Successful meetings have commonly understood goals, a clear process for achieving those goals, an awareness that the various attendees have their own issues and problems and objectives, but a sense of trust and affinity between the attendees that allows for outcomes that receive the support and buy-in (if not always the unanimous agreement!) of all those in attendance. A successful meeting gives all attendees the chance to say what they feel needs saying but the tone of the meeting remains positive. All this cannot happen automatically or be assumed to happen. It requires a skilled facilitator’s preparation and conducting from start to finish.
For most business people, facilitation is not a skill they need to exercise so often. And when it comes to international meeting facilitation, because languages other than Japanese are used, this tends to be a weak point for Japanese people. As a result, non-Japanese people often seize the initiative during international meetings.
During this program participants will learn how to confidently open and close meetings, the importance of creating a positive atmosphere that encourages discussion, to keep the meeting on topic, to elicit questions and comments and opinions from attendees, and to drive the meeting to a positive outcome. With a special focus on the challenges of Western-style meeting situations, participants will learn how to handle disagreements and confrontation smoothly. Special attention will be paid to the explanation and demonstration and exercise of various group-decision-making processes. This is important as decision-making in Japanese organizations is most often made informally outside of formal meetings. But when chairing meetings that include foreign colleagues decision-making in the meeting will be expected. For that reason familiarity with various ‘Go/No Go’ and ‘Deciding Between Options’ decision-making processes is critical. They will engage in multiple role plays to practice these skills Japanese people tend to be unfamiliar with. Participants will receive detailed feedback from trainers and gain the confidence they need to lead meetings to optimal outcomes.
First, we will conduct telephone interviews ahead of time with each of the participants to ascertain their English level and what type of meeting facilitation skills they require, so we can customize the training situations for each participant. Instead of lectures, training is participatory and interactive and will focus on role playing and feedback. Role plays will be based on situations directly related to participants’ jobs—information gained through the telephone interviews held prior to the course. Participants can therefore expect to learn new language and skills and techniques they will be able to apply directly into their own meetings and facilitation opportunities.
Participants will also receive a “training report” once the training is complete. These training reports include such information as the participant’s results and advice for future improvement, and the course handbook can even be of use even after training is over.