Productive meetings are a result of good planning and detailed preparation.

Three things you can do today that will help your group have great meetings!

  1. Use the Executive Team to build the agenda – either meet in person or communicate through email, but get the full team’s input so there are no surprise agenda additions during the meeting.
  2. Decide the top issues that must be resolved and put those first on the agenda to make sure they get covered. It is also helpful to put the time allowed for each discussion point on the agenda. That way if the group is going over the time frame you can check in to see if the group wants to continue the discussion at that meeting or table it for the next meeting. That point is also a good strategy to get a discussion back on track.
  3. Finding a balance of how much information to give board members can be difficult. Too much and they can feel overwhelmed, not enough and decisions may be put off to the next meeting. If you think there are board members who may ask for more information, have that ready to hand out at the meeting. Make sure all the information in the board packet is clearly marked and organized to ensure board members don’t spend time riffling through the packet during the meeting.

If you have a sensitive or polarizing topic, meeting challenges, or need help reaching agreement, call us today to have one of our excellent meeting facilitators assist your organization and get your meetings on track so you can continue the work of your mission.

Helpful Resource: Agenda Planning for Board Members


It seems every project, even those well planned, hits a snag at some point along the way. Having a good foundation in the planning of the project will help your organization survive the bumps along the way. Three things that will help are:

  1. When first brainstorming a new project, build a project impact statement that your organization agrees to and can support whole heartedly.
  2. Make sure everyone understands what the final outcome of the project will be and how you will measure success.
  3. Action plan all of the steps you need to take, the groups you need to involve, and the money it will take to complete the project.

Need someone to facilitate project planning for your organization or community? We can help get projects kicked off and headed in the right direction or step in to help revitalize a stalled project. Call or email if you need one of our capable facilitators to get your project up and going!

Helpful Resource: Project Impact Statement Worksheet

City Council Facilitation

City Councils that invest time upfront in planning and goal setting see that investment payoff in their community’s future. Two things your council should do to prepare for a successful goal setting session:

  1. Survey council members about previous council programs, decisions and strategies to determine what went well, what didn’t work so well, and what strategies are incomplete.
  2. Set aside time to dream as a group about wishes for the community ten years down the road. This helps limit short-term reactive decisions and keeps the big picture in front of council as it moves into planning.

Want expert council facilitation to discuss issues or prepare for council planning? We prepare agendas, develop packet preparation materials, and then help guide the discussion with your council for great results!

Helpful Resource: City Council Visioning Exercise

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a series of very specific questions about a service, program, or new idea. Generally, focus groups consist of about five participants, a facilitator, and a set of short, pointed questions designed to reveal opinions that can help you plan.

Here are three things that will help you get good usable information from your focus group.

  1. Limit the information you want to collect to one or two areas. This will keep the participants on task and the information you collect more to the point.
  2. Make sure your participants represent those you are serving or want to serve and that you can schedule enough groups to give you good feedback for each question.
  3. Focus groups should be about an hour long – no longer or you will lose people in their busy lives.

Need small-group input for a new idea or to better serve your clientele? Call us to help guide you through the planning and implementation of focus groups for the best feedback possible. Our trained and certified facilitators are expert at helping design your questions and then putting groups together. Email or call us today so we can help get you started.

Helpful Resource: Focus Group Checklist


A well crafted and agreed upon vision will help people see how they fit into the organization, reduce conflict as everyone works toward that vision, reminds those in the organization of the greater purpose and easily informs the public of the organization’s goal.

In order to prepare for an efficient visioning process, here are two things you must do:

  1. Make sure your mission statement is up to date; the mission statement is what you do – the vision statement is how the world is different in 10 years if you deliver your mission. So double-check your mission statement!
  2. Decide who should be contributing to your vision. Just the Board? Board and staff? Key people your organization collaborates with? Develop a small plan for contacting people you want to contribute to your visioning session.

Honor participants’ time by using our certified retreat and visioning consultants to help you build an agenda and facilitate good results – while making the best use of everyone’s time! Call or email us with questions, or how we can help you build an efficient and thoughtful agenda today.

Helpful Resource: Vision Worksheet