Host better meetings using facilitation technique - with Michael Goldman

At the first-ever StartWell 'Company Culture Toolkit' event, facilitator and facilitation trainer Michael Goldman joined us on stage to share wisdom from his practice.

*Filmed live in the StartWell Offsite Venue

Read the full video transcript

Effective meeting leadership and facilitation.

Qasim Virjee 0:00
Michael Goldman. Hey, welcome, sir,

Michael Goldman 0:03
you got my notes?

Qasim Virjee 0:06
Would you like to run with some stuff before we chat?

Michael Goldman 0:09
Well, you know, I, I think we were talking about meeting. So I just want to kind of context and put some context around meetings. I think Jordan did a fantastic job in talking about a lot of the things that I would normally talk about. Sure, I think I think it's impossible to talk about communication without talking with about active listening, and those kinds of things that are just really essential to just being a good communicator. But I could, I could really, I think what I'm going to do is just kind of set some context for meetings and running effective meetings. And especially Arthur, you had talked about yours. And so and again, I really liked what Jordan had to say, of course, I have some additional things to talk about as well. When I when we train on meetings I've been I've been I'm a speech language pathologist by trade, by the way, just, uh, you know, we all have different careers before coming into these kinds of things. I mean, literally 30 years ago, when I got into this business, and I, and I told people, I'm a meeting facilitator, they thought I was an event planner. Right, right. And it's like, and then I had to spend, like, I didn't have the language on how to articulate like what a facilitator was. So I had to, it's taken years to kind of develop it. And so I kind of know how to say it now, but I didn't know it at the time. And what I know, for running effective meetings are three things that need to be in place. It's how you show up as the leader, it's how you structure the meeting, which Jordan talked a lot about. And it's also about how you manage the interpersonal dynamics within the room. Because and each one of those are critically dependent on one another. In fact, the success of your meeting will depend upon how great each one of those are, or the failure of your meeting will be the weakest link in those three. Right? So, you know, as a training company, and as a company that provides facilitation support, we come in, and we train people on these three elements, it's always the foundation of whatever we do. So let's talk about the first element. Yeah, how do we know how to show up? So again, you know, Jordan uses peeps for like getting that message across real quickly we use, we use, we have acronyms, we always have acronyms, because it helps us really understand. And remember, you know what to do. But when I speak to leaders on how to show up for running a meeting, I talked to him about, you need to really come in with in leaps and bounds. And leaps is an acronym. So what does the LEAP stand for? Well, when you know, the first one is listen actively, right? Huge, so important, what we talked about Listen, actively. We talked about, you know, Jordan talks about being present in the question is like, well, how can I be president because I'm distracted. All these people are sitting at the table. I'm in a hybrid meeting, I got people on the screen, I got people in the room, how do I manage that. And you know, for us, what we train people on is just simple things like paraphrasing. So when someone says something, paraphrase back what you heard, and check in with them, and in that way, it forces you to actively listen, or ask them a question. What did you mean by that, that'll force you to actively listen. Active listening is really important, especially when you're noticing mixed messages. And that, in fact, is a very tough skill. So in a lot of meetings that I run, I'm parachuted into, I'm facilitating a whole bunch of folks. And there's a decision on the table and someone says, Yeah, I really liked that. And, you know, by the words in their body language, that they just, they're not happening, it's not happening. So as the facilitator, the first thing I have to do as a good active listener is I have to say, a timeout, folks, before we get there, I'm sensing there might be some concerns around that this decision, and then I'll go to a person you know, who I kind of noticed that body language words, where they weren't really jiving is that person, any any comments? And of course, that person will say, Yeah, well, you know, I'm not really happy with. So active listening is also not only being quiet and being intentional and hearing, but it's also calling out and noticing where nonverbal and verbal reactions aren't quite jiving with one another. When we talk about leaps, again, when we talk about the E, we're talking about embracing neutrality. As a facilitator, particularly a leader walking into a meeting, being neutral is not easy, right? Right. But I have to be neutral during a debrief. If I truly want to engage the people in my audience.

Qasim Virjee 4:47
You don't want to affect what they have to say and like or how they express themselves. Yeah.

Michael Goldman 4:51
So you know, I train people on how to BTL you know, or bite the lip, you know, it's like, you know, I said great facilitators. Oh, Have a little blood trickling down the side of their mouth, demonstrating neutrality because they're trying not to say anything. And when they do want to say something, I help them translate that, from what I call a tell between us. So if you need to say, hey, you know, I really think we should be thinking about XYZ turn it into a question and say, Hey, folks, should we be considering XYZ? What do you think? Right? Another thing that's really tough is saying, You know what, I don't like that as a leader, and the leader doesn't like that. So my sense is when I work with leaders, and they're running very facilitating very important meetings, it's like, you know what, in the beginning of the meeting, you need to tell them all the non negotiables like, Hey, folks, yeah, as your leader, we're not going here, here or here. But here's where it's totally open. And here month, here's how much authority you have for this as well. Right? And so they don't drift. And when they drift in there, the leader gets away timeout. Remember, that's non negotiable. You can go back and say that right? Yeah. But you have to tell them that up front. Yeah, core, it screws them up. So embracing neutrality means non positional not being biased. And it's also meaning like, I don't say, oh, Jim, that was a great point. And then when it's read, it's true. And I go, all right. Especially during brainstorming, I got to be really careful on not really being subjective or supportive of any one idea, but rather reinforce the whole group like saying, Hey, folks, we got five ideas appear on the flip chart, great work, let's keep on going. So I'm constantly reinforcing the teamwork elements a collective Yeah, it's a collective. So I'm building collaboration, I'm building the team. And through an agenda, I'm actually built. Some of my best events that I facilitate, actually, underscoring it all is people walk out as a much more aligned, stronger team as a result of that. Right, if you do really good facilitation. The next one is asking questions, you know, so making sure that I'm asking good clarifying questions, good probing questions. Again, that's my role. When I wear the facilitator hat. The P in leaps is paraphrasing. So repeating back in my own words, what I think I'm hearing and finally, the S is the most important thing at the end of the day. And that's summarizing, and that is, when it comes to the end of a topic. I, as the facilitator will say, Okay, so let's just sum this up, before we move on, we've achieved this, this and this, and then you're always checking in with a group. Is that right? Does that make sense? Right. So summarizing, and I don't know about you, folks, but sometimes me in meetings. Later on in the meeting, someone says, Well, what about this, and we already had create, we thought we had created closure early on. That's because we really didn't summarize at the end, we didn't effectively create closure. And so someone's bringing it up yet again. Right? So leaps is just showing up. Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I can go on to the next one, which is structuring. But I think, you know, everything that Jordan said is really important is that having the agenda structuring the meeting, we call it a pop, not peep, but we call it pop, and pop stands for purpose, outcomes and process. So when I have a client, and they invite me into the meeting, and I am always parachuted into the most dysfunctional teams. Anyone dysfunctional here, okay, good. You're probably not someone I'd be working for. So I'm parachuting these, I'm sitting down with my client, I'm saying,

Qasim Virjee 8:31
like, what's an example? Can you like you can anonymize their identity, but like, well, you

Michael Goldman 8:34
know, so one example is there. There's a project where they're going to it's going to impact a huge amount of land in, let's say, BC, sure. And we got three teams coming together, we have the the actual architects who are dealing with drilling into that mountain, we have all the people who are going to be doing the work. And then we have the people, all the suppliers that are supplying all of the trucks and all the infrastructure, right? These all these three groups have to be aligned, they have to be able to communicate to one another. So I'm parachuted in to get them aligned to talk about what are our goals? How are we going to work together? What are our guidelines, right? So that's what I'm parachuted in. And a lot of times, it's like three months after they came together and they're killing each other. That's when they bring me in and Oh, Michael coming in and help align them now. Right? They finally realize they need something like that. Yeah, if they had done that, in the beginning, they would have saved themselves so much help before getting into that kind of craziness. Right? But I guess people have to learn you have to throw them into it. You got to give them a chance to see if it works and then you invite and that's when hopefully the opportunity happens yeah, so pop is what it is so poppies purpose outcomes process. So it's like you know what Jordan has said it's you got to know the objective we call it outcomes right. So for example, who has a meeting coming up here? Anyone have a meeting coming up? Yeah. So what's your meeting? Just give me a little of the background of it.

Unknown Speaker 10:07
New concepts to fulfill our

Michael Goldman 10:10
programs. Okay. So the first thing I would say to you for outcomes in pop, because I always go to the outcomes first, because it's very tangible. I'd say, by the end of this meeting, what outcomes have we achieved? Why are people excited? Why are they happy now? What's been achieved? So I'm asking you what, yeah. What? Yeah, What? What? Yeah. What are you hoping to achieve?

Speaker 1 10:37
We're understanding the components of this thing. We're trying to teach them so that they can apply it to the project.

Michael Goldman 10:46
Right. So they're gonna have some clarity of understanding of the aspects of the project, or the implementation part. But that's an intangible things. So you're going to have better clarity, what would be a tangible thing? Are we coming up with actions, solutions? Are we coming up with anything tangible? Tangible? Okay, so we'll actually have a program roadmap. So we'll, that's a real tangible thing. So let me ask you this. Those are two very important outcomes. Why? Why do you need to have a roadmap? Why do you need to have people understanding and better? What kind of higher strategic purpose?

Speaker 1 11:23
That's the big question we're asking ourselves? Yeah, because we're redesigning our entire youth programs. So this is gonna guide the entire design process, building our curriculum,

Michael Goldman 11:34
and it's important that the youth programs succeed. Pardon me? Is it important that the youth programs succeed?

Speaker 1 11:41
Yes, it's gonna solve youth unemployment in Canada. Guys,

Michael Goldman 11:45
that's fine. Let's juice here. Yeah, then we're coming together to come up with a roadmap. Okay. Now I understand what the juicy part is. And that's what I would say is your purpose is right to ensure a great roadmap for for youth in Canada, you know, or something like that. And here's the outcomes were achieving was very tangible, one's intangible now, so that's the purpose, they own the outcomes. Now, as a facilitator, I got to sit back and think of okay, what's the process? How many days do we have? How many hours do we have for this meeting?

Meeting facilitation, norms, and conflict management. 

Speaker 1 12:21
The the first version is an hour and a half on Tuesday. So

Michael Goldman 12:24
it's kind of a watch the hour and a half, right? Yeah. That's okay. Listen, sometimes that's we have we have an hour and a half. Okay, how many people are attending 1010 people? Is it important that these people walk out kind of bought into this and excited 100? Absolutely. So in that hour and a half, not only are we probably going to be doing some kind of presenting, but we're going to do some kind of buy in exercise, you know, and the questions are going to be around. Why is this important to me? Why is it important to our team? Why is this important to Canada? Right? So we're going to do some kind of buy and exercise to kind of build up the momentum. So hopefully, we have some sense of what a roadmap could look like, after we get the buy in. And we can start talking about it. Because in this thing, motivation, buy in excitement is really important. Am I correct? Yes. Right on. Okay. So that's what makes a meeting pop. Yes.

Speaker 2 13:23
How do you get by me? And motivation

Michael Goldman 13:26
was so. So willingness is so important, because without willingness, it's very impossible to move forward in any kind of project. Right? My sense is that people who come to this thing already have already bought into some extent, or they wouldn't be there. Okay. You're gonna have to be there. Oh, so the voluntold

Qasim Virjee 13:44
voluntold. I like that. Oh, okay. Well,

Michael Goldman 13:49
I mean, that's important to know, too. If people are arriving voluntold, then you're probably going to have to deal with resistance. Right. So the question is, how do I manage resistance? Right? So it might be, you know, we train people on lots of different methodologies, but one methodology is what I call is impossible. Okay. And it's a series of questions that I would ask a group like, Okay, folks, if we work first, I think it's important to understand the vision of what what it could look like, but then turn to the people and say, if this is possible, if we could achieve this, how would it benefit Canada? How would it benefit our team? And then finally, by the end, how is it gonna benefit you? And then the peers actually talk to one another, and convince each other or don't convince each other, which is important to know as well. Okay. of why this is important. And the energy in the room, you'll notice if you do is it possible, and you start from a very big context, but it ends up at the individual at the end creates a huge amount of energy amongst the people. I challenge you to use that. Okay, so that's it. So that's that's all process, right? That's all process. So purpose outcomes process and make it a juicy purpose, right. That's what's important. So we have how we show up, how we structure the meeting. The third part now is how we manage the challenging behaviors in the room. So what's the challenging behavior? What's it like? What's What's that person that drives you crazy? When you go to a meeting? Yeah. What do you think? Just straight up on their phone, not listening. Right? Right. So people are on their phone. So the number one proactive conflict management tool that we train people on is setting guidelines or norms. And that is, it can happen in two ways for an hour and a half meeting with 10 people, I probably wouldn't be facilitating, I just tell them straight up what the norms are. If I had more time, I would definitely facilitate and get the folks that come up with themselves. But typical standard norm is, you know, all technology off during collaborative discussions. Okay. It would be one person speaks at a time. Everyone is expected to participate. Now, setting norms is easy. That's the easy part. What's the tough part? What do you think's forcing those enforcing them? Right? So having to referee so as a facilitator, my next question would be, I might turn to someone like Michael in the audience here. And Ken, who's on his phone right now. He's on his phone. Yay. Thank you, Michael. Thank you. So I would turn to Mike and I'd say, Mike, if I noticed, let's say someone in the room and I wouldn't say Mike directly. I would say if I noticed someone in the room, breaking one of the norms, let's say like they're actually on their technology. Is it okay for me to go? Hey, timeout. Everyone. I just want to remind you of that norm technology off. Would you be okay with that? If I did that. Excellent. Let me ask you this, Arthur. If I noticed if I save that, and people see totally in there agreed to it. But I see someone recommitting that. Would it be okay, if I just turned to you and to say, hey, Arthur, just want to remind you technology off, would that be okay? Okay, excellent. Well, thank you. So nobody's you've just empowered me to actually referee you. You've just given me power. Just through doing that. You have to, the only way you get power, is by negotiating power with the group you have to negotiate. Especially if you're dealing with power dynamics, like you have your boss there, or you have senior level people there and you're not seeing your level. You got to negotiate the power. Now, here's the tough part. After you negotiate it, and someone breaks it, you've got a referee, because what happens if you don't? Yeah, you lose your credibility, right? So you have to be prepared to referee now. So so that's the challenging behavior stuff. So those are the three. Okay, manage challenging behaviors, structure the meeting, and making sure that you show up in a very collaborative, neutral way. So that you're that people see you as a friend, right, someone really helping them move forward in achieving their outcomes. It's

Facilitation roles in meetings.

Qasim Virjee 18:27
interesting, because, you know, I like this idea of the role of a facilitator. Often cases meetings happen that are unfussy militated in the sense that people come together for whatever reason that they kind of understand in different ways. Yep. And they approach it. How do you explain this, but they all come together in their own way at the same time, right? And because of that, because there's no rule setting because there's no, you know, kind of establishment of what the commonality really is. That's assumptive. Again, people steal the mic, people distract each other, all these things can break down very quickly. So my question to you is this. How do you determine who should you mentioned this a couple times that idea of, you know, assuming for the talk, that it's a leader, that's facilitating writing, right. But otherwise, what could you recommend for a collective in their self guidance in terms of setting a facilitator should one person in every meeting be the facilitator? Yes.

Michael Goldman 19:43
Okay. Now, here's the thing. We're a group of three people, we're gonna lose one person, if we ask someone to be a facilitator, right? So the way we can set up it's like, you know, Hey, Jim, why don't you facilitate or kind of make sure lead this discussion? By But let us talk first you talk less. Yeah, right. So we don't lose that voice. Because we don't. And we got to be sure that Jim doesn't like come out as the loudest. And he sways everyone at the end too, as well. So, but I think always having structure in a meeting is important, like people understand who, what, where, and why. And when Yeah, now, maybe it's you don't need a facility. We're all just sitting around the table. We're talking, someone's taking note, everyone has a rule. Right? So someone's taking notes. Someone is kind of leading. Okay, let's move on to our next discussion. We got five minutes left. So someone's kind of being quasi facilitative. But we're all we're all participating. That's fine. Yeah, that's fine. Once you understand how to facilitate, you don't have to be standing in front of everyone, you can be sitting down at the table and participating?

Qasim Virjee 20:53
Well, I find that this is a very interesting thing. And I think a lot of corporate teams don't understand this. Because they kind of assume that if there is that one, Jim or Bob, Mike, Fred Frank, it's everyone that is almost excluded from participation by being the kind of guidance for the group that they can't communicate, and they can't participate. But the funny thing is, it's a very participatory role.

Michael Goldman 21:19
A huge, huge participatory role. It's just that you're just being careful to not, again, tell you're there to ask if you need to say something, throw it out as a suggestion. And then end with what do you think? Well, there's a group, you know, the assumption that's

Qasim Virjee 21:36
really interesting to me is that it's a collective, it's always a collect. Yes. Meetings are about the people being there together. Yeah. So I think having someone designated as being that kind of flow manager,

Michael Goldman 21:51
Yeah, cuz it's kind of flow manager, people kind of manager, making sure that no one really dominates too much. I think, I think you can have that. And it's really interesting, because those people emerge in meetings, you you know who that person is, there's always that one person who kind of like, is trying to impose some kind of structure, that's the person you want to call on, right to kind of lead, I think we all have our strengths. And some people are just really good. You know, managing the flow, kind of making sure it's equitable, and everyone has a chance to speak human, right? They just emerged a lot of times, if it doesn't, you have to force that kind of condition in a collaborative in order to ensure that happens, because then people will be dominating and talking over one another. And trying to, you know, vouch for who's who's right, and who's wrong, and you just go in circles. Okay. Now, something

Managing crosstalk in hybrid meetings using remote advocates and technical support.

Qasim Virjee 22:43
we've talked about, over the years, I guess, is the experience of adopting digital, like technology, like zoom, and these sorts of video conferencing tools to facilitate meetings. Yeah, yeah. And how that was kind of like, this crazy thing with the pandemic. Of course, you're a professional facilitator, and you've trained 1000s of facilitators and facilitators to be facilitation trainers, as well. Yeah. So I think your your perspective on this is definitely going to be the best that I can get. How do these tools and are there specific ones video conferencing tools, manage crosstalk to your satisfaction?

Michael Goldman 23:31
I love muting I would never impose mute on someone unless they were totally doing it and totally unaware. And you know, they're talking to their spouse, and they will not mute him, right. Because in you try to communicate when you're chatting, you, you know, direct message them and everything and they're still talking, you know, then I would do it. I think, you know, the interesting thing, what's evolved in the area of hybrid meetings? Is this notion of what we call a person advocate, an in person advocate or a remote advocate. Let me give you an example. How many of you are meetings or hybrid meetings today? How many of you actually are in hybrid meetings? Raise your hand. Okay. Do they tend to be more virtually heavy or more impersonality? In person heavy, more in person heavy, yeah. And virtually. Okay. So here's the way it works. These days, what we've noticed what really helps is when it's more in person heavy. We have this, we have this remote advocate. So this is a person who has the computer right in front of them. And they're noticing chat, and they're noticing when people raise their hand either via the participant list or physically raising their hand and they're there to help the facilitator facilitate those they will say, Mike, sorry, there's someone who needs to speak right now. Yeah. So I have that person in a remote when I'm remote and I'm facilitating input As an audience's, I have someone remote helping me, who may be either in person or remote to let me know if either the in person audience or the remote person, or the remote people are actually having something to say. So there's always that role of someone helping me manage those other folks. Why? Because we all suffer from what we call distance or location bias. Have you heard that? You know what that means the distance publication bias, what it suggests is that we have a natural bias to the people who are around us, or in the format that we are, right. So if we're online will naturally be biased to the people we see on the screen. If we're in the room, we'll be naturally biased to the people in the room, it's just, it's just built into our DNA, we can't help it. So you have to create the situation where you have other people supporting you. So now I have people with multiple roles, like on virtual, I'll have a scribe down with a virtual scribe who's using mural or mirror or, or the polling where, you know, we'll have a technical person who takes care of all the technical stuff, although I like taking care of the technical stuff myself. In room, I'll have someone being in in, in in person at remote advocate and just watching the screen and making sure that they let me know what's going on with the people there. I'm watching the screen to myself, and I build it into my guidelines that we go from in person, maybe to the people on the screen, or vice versa, we work back, but that person keeps me true. They make sure they helped me make sure I do it, right.

Qasim Virjee 26:36
What is the best? This I'm gonna geek out on this for a bit. But what's the best technological kind of setup that you've witnessed, because often cases if you're coming into client environment, also, to support hybrid environments, simple

Michael Goldman 26:50
simple I so I have little tripod stance. So typically, when I walk into a room, I'll probably be at a conference table. So have a someone using their phone on a tripod stand at the end, and someone using someone on their phone on a tripod stand near me. And they're the cinematographer, the person who has it when anyone's speaking, they're just moving that phone around for the people the room for the people on the screen. And then I have my computer right in front of me. So I can see what my positioning is when I'm talking so they can see me. And I actually see all the people on this side. And then there will be one other person, depending on how big the group is or who's on their computer to and they're my remote advocate. Okay, so computers, so

Virtual communication technology and its importance in conveying nonverbal cues. 

Qasim Virjee 27:40
that it sounds like, Yeah, but the idea if we talk about what you're trying to convey, and how you're trying to express yourself and for clarity and for like, is to give remote participants, as much perspective yes. On the room and the dynamics of the human environment,

Michael Goldman 27:58
all the nonverbal so they can get to see those nonverbals that are so important as part of communication. Yep. And

Qasim Virjee 28:04
then also giving you that immediacy of seeing all the participants. Yes, that are in that media, whether they're remote or not. Yeah,

Michael Goldman 28:13
yep. I mean, listen, things like the owl. How many of you've heard of the owl, right? It's getting better. But it's yeah, it's like this stand up module that can actually literally focus on people when they talk. But it's terrible. But it doesn't work that well, because the resolution is terrible, right? So but it will get better, we'll start seeing

Speaker 3 28:37
offices are specifically designed to their teams rooms, the people on the screen are live sides to you

Michael Goldman 28:45
to help bring the virtual, love it, love it. But the cost of that for you like your average, small, is much cheaper. So I get it, I get it. And but it will get better and better over time, we're going to and I think within the next 10 years, we're gonna get technology, that's going to be like you don't know, if you're in the room, if people are in the room or out of the room, like it's just gonna be so good. Super

Qasim Virjee 29:08
interesting. Because it you know, like, we haven't seen much advancement in the last couple of decades, in videoconferencing on this note, because I think it's a really complicated topic, but like, the webcam, and I don't mean technically like the resolution getting better, and somehow, you know, cameras lighting people's faces better. And, you know, the mics, getting a little bit more kind of auto moody, and like Boomi. It's not necessarily just about that, but this idea of like, unitary perspective, and the fact that there's directionality to the way that people engage with the webcam experience, as opposed to like, Look, right now I'm looking around the room. I'm looking at all a few different people's faces. You're also seeing my face from different angles in that there's a lot of information that we're exchanging, right? Yes. And there's that dimensionality that helps. We've been playing of course that start well with multicam a lot in the last For years, right? Even in this room, there's three cameras that are mounted in the ceiling. And they're they pivot, and they zoom, and they tilt. And that's all being controlled by one chap, their name Pancho. And it's, it's pretty cool to be able to have that tech that can try to kind of relieve a lot of information in the people watching. Yeah. But yeah, it's, it's crazy. When you look at what you need to build out to share the physical environment as best you can with a virtual audience, it gets in a cinematography.

Michael Goldman 30:31
Yeah. And it's so important, because what we know about research is that, you know, again, different research shows different clues. But the most important thing is non verbal clues carry the most important messaging, right, in terms of understanding where people come from, especially when you hear a mixed message. Yeah. You know, it's like, oh, I think they like it. I'm not sure. But oh, based on their body language, which is the biggest cue, I'm gonna go with this. Right? And so that's how come it's so important. You know, and the biggest problem in in hybrid and virtual meetings is that people don't want to put their video on, right? Oh, my God, right. It's huge. It's huge. And so part of my work as a facilitator, is to do that by an exercise upfront with folks and getting them to talk about what happens if we lose nonverbal cues during this meeting? What if we can't see it? People aren't really agreeing with this, how are we going to lose out here? And so I get the people to talk about and then I say, so what can we do? And minimally, it's that during our important decision making, everyone must have their video on Yeah, so we know that people are on or not on the actual final decision.

Qasim Virjee 31:47
It's important. And then there's also this idea of kind of, like, I don't know how this became a thing. I think it's about people being embarrassed about where they're working, which is its own kind of weird topic. But virtual backgrounds, right? And the idea that, like you're, you're auto green screening yourself all the time. And if you challenge people to see like, take it off, just soak it, take it off, show me where you are, there's so much weird stigma, you know, like, No, I can't tell you by ironing board is a weird thing. But that's a cultural thing. So I think while we're on the topic of hybrid, I did want to ask you, as a facilitator, also how the practice of dealing with now hybrid teams, and even maybe remote teams, people that are not used to being together often, right? How has that changed the process of facilitation for you, when the people come together, and you are facilitating in person sessions for them?

Michael Goldman 32:37
I mean, you know, I would always encourage leaders who are building new teams always have events where they bring people together, at least initially, to build that kind of familiarity and that rapport and that one on one contact. And it's like Jordan said, there's nothing like in person versus virtual, you will know that. I'm not, I'm not having to convince you on that. We all know that. But once you do that once, like so I do a lot of team alignment events, where we align the team, we bring them together, they get to know one another. We know who, what, where, why. And when then virtually it works really fine, right? Because everyone, we we built it, how are we got to communicate with one another by what means, but what formats, how often? In what contexts, you know, so we've talked about all that. So we can actually then have virtual, I think what happens a lot of times, is we just throw the team. And together and we have some talks on the screen about who we are and why we're doing things. But we don't necessarily align now I still have done alignment activities. On screen. Yeah, actually. It's not as powerful but it works. Right. Okay. It and it's very important. So, team alignment, how you charter how you launch your team is critical on expediting the effect of that team as it goes on for it. Yeah. Just

Building a participatory culture in organizations.

Speaker 4 34:02
when we think about culture, culture, actually is how we do things around here, right, so to speak, which is communication, which is the way we brought our meeting relate. Yeah, all those things. Yeah, find success. But I do think, in my work is as consultants and as a coach and advisor, with purpose driven organizations, those that have redefined success and seek to use their business as a force for good. There is a higher purpose. That's what the world needs. Yeah, better business. And, and, and what I'm seeing is that those businesses, as a foundation have built a really stronger sense of purpose that is shared. And certainly there is the need to build relationships. But I just wanted to throw that in the mix because I do think culture eats strategy for breakfast in the words of Peter Drucker and the bigger purpose. I mean, if you're coming into the meeting At the 11th hour with that group, as you shared, Michael that really should have done it or way earlier, right? That's that's the reactive trying to put fires out. Right? Really? How do we how do we build a stronger foundation? How do we build better relationships? How do we build a shared sense of vision and purpose? Yep. And then really are truly aligned in a deeper, grounded and higher pursued way, would love thoughts and perspectives on what you see in that regard? Well, I

Michael Goldman 35:34
think that's so important. I mean, you know, culture is built upon the people who contribute to that, you know, but also effective leadership vision, like when I go in, to build culture to build a participatory culture. within organizations, I always start with the leader first. Because if the leader is not a participatory leader, it's like, you know, it's like oil and water mixing together, right? It just won't mix. So I have fired clients, like literally walked out, because there is no, like, I'm not here to convince you to become a more facilitative leader, you either believe in it, and it's something you want to support. And you want to create a participatory culture, or you don't you want to if you want to be autocratic, that's up to you. But I'm not going to change that. So I,

Qasim Virjee 36:26
there's also a flip. Yeah, I had a meeting about this earlier today. Yeah. Where it's not about the autocrat. It's about the pacifist. It's

Michael Goldman 36:34
about the past. Well, okay, so I can deal with pacifist way better than I can do with autocrat. Yeah, because at least a pacifist, you can wake up, you can maybe help them to understand that there are possibilities here. But with the autocrat, it's that righteousness that you're you can't fight against no room. Okay, unless they have some kind of earth shattering thing that you know, they die and they wake up new, you know, or something like that. But that rarely happens. So for me, it's about working with the leader and helping the leader be very clear and concise about what their vision is, what they're doing. And that this notion of building a participatory culture is important that everyone buys in and that everyone's on board and that everyone's helping to move forward. And then that leads into great facilitator processes, that's, you can start bringing people together and start talking about, okay, let's, let's start with an empty slate here. What do we want what you know, and you can get in light of this vision that the leader just gave? What do we need to do to get there? And that's an that's, wow, that's a powerful process, when people feel that they can participate in the shaping of their company, you know? That's, that's, those are the kinds of things I love doing. That's what feeds me. Yeah, yeah. And

Effective meetings, facilitation, and leadership skills.

Qasim Virjee 37:59
that's what we need a lot more of, fundamentally, and, you know, it's, it's something I I'm excited that I've privy to here and in Star Wars, like the bulk of the meetings that we have happening here. No matter how efficiently they're run, right, you know, we see people enjoying being together, right. And the outcome of that is that they feel relieved, like, this is the number one thing I guess first is like, we noticed, they're happier when they leave them from when they came, which is a phenomenal thing, because if you go to their office, you know, that's not the case. Right? Right. And people are like, in BMO tower, you know, yeah, it's a little too cold for them.

Michael Goldman 38:43
It's so nice to get off it like to go into another place, especially here, like I love this place stairwell because it's a place to get out of your like normal encasement is going somewhere different. I think it's very important for building innovation, getting people to think out of the box to take them literally out of the box out of the box and bring them somewhere. So I absolutely agree. Yeah. And so

Qasim Virjee 39:07
people are happier when they leave. That also means that they can you know, if I think the ego is removed from the table, yeah, they're getting consensus and honesty, and, you know, and then feeling like the camaraderie enables their ownership together of their destiny is kind of core to that cultural piece.

Michael Goldman 39:24
I mean, we hope, yeah, hope, you know, I mean, like, you know, it, it all depends upon some of the folks, you know, some folks, they want to be very righteous and they want to be very positional. And I think again, it's all around helping them to understand what happens if we all remain position, what happens if we all remain self righteous? Is it going to hinder us from being able to achieve this and then biting your lip and being quiet and let people talk and see what they have to say, right? The art of quiet and facilitation is very important. Right, it's not easy to do.

Unknown Speaker 40:01
I like that.

Speaker 2 40:03
Thank you, and of all the advice that you have given around leadership, but as Christine mentioned, we're working currently on a program to combat youth unemployment. So essentially, what we're doing is we're creating a two year program that involves a one year job that we work with employers to find and before they go into the job, they have this one month of onboarding where we provide them with all the skills that they need, that they, you know, don't learn in school. And this is a barrier to youth. So youth that have faced various barriers. So for somebody in an entry level role, what do you think they can do to you know, communicate well, and where they might not have a typical facilitative role in a meeting? How do you think they could perform? Well,

Effective virtual meetings, engaging participants, and using tools to facilitate participation.

Michael Goldman 40:45
what I mean, if you have a facilitative role, they can do all the things that I talked about, they don't. And if they don't, they're going to, you know, all I can say is that the possibility for success is great. And when we use these types of techniques, but it is possible to have a shitty meeting, and people going like, Okay, well, that was okay. You know, well, we got some things discussed. In certain cultures, the expectation of having an effective, they don't even know what that means, because they've never had an effective meeting. So you can't, it's hard to say, Oh, well, if you could do this, you could improve your meeting. They may say, well, our meetings are crappy. It's just the way it is. Who cares? You know, people don't understand, like Jordan said, the impact and loss of money and time and effort that people put into meetings could be placed somewhere else, rather than means that people still have crappy meetings. So first, it's understanding that there's possibilities for something better, and what drives an effective meeting? That's the first thing I'd like to learn as a new person, like, what? How do you know if a meeting is good? What makes a good meeting? Right? Next, how do I show up? You know, like leaps? You know, that's important. And third is how do I structure the meeting so I can maximize engagement of everyone. Now, if there is a leader in the room, this is maybe what I think you might be getting at. And it might be wrong, but I always talk to people about some people say, Well, I never facilitate a meeting. Why do I need to learn these skills? Right? And I say to them, Well, is it possible you might be in a crappy meeting? Oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure. Is it possible that you may be there and not understand why you're there? And it's a Yeah, well, here's some of the things you can do, you can facilitate from the chair. That's what I call facilitating from the chair. And what you can do is you can say, I'm sorry for being a pest. But why are we meeting right now? Like, what are we trying to achieve? I'm just wondering, are we all supposed to participate in this meeting? It takes a little courage. But every one, every participant has a right to ask questions to make a meeting more effective. In fact, it is their duty. But again, they got to know what makes an effective meeting. So if that's what you first got to do. And I'd be happy to help you figure out what those some of those fundamentals are amazing. Thank you. Yeah, part

Qasim Virjee 43:16
of it also is like, I mean, like, I look at this as like, managing ignorance sometimes is also about, you know, directing the right kind of engagement in the moment. So if someone comes into a meeting, ignorant, perhaps have no value judgment, but of the topic matter, because they're not from that organization, or their youth, and they haven't had a job before. And they're being placed into an organization where they have to participate in meetings that they're subject to, rather than trying to use the time of the participants to catch up on what they're talking about. They can focus on being in the moment to make sure that the meeting successful, you know, and then also learning from the dialogue of the participants that they are with, to take questions after the meeting to the right person. Yeah.

Michael Goldman 44:09
I think people need to be empowered and know that they can ask questions around when they're in a meeting that's not working, they have the right. It's kind of like rights, a partnership. If I come to a meeting, I have a right to say, why are we here? You know, and that's okay. It's your and it's not sclm? You know, and CLM career limiting move. Okay, you can ask those questions, and you should be able to ask those questions. Because the organ hopefully the organization wants there to be effective and better meetings, and people use alive to utilize your time. Well, right. Yeah. Any other questions? Excellent.

Qasim Virjee 44:48
All right. Thank you. Oh, there's one. Oh, yes.

Speaker 5 44:53
Had a question specifically around virtual meetings. How I guess in an in person meeting you We are confronting the verbal aspect as well as the non verbal aspect. In case of a virtual meeting, sometimes what I'm what I run into is a you mentioned like there is a nonverbal that gets completely shut off. But then you also end up in a virtual space, which adds a new dimension. So you're getting verbal cues, which is synchronous. And you have chats on the side, which is happening, a synchronous, and each platform will have its own features like reactions, and that adds a new dynamic. So like, how do you given this there's different mediums happening at the same time? What have you found effective to get everyone on the same board? Like, either this could be tools, or just structuring the meeting so that everyone's on the same page or on the same board?

Michael Goldman 45:47
Well, thank you. So how do we get everyone on the same page in a meeting, especially with so many different types of tools and everything like that? I think, again, once people feel that their voice matters, in discussions, meaning, so for example, I have what's in front of me, when I call participation map, when I'm running a virtual meeting, I have everyone's name. And then I have an actual column, where I put a checkmark every time someone participates. So when I begin the meeting, for the first 1520 minutes, I tell everyone, one of our norms is everyone's expected to participate. By the way, I have a participation map here, I have all your names. And I know we're talking about equity. I know we're talking about inclusion, I know how important that is. So within the next 20 minutes, we're going to engage in some discussion. And if I don't hear from you, I'm going to actually come to you and ask you directly. And so so here's my first question, why not throw it out? Right. But somehow, that person might talk to you know, Mohammed talk. Okay, I got back at 550 minutes, I'm noticing two or three people haven't talked, I'd say, okay, so timeout, I haven't heard from three folks. So I'm going to ask you, Ahmed, what do you think about this? No problem. So I'm, I'm using tools in order to engage them. Also, I use the simple, the more simple, the better. Here's another thing. When people are talking, I have a, I'll have a Microsoft Word doc or a Google doc open, and I'm typing in or have someone scribing everything that they're saying, as I would in in person facilitation. Why? Because when people see that their voice is being captured, they're more likely to want to participate. Right? So I'm using these tools constantly to get people on to get people part of the discussion and engage. I'm always thinking, how can I engage these people?

Qasim Virjee 47:46
And it seems like some of those actions that are built into the tools that are video conferencing tools for engagement. You know, they're just like, kind of gimmicky, right? So some people will take these passive actions to not engage for real. So the idea is perhaps to engage them proactively building

Michael Goldman 48:04
in polls, I have breakouts going on in my discussions. I'm I'm having someone be the person to ask other people who can talk. So I'm giving roles constantly the people to engage them to make sure everyone's involved. No one leaves my meetings virtually feeling bored. Okay, because everyone feels like they've had a part in it. And that's what you were doing is we're giving, we're making sure people have roles in these particular meanings. Yeah.

Qasim Virjee 48:35
Cool. All right, guys. Well, thanks for your time. Let's break and we can of course, you know, have a drink and chat and continue the conversation. Nice. Thank you. Thank you, folks.

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