Being a Meetings Traffic Cop
A meeting is a lot like a traffic intersection. Many people want to occupy the same “space” or “air time” at once. Whereas a traffic light can be rigidly programmed and inflexible (sometimes traffic is stopped on the busy street when there is no traffic at all on the cross street), a meeting manager has the advantage of being able to assess the ebb and flow of discussion and adjust to meet the demand. The key to success in this role is keeping balance in the conversation and keeping it on track.
An active meeting with lots of ideas flowing and energy and excitement in the room can appear chaotic. However, in this case, a meeting manager or facilitator can guide the interactions so as to maintain the energy and flow while keeping the meeting effective and productive.
In the middle of this hum and momentum, the facilitator or moderator also has the responsibility of ensuring that no one in the room feels their ideas or they themselves are being attacked. Thus, the creation and maintenance of a climate that encourages honest and full participation reflects the open and even-handed approach of the meeting leader.
So, to make your meetings work, pay attention to the power and passion of ideas and thoughts and make sure no obstacles impair the group’s movement toward the desired results.