We also have a lot of brain storming when we are discussing new things, which also allows for everyone to feel included in the meeting.

Linda Mock's picture

Take care of business up front. Discuss layout of facility and where things can be found, turn off phones, decide on breaks, etc.

Ashley Garcia's picture

I think its important to start a session by being positive and upbeat with the youth. they respond to you better when you have a positive demeanor.

Cedric Ah-Ching's picture

What opening techniques have you found useful to begin a session? How do you set the tone as a facilitator for a productive session? Share your best tips with the group, and gather some from others to begin incorporating in your next meeting!

At our facility shortly after the kids arrive after school we will normally have "snack time" where we offer the teens and all of our youth an after-school snack. This takes place about 15 minutes after the kids arrive and normally after snack time is over I will hold my activity in the room by overall having my activity ready for the kids by at least offering them and positively enforcing strong communication that I will be holding a short activity that could take up to 10 minutes or more if we have enough participants who want to take place. Me being in the gymnasium it could be quite challenging at times because the kids will usually run around loud and choose to do something else. I will normally hold my activity for the kids who will like to participate and once the activity begins to fade away and then the gym just turns back to a more "recess" environment.

Andrew Riley's picture

I like to begin my meetings by having those present talk about a positive work experience that they have recently had. In this way, those present can see that we are making a difference in the lives of our clients. I also like to pass out gifts and tokens of appreciation at each meeting. I also find that having food at the meetings is always appreciated by my staff members.

Mary Neubauer's picture

I like to start wth housekeeping like where are the bathrooms then with an activity that envolves everyone and has to do with the topic.  I like to use different medias so the presentation is not boring.  I like to stand as I present and be anamated and humorous if the topic allows. 

Brock Phillips's picture

Starting a meeting with an agenda and an ice breaker usually works best.

Angela Hughes's picture

Participation is an essential component of effective training or meetings, and should be encouraged by all members. Encouraging open, honest dialogue is important, as well as being prepared for how to move the group through conflict in difference of opinion, or difficulty in coming to a decision or agreement. Prior to the session, the facilitator must work with the group to learn about the current culture or climate of the group. All members must agree to create a climate in which everyone can trust that they can share their thoughts, ideas and opinions without negative repercussions either during or after the session. The facilitator also has an important role to make sure that important information including decisions, next steps and important points are recorded and shared with all members following the meeting or session

Jacqueline Bates's picture

I believe that you should have a plan of action in place also time management and organization is very important as a facility director. I also believe that it is important to be an active listener, positive and flexible with my team members. As a facilitator it is important to communicate effectively, keep the audience intrigue and be prepared.

Nelisha Dukes's picture

As a manager or facilitator of a meeting, I am responsible for setting the tone of the meeting. I usually open the meeting with a quick check-in. This only requires a few minutes, it allows the staffs to get to know more about each other and bring their attention into the room so that everyone is mentally present for the conversation.

As a facilitator, I often encourage group participation. I feel everyone has an input no matter how big or small of an idea. I actively listen and observe my audiences to pick up on the shifting of the tone of the meeting. I tactfully redirected off-topic questions and comments. I can sense when a comment has caused some miscommunication and I am able to clarity statements so that the overall point is not missed. I ensure we maintain focus on the objectives to guarantee that the outcome is achieved

Jamela Jones-Plater's picture

Open techniques that are found useful and setting the tone for the session would be ensuring all material needed for session is readily available, session begins on time, copies of handouts are given out and there is an ice breaker activity.

Vickie G. Jackson's picture

I open with I appreciate all you do. Then mention the high and lows. Then get suggestion from team members. Q & A

Miriam Washington's picture

Open the session with an open mind. Ensure all needed material is present and available. Include the entire group in the sessions being delivered, either thru ice breakers or activities. Always ask for feedback.

Gladys Hewing's picture

Always open a session with a warm welcome and introduction. Smaller groups should introduce themselves and larger groups identify service areas. Thank everyone for attending and deliver a clear message and allow input at the appropriate times. Visuals and handouts and even allow audience to get up and meet and greet.

Gladys Hewing's picture

Always open a session with a warm welcome and introduction. Smaller groups should introduce themselves and larger groups identify service areas. Thank everyone for attending and deliver a clear message and allow input at the appropriate times. Visuals and handouts and even allow audience to get up and meet and greet.

Della Kidd's picture

As a facilitator, I try to listen and be open and listen to the employees; whether or not that is a suggestion or a concern.

Keshia Gray's picture

As a Director, I have to wear many hats such as having a positive attitude, being flexible and always staying genuine and finally being an active listener. When I facilitate staff call I ensure that set the stage for the team then I look for feedback at the end of each meeting.

Yvette Wright's picture

Encourage group interaction by introductions, icebreaker, objectives, goals of training try to keep moving interacting with group and allowing participation. No one has to wait before a question or comment is made. Try to encourage those knowledgeable in the subject to participate and share.

Edy McCray's picture

The way that I open up during introductions is by having a Ice Breaker. Having each one stand up and say something about themselves that no one would know. Keep everyone talking during the sessions.

Tammy Null's picture

I think starting on time is important - it lets people know their time is valuable. If it's in a building where attendees don't know where things are, I like to inform them of where the rest rooms, etc. are and go over some basic courtesies for the session. Depending on what the meeting or training is about, starting with an ice breaker is good to get everyone thinking and conversing with each other.

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Lonzo Cobaris's picture

Our meeting open with a greeting, materials that cover the meeting being handed out and an open mind to what's about to be discussed. Everyone is given the opportunity to ask questions and give their opinions.

Yvette Wright's picture

Explain the purpose of the session
The desired outcome
Icebreaker to find out who is attending and what they are expecting from the session
Logistics of the location of training
Agenda and time of the session
Request help from the participates to participate in the session and add information

Christopher Hopkins's picture

I have found that with teens you need to have a timeline for tasks, and then you need to hold them accountable.

Brittany Henry's picture

Having an agenda that lays out what we are going to discuss and plan for is always helpful. Having an ice breaker or a quick game to get everyone engaged is beneficial too.