Roberta's Rules: Meetings and More

December 28, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Roberta's Rules of Order, author @ 8:55 pm

In my last blog entry I used my city’s Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) as an example of how being an expert on the subject is essential, but not  the only skill needed when leading a group training program.

To teach skills of any kind to a group of people is a challenge! The trainers, like leaders of meetings, can handle the group behavior if they are “facilitative” when teaching.  This requires knowing the difference between two key concepts that co-exist – like two sides of a coin.  They can’t be separated and are always present. They are:

CONTENT – What the group is learning, subjects, topics and desired outcomes or results

PROCESS – How the content is being delivered and how the group is behaving

Process is like the “other side” of the coin – equally as important as the content in a group learning situation.  In the previous blog I gave some process “preventions” to use before the training.  Here is a list of suggested “interventions” to use during a training session – or in a meeting.

1) Remind people of the ground-rules (see previous blog – Part I) at the beginning of each meeting. Check to get general agreement (using eye contact with those that are the worst offenders.)

2) Use your eye-contact to encourage (or discourage) a response.  Don’t look at the “chatty” person when asking a question or encouraging comments.  Look elsewhere among the group and ask for responses from participants who have not said anything recently, or at all.

3) Leave the front of the room and move into the group.  Occasionally turn your body away from overly active participants while using your hands and eye contact to encourage other participates (like conducting an orchestra).

4) When a person’s comment or question takes the group off the agenda onto a tangent, say, “in the interest of everyone in the room, we need to move get back to the topic”.  Everyone else will thank you!

5) If nothing else works, it can help if one of the trainers talks to the person privately, requesting their constraint.  He or she may have no idea how his or her behavior is impacting others in the class!  (In a future blog I’ll write about how to be a good meeting participant.)

These few interventions can make a difference.  If you’re a subject-matter expert in your field and conduct classes of any sort, give these a try.  It will improve your ability to deliver the training and gain appreciation from the group.

Please let me know how they work for you.   I’d love to hear your stories or comments.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: