Hi, everyone. Kumar Dattatreyan here with Agile Meridian. And in this video, I'm going to focus on some key skills for the facilitator to master that will help him or her be much more successful at facilitating any meeting. So one of the hardest things to do in a meeting is to sort of shepherd the conversation along when you have a group of people that can't seem to agree on what to do, what the course of action is. It's so important for the facilitator in the room to be able to draw from the ideas of multiple people and help the group sort of achieve their goal and their purpose and their agenda. So a key skill, of course, for a facilitator is to be an active listener. And what does it mean to be an active listener?
Well, as a facilitator, you need to be present. You need to be aware of all that's going on in the room. Whether it's a virtual meeting or it's a in person session. Right? And, of course, if it's a virtual meeting, it makes it even more challenging, right, because people are not there with you. You can't see them. You can't see the body language, even with cameras on, it's sometimes hard to keep track of everyone in the Brady Bunch view of all the faces that might be in the meeting, as you can, if you're in a room. So you have to look for other cues, you have to really listen intently to tone of voice and the nuances of how people say things, the words that they use, right? And so you have to actively listen for all the tension that might be there present in the virtual environment.
You need to quiet your own internal voice, right? So you might be thinking about dinner later on that evening, or picking up your kids from school or soccer practice that's coming up later. All that needs to go away. You need to be focused 100% on the meeting, on the people in the meeting, listen for meaning, listen for content and listen with empathy. Listen with curiosity so that you are aware of what's going on in the room and you can ask the right questions. So active listening is a really a key skill for facilitators, facilitating any kind of a meeting. Another really a good technique is mirroring. Mirroring back what people say in the room. Again, virtual or distributed, doesn't matter. But being able to repeat back what people say is a very good way and nonjudgmental way of clarifying what someone says.
And by mirroring what you're doing really is repeating exactly what they say. So if you put it in your own words as long as you know the group, and then they know you and all that, that's great. It's fine. It's really fine to do that. To paraphrase mirroring is when you're facilitating a meeting where tensions are high, and if you paraphrase the person who said whatever he or she said, might think that you are changing how they said it. They might meet think that you're changing the meaning of what they said. And so it's a much safer way to clarify what people say in the room by just paraphrasing, sorry, mirroring what they said exactly.
And if you're in a room you could also mirror body language and by mirroring body language. You can sort of gain more empathy for the person who's speaking. All right. And then mirroring is a great technique. Paraphrasing is a great technique. You can use these techniques to help your listener, sorry, your participant in the meeting, clarify their message. What is it that they're really trying to say? You can ask questions, open ended questions, to get them to probe a little deeper, to sort of go below the surface as to what they might be saying, right.
Can you say more about that? What did you mean by what you just said? Right. So lots of what and how questions, not why questions because why questions can be construed as being judgemental or can be construed as being where you have an agenda that you're trying to prove. Why are you saying that? Why did you do that? That's not, you want to stay away from the why questions and focus on the what questions, the how questions, can you give me an example? What else can you tell me about this? What's coming up for you now, Sally, maybe somebody else in the room, as you're having the conversation, you want to engage people into the conversation you can start to ask others about their impression, what resonated with them and what they might add to the conversation, right. All right. And then finally, there's going to be a short video, right?
Finally, it's to stay engaged right. Throughout the meeting. And, of course, making sure everyone in the meeting is engaged. So if there are quiet people in the room virtually or not, how do you make space for them to participate? Right. And so, part of the part of the things you can try is just to call them out. If the quiet person's Bob, you might say something like, "Hey, Bob, from where you're sitting, what resonates with you as to what we've been talking about?" And it encourages them to speak, right? You can can also ask, ask them just in a round Robin fashion, right. As to sort of go around the room and don't skip the person that's quiet, obviously, would ask them to share their feedback and their thoughts.
You can certainly use digital tools, especially, if you're remote to have people have an equal voice by putting virtual stickies on a virtual whiteboard. And you can certainly do that in a classroom setting, right. Or a conference room setting. So some of the techniques that help you sort of listen better, facilitate better meetings. As I mentioned, be an active listener, reflect back what the speaker is saying by either mirroring or paraphrasing, depending on this in situation, ask the speaker to help clarify their position or their thoughts by asking probing questions.
Make sure you involve everyone in the room by asking them to speak up. The quiet ones to speak up. Right. "So, Hey, what do you have on your mind there, Sally. Would you like to share are what you're thinking?" "How does this look to you from where you're sitting?" Simple, open-ended questions that can help spur conversation and help people feel like they're involved and engaged. All of these tips and techniques, of course, are available in our art of the facilitation course. And you'll learn this, these techniques and get to practice with them. And so much more really it's an incredible course. And we hope you check it out. All right. Thank you so much. Hope to see you in a course, sometime in the future.