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The Glossary of Meeting Terms describes terminology and acronyms related to meetings and all the activities we do in those meetings. We've gathered this information from far and wide, so enjoy! And hey — if you have corrections or additions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

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A face-to-face meeting is one where all the participants are physically in the same place. In other words, a face-to-face meeting is what everyone used to just call "a meeting" before the advent of conference calls and web conferencing. Now, meetings can be characterized as face-to-face (with everyone colocated), virtual (with most all participants joining from separate locations), or hybrid (some participants colocated, others joining from different locations).

Facilitation is the work involved in designing and running a successful meeting. To facilitate literally means "to make the process easy." Facilitation skills include:

Planning an appropriate process for a specific meeting Engaging the group during the meeting and maintaining a positive participatory environment Ensuring the meeting produces the desired outcomes and deliverables

The term facilitator can refer to a person's profession or their role in a specific meeting.

Professional facilitators are trained to design and lead meetings for teams and groups. A professional facilitator works for and with a leader to plan the meeting in advance, prepare the venue, materials, and conduct any pre-work, and to guide the group through the meeting. Facilitators focus on managing the meeting process and helping every participant engage successfully. Most facilitators...

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Facipulation is the application of facilitation techniques used in an attempt to manipulate a group towards a pre-determined outcome. Facipulation is basically tricking people into thinking they had a choice, when you were really cleverly steering the meeting to achieve a pre-determined outcome.

This is a common concern expressed by non-facilitators, who may worry that intentionally designing meetings to achieve desired outcomes will box participants into agreeing to something they...

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Facilitators and leaders ask for meeting feedback so they can work to improve future meetings. Asking for feedback helps the leader improve and sends a message about the importance of meeting quality to meeting participants. Meeting feedback is typically collected just before ending the meeting, as the last or next to last item on the agenda, or directly following the meeting using a meeting feedback form. When collected and reviewed over time, meeting feedback can give managers insight into...

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A fishbone diagram is a visual technique that teams use to organize their thinking and identify causes for a problem. The diagram starts with a process or problem written at the right center of the board, with a long horizontal line and an arrow leading to it. Then, diagonal lines are drawn connecting to the horizontal line, or spine, of the diagram. Each diagonal line represents a possible cause of the problem, or a set of inputs into the process.

The Fist to Five is a technique for quickly getting feedback or gauging consensus during a meeting. The leader makes a statement, then asks everyone to show their level of agreement with the statement by holding up a number of fingers, from 5 for wild enthusiasm (Jazz hands!) down to a clenched fist for vehement opposition.

One way to define the Fist to Five scale. Make sure to clarify what 0 to 5 mean for your group.

A flip chart consists of a series of large pieces of paper which are attached at the top and which are used to present information to an audience by turning over one piece of paper at a time. Flip charts are used during meetings to present the agenda and for visual note taking. In professionally facilitated meetings, there may be separate flip charts dedicated to capturing ideas, actions, parking lot items, and other content relevant to the meeting. Groups that meet electronically use...

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Meeting follow up includes the activities conducted after the meeting. Right after the meeting, the meeting organizer follows up by sending out meeting notes and collecting feedback. If the meeting resulted in action items or other plans, the leader may also schedule a dedicated follow-up meeting to check progress.

Teams conduct a force field analysis when they need to make go/no-go decisions. Teams start by writing the proposed change down the center of the diagram. To the left, they list the forces driving change, with an arrow pointing to the proposed change. To the right, they draw the forces pushing back against the change. Then, they assign relative strengths to each force and add the totals on each side. This is a subjective yet helpful way for groups to think through the forces working for and...

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Four Blocker

Framing means providing context for thinking about an issue. When people try to make sense of any set of facts, they do so within a mental “frame” based on what they already know, and what they value.

In a meeting, people will bring different frames based on their job functions, their experience, and whatever they last heard. An effective leader will help provide a shared frame for the topic so people can work together effectively. This may include providing background information...

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