When wearing my ‘process’ facilitator hat I’m responsible for maximizing group engagement during a facilitated meeting. There are many ways to do this, but my number one proactive method is ‘sub-grouping’. This means taking the larger group and breaking it into smaller groups like pairs, triads, quads or table groups.
I utilize this approach in a number of different scenarios including:
For any sub-group exercise I will typically give the groups 3 things to focus on:
If required I may also ask the sub-groups to synthesize the ideas they generate. This includes:
I will then have the sub-groups prioritize their top 1 – 2 ideas before having a large group debrief. This will ensure that the final list of ideas is shorter and to some extent vetted before having the larger group prioritize the most important ideas for consideration. To facilitate this, I will ensure that sub-groups have some clear criteria or parameters that will enable the groups to focus their priorities. Criteria could be things like:
In the large debrief I have each group present their top 1 – 2 ideas. I then repeat the synthesis stage above to ensure we end up with a unique, doable set of ideas. I then have the larger group discuss how well any of the remaining options could meet or exceed the criteria. Following this we conduct a multi-vote where each person gets four weighted dots (each dot represents a number of points per dot). Each participant then places their dots on the top four ideas that they believe meet or exceed the criteria. We then count the number of points per idea and determine priorities based on which idea got the most amount of points.
Have you ever used this method? I’m interested in any questions or insights you may have. Let me know if there are any pitfalls or challenges you experienced and how you dealt with them!
Michael Goldman, Facilitation First President
Do you have a unique meeting challenge not covered by one of our blog posts? We’re always looking for different dilemmas to discuss in our articles!