The book has everything you need to be an amazing meeting facilitator. Here are the highlights.


  • How I came to be a facilitator
  • Why I decided to write this book

Introduction: Meetings Need Heroes

  • Why we need heroes
  • The dangers of accepting the challenge
  • The benefits of saying “Yes!”
  • The book’s roadmap

1: To Meet or Not to Meet

  • The expense of calling a meeting and how to determine if your meeting is worth it
  • Appropriate reasons to call a meeting
  • When a meeting isn’t the right choice
  • Alternatives to calling a meeting that will still get you what you want

2: Nuts and Bolts

  • The definition of a meeting
  • The players and their respective roles
  • Types of meetings
  • The standard process

3: Purpose Drives Engagement

  • 3 components of a compelling purpose
  • The questions your purpose must address
  • A process for developing a purpose others want to fulfill
  • How to communicate your purpose to your participants

4: The Plan

  • Why you should skip the agenda and create a plan
  • The elements of an effective plan
  • The steps you should take to create one
  • How to get feedback from others

5: Schedule for Success

  • How to determine the right length for your meeting
  • The advantages and disadvantage of various time slots during the day
  • Why the day of the week matters more than you may think

6: Pick the Right People

  • Selection principles you should use to decide who to invite
  • How to keep troublemakers away
  • Why you should invite some unlikely participants
  • What to do when you’re not sure about whether to invite someone
  • How to make sure participants come prepared

7: Place and Space

  • Why you should consider holding the meeting somewhere different than usual
  • How to assess the space to determine if it will work
  • The table arrangements that work best by size of group and meeting purpose
  • Why seating assignments can help you and who should sit in which spot

8: A Toolbox

  • Everything you ever wanted to know about flip charts and didn’t care to ask
  • What you should carry in your toolbox
  • The things you should check just prior to the meeting so you are ready

9: A Strong Start

  • How to set the proper tone in the first few minutes
  • Useful ground rules and why you should make some
  • How icebreakers help and a couple good ideas for you to try

10: Earn the Group’s Respect

  • Why you ought to stay neutral and how to do it
  • How to keep your cool when someone is pushing your buttons
  • How to create a comfortable/safe environment
  • What to do when someone thinks your plan isn’t working

11: Pay Attention

  • The key participant cues you need to notice and how to be sure that you do
  • What you should be listening for from participants
  • What to notice when people aren’t talking

12: Make Your Words Count

  • 8 levels of control and how to pick the right one
  • Why offering your opinion is a dangerous step to take
  • 6 types of statements you can make during a meeting
  • How to make sure everyone’s on the same page

13: Respond without Words

  • The reasons silence is a powerful facilitation tool and how to use it to the group’s advantage
  • How to use eye contact to manage the conversational flow
  • The body language tricks you can use to direct a meeting like a traffic cop

14: Involve Everyone

  • How to get quiet participants to join in on the conversation
  • How to get the loud ones to give others a chance
  • Useful jobs you should get others to do during your meetings

15: Stay on Track

  • What to do when someone takes the group on a tangent
  • When and how to point out the group’s accomplishments
  • How to confirm agreement
  • When you should ditch your plan and roll with the situation

16: Manage the Clock

  • How to make time visible and valuable
  • Surefire ways to start the meeting on time
  • How to complete the work at or before the scheduled end time
  • Tricks to keep the meeting moving

17: Maintain Respect in the Room

  • The behaviors you want from every meeting participant
  • The common behaviors that derail meetings
  • Strategies for preventing and responding to meeting troubles

18: Engage Them

  • How to turn routine into fresh and new
  • Interesting ways to create a challenge
  • Why you want to crank up the candor levels and how to do it

19: Generate Options

  • Meeting situations that require creative thinking
  • How to define a problem that results in better ideas
  • How to keep participants in the creative zone
  • Why fun helps and how to encourage it

20: Make Decisions

  • 4 methods groups use to make decisions
  • How to work through an impasse
  • A conflict resolution process you can follow if a dispute breaks out
  • 3 decision making tools that will save you a ton of time

21: Avoid Decision Traps

  • Why you should learn to ask for other opinions
  • How to notice assumptions and what to do about them
  • Why previous decisions shouldn’t influence current decisions
  • How to keep your group from always choosing the safe route
  • How to keep peer pressure from leading to the wrong answer

22: Finish with Flair

  • How to tie up all the loose ends
  • How to ensure everyone knows what will happen next
  • Why you should evaluate your meetings and 3 ways to do it
  • How to make sure people feel good about their participation

23: After the Meeting

  • How to make easy work of meeting notes
  • How to learn from the meeting and incorporate those insights into future meetings
  • Who you should follow-up with and how to do it

24: When You’re Not the Leader

  • How to set a great example as a participant
  • How to deal with bad behaviors from other participants
  • How to make helpful suggestions without stepping on toes

25: Answer the Call

  • 4 simple suggestions for practicing what you learned
  • Ways you can continue to grow and develop your meeting hero skills
  • How to leverage what you learn across the organization