The idea of hiring someone external to facilitate a meeting or offsite can feel like a bit a leap. But with the right person, third-party facilitation can move you closer to your goals and prevent more than a few headaches.

Interested? Read on.

What is third-party facilitation?

It's just that. Bringing in an experienced professional from outside of your organization to facilitate productive conversation - be it a meeting, a brainstorm, or an offsite retreat.

Removed from company politics and interested only in driving towards your goals, a strong facilitator is able to guarantee a productive conversation. They will help you create and stick to an impactful agenda, avoid conversational tangents (except where they make sense), and make sure the quieter team members speak up and the louder ones know when to stop talking. 

Think of it as an assist for your meetings or offsites - and your broader company goals.

Why get a facilitator?

Just imagine: a company meeting that doesn't get taken down pointless rabbit holes or become dominated by the same people time after time. A facilitator can ensure a level playing field, so all participants have the chance to speak up and the best ideas can rise to the top. They'll close with a clear set of next steps or action items, each with a defined owner and timeframe. 

Good facilitators will also provide a reality check and a safeguard against groupthink.

Meetings have a bad reputation, precisely because they're often facilitated poorly. Think about it: if all your meetings were designed and led to make good use of people's time while driving towards company goals, how much more time-rich and productive would your company be?

What else should I consider?

When you engage a facilitator, be sure to share your goals and concerns ahead of time. The facilitator will help you craft a strong agenda tailored to your needs. On the day of, they'll be well-equipped to get in front of any particular pain points or predicted roadblocks, so you can focus on simply showing up.

 

Still have questions? Talk to us. We can talk through any concerns you have about facilitation and/or pair you up with an experienced facilitator.