How to Facilitate or Participate in Successful Live or Virtual Meetings and Workshops that Define Digital Solutions

How to Facilitate Agile Meetings and User Story Workshops

Lead Live or Virtual Group Discussions and JAD Sessions that Get and Analyze Requirements, User Stories, and Features

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Duration: 3+ hours video content PLUS quizzes 
Format: Online course
Author: Tom and Angela Hathaway


Prefer reading? Check out our How to Facilitate Agile Meetings and Workshops (Kindle or Paperback).

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What is this course about?

There are meetings and then there are meetings. Meetings that matter, that make a difference, where people connect and make things happen, productive meetings people enjoy. Those meetings start with a facilitator who understands how to shape the environment and get people engaged.

Effective Communication Soft Skills are Essential Facilitation Tools

You should always be looking for ways to make meetings more productive AND more enjoyable – if they’re an inconvenience that just holds you back from doing productive work, your company is an endangered species. Make sure your workshops, conversations, and meetings are something everyone feels excited and invested in.

Collaboration is the beating heart of a healthy company. Facilitated discussions are opportunities for communicating and collaborating. Collaboration is the essence of productive teams and without effective facilitation, there can be no collaboration.

Having a facilitator on hand should not be your fallback plan. From regular participatory feedback to Agile 3 amigo conversations, effective facilitation can bring out creativity and improve the outcomes.

Team Collaboration Improves Personal and Professional Satisfaction

Studies show that individuals who collaborate are more satisfied with their work, deliver better results, and are more creative. Sounds like a win-win, so what is collaboration and how can you improve your facilitation skills to make it happen?

According to Albert Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. We offer guidelines for planning, preparing, conducting, leading, and participating in collaborative meetings and workshops.

Other courses on meeting facilitation focus exclusively on building facilitation and leadership skills. That is no longer enough. Modern software development is a collaborative effort between the business and IT communities. You need to also work on your ability to foster and maintain collaboration to allow all parties to succeed.

This course is based on a combined 70+ years of facilitating productive workshops and meetings. We present how we plan workshops and foster collaboration between the meeting leader and all participants to make meetings more productive and satisfying.


Collaboration and Teamwork are Highly Regarded Competencies

Companies today understand how collaboration unlocks the potential of their employees and adds value to their customers. 69% of top employers list effective communication as a required skill. In the world of digital transformation, communication between the business and those who develop and deliver the digital solutions drives collaboration. That is the heart and soul of modern organizations in the 21st century.


What Do You Get When You Buy This Course?

  • Lifetime access to the course including future updates.
  • 30-day Moneyback guarantee backed by Udemy if you are not completely satisfied with the learning experience.
  • Includes 111-page Student Handout in .pdf format for notetaking
  • “Intellimated” video lectures use visual representations to simplify complex concepts and associations.
  • Help from the authors answers open questions and provides additional information.
  • Confidence in your ability to facilitate collaborative meetings that minimize miscommunication that plagues IT initiatives.


Learn How to Plan and Run Productive Meetings and JAD Sessions

A lack of effective communication skills can be holding you back in your career development. If you feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a group, register for this course to:

  • learn how to empower collaboration in productive meetings
  • help IT deliver what the business community is requesting
  • reduce the amount of time spent in non-productive meetings
  • lead challenging workshops for defining evolving business needs
  • identify and practice soft skills necessary for effective facilitation and collaboration


Course Contents

Section I: “Introduction to Facilitated Collaborative Conversations”, presents how collaboration drives modern product development approaches like Lean and Agile. We explain why everyone involved in a gathering needs facilitation skills.

Section II: “Communication and Collaboration Are the Cornerstone of Productive Gatherings” introduces 7 variants of meetings, conversations, and workshops with an explanation of the pros and cons of each variant.

Section III: “Planning and Preparing Promotes Productive Meetings” provides concrete techniques that set the stage for successful gatherings. It includes how a well-formed objective drives the agenda, attendees, tools, and techniques of a meeting. We guide you from the decision to schedule a meeting all the way to formulating and distributing effective invitations that increase attendance.

Section IV: “Great Facilitators Practice Both Soft Skills and Technical Skills” delves into recent studies in brain research that will help you recognize and develop the soft skills that are essential to effective facilitation and collaboration. We also present techniques for developing the social skills that improve your ability to lead or contribute in a group setting.

Section V: “Listening and Speaking Are Both Critical for Effectively Communicating in Meetings” focuses on the key soft skill that underpins all human interactions. You will learn techniques for ensuring that your voice is heard in conversations and improve your ability to listen more attentively to other viewpoints.

Section VI: “Dealing with Challenges during Conversations and Workshops” acknowledges that facilitated collaboration does not depend on a perfect world to succeed. We present real-world challenges we have faced and present solutions we know work for solving them.

Section VII: “Closing a Working Meeting and Final Steps” presents what to do at the end of a facilitated session and what to do after the meeting is over. These actions extend the benefits of collaboration beyond a single workshop, meeting, or conversation by initiating a process of change that can spread throughout your organization.


About the Instructor: Tom Hathaway

      • Teaches 10 Udemy courses for Agile Business Analysis with over 70,000 students enrolled.
      • Champions lean and agile methods to meet communication challenges between business and IT communities.
      • Extensive YouTube Channel with over 100 videos for 18K+ subscribers and 1.8M+ views.
      • Authored 13 Business Analysis books covering tools and techniques for Agile and traditional software requirements.
      • Consultant to a multitude of Fortune 500 companies and governmental agencies.
      • Facilitated 100’s of User Story and Requirements Gathering Workshops / JAD Sessions for multi-million-dollar projects.
      • 35+ years’ experience with instructor-led training for tens of thousands of students around the world.
      • Coach and mentor for aspiring business analysts.

Intrigued but not convinced? Take a look at our FREE previews to make sure the instructor style and delivery work for you.

Who should take this course?

  • Product Owners
  • Product Team Members
  • Product and Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Business- and Customer-side Team Members
  • Agile Team Members
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME)
  • Systems Analysts and Designers
  • Developers
  • Quality Assurance Specialists/Testing Team Members
  • AND anyone interested in improving their facilitation and communication skills for today’s collaborative business environment.

What Can You Do After the Course?

Upon completion of this course, you can:

  • Develop well-formulated objectives and agendas to flush out optimal approaches, ideal participants, and preferred tools for productive workshops and meetings
  • Create a toolkit of techniques and soft skills that foster collaborative and engaging environments for planning, preparing, and performing effective meetings
  • Leverage modern brain science studies to help people discover and document features, functions, and requirements for future digital solutions
  • Select the best type of collaborative get-together for achieving the defined objectives based on the organization’s culture, technology, and leadership style
  • Prepare participants for cooperation and collaboration in facilitated User Story Workshops, 3-Amigos Conversations, and 1-on-1 requirements interviews
  • Applying conflict resolution strategies to mitigate the threat to successful collaboration
  • Understand how the conscious and nonconscious mind play a significant role in collaborative conversations
  • Create a toolkit of specific techniques that will keep your Collaborative Conversation on-track and engaging
  • Apply several listening techniques which are the key ingredient to productive collaborations
  • Find solutions for addressing common challenges associated with virtual meetings
  • Derive the necessary deliverables or outcomes of the collaborative conversations from the meeting objective

Detailed Course Outline

I. Introduction to Facilitated Collaborative Conversations

  • Team Collaboration Is the Seed that Grows Successful Organizations
  • Group Facilitation Skills Foster Collaboration
  • Limiting Attendance to Essential Participants Optimized Meeting Cadence
  • All Participants Use Facilitation Skills during Agile Meetings

II. Communication and Collaboration Are the Cornerstone of Effective Gatherings

  • Effective and Successful Business Collaboration for Meetings of Every Size
  • Facilitate Workshops, Requirements Interviews and 3-Amigo Conversations
  • User Story Workshops and 3-Amigo Conversations Need Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • Agile Retrospective Meetings Need Larger Audiences
    Virtual Collaboration Is More Challenging
  • Scrum and Sprint Planning Meetings Also Need Facilitation

III. Planning and Preparing Promotes Productive Meetings

  • Collaborative Meetings Improve Your Organization’s Performance
  • How to Have Effective Meetings through Facilitation
  • Realistic Meeting Objectives Entice the Right Participants
  • Participant Selection Is a Prerequisite for Optimal Productivity
  • Desired Outcomes and Deliverables Dictate Agenda Format
  • Plan Meetings and Workshops to Meet the Objectives
  • Virtual Meetings Demand New Tools, Techniques, and Templates
  • Tips and Tricks for Creating an Agenda at the Right Level of Detail
  • A Team Meeting Agenda Needs to Be Specific
  • Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Scheduling
  • Well-written Meeting Invitations Increase Attendance

IV. Great Facilitators Practice Both Soft Skills and Technical Skills

  • Hard Skills, Soft Skills – What’s What and Why?
  • Teambuilding Is a Fundamental People Skill for Facilitators
  • People Need Help Discovering What They Really Want
  • Why You Need a Conscious and a Nonconscious Mind
  • Decision-Making Is a Soft Skill Facilitators Need to Develop
  • Learning Soft and Hard Skills Requires a Conscious Effort
  • Communication is the Ultimate Soft Skill Everyone Needs
  • Your Nonconscious Mind Contributes to Teamwork
  • Why the Question “Why” Is Provocative for Many
  • Improve Your Professional Soft Skills for Better Business Communication

V. Listening and Speaking Are Critical for Effectively Communicating in Meetings

  • Facilitators Master Verbal and Non-verbal Communications
  • Learn the Language of the Participants for Effective Communications
  • How You Relay the Message is More Important than What You Say
  • Reading Non-Verbal Communication is a Type of Listening
  • Comprehensive and Effective Listening is an Active Listening Skill
  • Attentive or Informational Listening Identifies Intent and Purpose
  • Allowing Silence to Linger Teaches How to Listen Effectively
  • Confirmation Bias is a Primary Impediment to Engaged Listening
  • How Critical Listening Makes You a Good Listener
  • Written Communication Is Asynchronous Collaboration

VI. How to Run Productive Meetings, Conversations, JAD Sessions, and Workshops

  • To Facilitate a Group Discussion, Start with Small Talk
  • Kick Off Your Meetings with a Fun, Fast, Non-Threatening Icebreaker
  • 4 Techniques that Excel as Team-building Activities
  • An Effective Meeting Builds on Good Time Management
  • Leverage the Difference between Closed and Open-Ended Questions
  • Dealing with Distracting Environments and Participants
  • Conflict Resolution Strategies Deal with Difficult People
  • Virtual Team Collaboration and Online Meeting Best Practices
  • Taking Notes versus Recording a Team Meeting Pros and Cons

VII. Closing the Working Session and Follow-Up

  • Consider a Post-Mortem or Lessons Learned Meeting
  • Distribute the Results of the Get-Together to the Appropriate Audience
  • Capitalize on the Meeting Experience After the Fact

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