Course Pack: Mastering Meetings & Groups

These curated resources, many referenced in our courses and sessions on facilitating groups and meetings, will help to deepen your understanding of the topic, and make practical applications daily. We've shared the workshop slides too, so you can replay what was covered among your teams. Sharing learning with others is the best way to embed your own.

Resources and recommended reading

Try: 'To...So That'

Inspired by the framework in Simon Sinek's follow up book, Find Your Why — here's a technique for defining the purpose of your gathering. Because as Priya Parker tell us, "Purpose if your bouncer." Here it is.

Read: The Art of Gathering, by Priya Parker

Conflict mediator and author Priya Parker is a strong believer that taking an aimless, laid back attitude towards meetings, both workplace and social, is highly overrated. In 'Art of the Gathering,' she shares her fifteen years of experience in facilitating successful gatherings, and offers brilliantly actionable advice to make your next 1-1, brainstorming session or performance review as purposeful and transformative as possible. You can also hear her discuss ideas and advice is this episode of podcast series Hurry Slowly, and watch her below in her wonderful TED Talk.

Read: The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures, by Henri Lipmanowicz and Keith McCandless

Instilling a sense of purpose among your team is the best way to drive innovation, productivity and creativity, but can be incredibly difficult to effectively do. So how do we get everyone on the same page? Well Lipmanowicz and McCandless' incredibly in depth book explains exactly how. You can buy the book here, but all of the 'liberating structures,' are available, for free, online.

Read: Mitchell on Meetings - What We Learned and Where It Led

Comedian and author David Mitchell hosted a podcast mini-series on the subject of meetings over the pandemic, covering everything from the trouble with 'double zooming,' to tackling the introvert-extrovert divide. In this resource, we share some key takeaways and applicable advice on making meetings as purposeful and fruitful as possible, as well as a link to the podcast itself.

Read: Gamestorming

We love this book at YCN, and much in it has inspired our own approach to workshops and learning tools. The book introduces over 80 games for bringing people together, communicating better and getting new ideas into the middle. And as with Liberating Structures, there's lots on their website to get going with too.

Try: Warm Up Exercises for your Groups and Meetings

A brilliant resource for the first two of the five 'e's,' - entice and enter, covered in the Facilitating Groups course. This constantly expanding list of exercises for meetings and brainstorming sessions will help warm up your team and get you thinking in creative, collaborative ways.

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Try: Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats

Psychologist, author, inventor and philosopher Edward de Bono created this piece of, in his words, 'mental software,' to put an end to purposeless, idle meetings and get everyone thinking in tandem. It's a brilliant tool for any and all meetings, be it a brainstorming session, a big decision, or simply to laterally explore a topic.

Listen: Expert Facilitation Tips with Adam Ulery

Enterprise business consultant Adam Ulery offers practical tips on everything from reaching group consensus to managing conflict or difficult people on this episode of the Agile Thought podcast. Our favourite tip? The 'fist of five,' tactic. Put a vote to the group and ask them to rank, with their fingers, how much they agree or disagree with a decision, a good alternative to 'yay or nay.'

Try: Round-Robin Brainstorming

A great tool to make sure each and every voice is heard in a meeting, and a collaborative tactic to build upon everyones ideas at the same time. Let us know how you got on.

Watch: The Power of You to Truly Make Meetings Work (TEDx)

Organisational Psychologist, Professor of Organisational Science at UNC Charlotte, and author of The Surprising Science of Meetings Steven Rogelberg offers his science-backed thinking into how to make meetings work in this punchy 13-minute TEDx talk.


Listen: Why Meetings Go Wrong (And How to Fix Them) - HBR IdeaCast

And for a more in-depth explanation of 'meeting science', Steven Rogelberg recently guest spoke on HBR's fantastic IdeaCast podcast, giving his two-cents on the power of 'meeting free days,' and how companies can use meetings to supercharge productivity.