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Why Do Some People Fear Facilitating Meetings

    The Fear Of Facilitating Meetings

    You’ll be amazed at how many people are scared of facilitating meetings. If you are employed, you will likely be asked to conduct an event or give a presentation. Meetings typically involve speaking and presenting to the team. In this article, I’ll explain why people hesitate to take the initiative of meetings.

    Leadership Skills

    It is a fact that some people don’t possess the necessary leadership skills to run meetings. Because of this, they may fear for their lives if asked to lead the meeting or manage the proceedings. It is normal for people not to want to be the center of attention. They prefer to remain in the shadows. That’s one of the reasons people don’t want to be in charge of the meeting.

    What are the most feared concerns of the facilitator’s meeting?

    Fear of Facilitation (FOF) is very real and is a common problem that even the most experienced public speakers and presenters have encountered at some point in their careers.

    While most often associated with the fear of speaking in public and authoritative leaders, there are plenty of reasons why people feel fearful before or during meetings.

    It is impossible to change the things you don’t recognize. According to the saying So, let’s first be sure we identify the root of our anxiety before moving on to the part of overcoming it.

    Here are a few of the most frequently-asked questions facilitators confront.

    Fear of speaking in public

    For some, the simple possibility of having to address semi-formally before a group of people can trigger intense anxiety and fear. In this scenario, even your usual team meetings could cause discomfort even if you’re moderating meetings with people you’ve never met.

    The fear of speaking in public (also known as glossophobia) is among the most frequent fears that create discomfort for those organizing a conference.

    According to an HBR article, the fear goes back to prehistoric times. Eye contact was a common theme among people who believed being observed as warning signs of imminent danger and being prey to predators. The fight-or-flight response is activated, which causes us to feel the physical symptoms triggered by adrenaline.

    • Redness,
    • Breathing problems, as well as
    • Shaking.

    Meetings in person and online result in a similar situation -meeting facilitators, are on the frontline with all attention and eyes focused on them. Naturally, this could trigger a negative reaction for those who are prone to feeling anxiety or fear of public speaking.

    Fear of the unknowable.

    There’s something truly frightening about the ever-growing list of possible worst-case scenarios that we think about when trying to plan for an event.

    The anxiety about facilitation increases as we get closer to meeting

    • Stakeholders,
    • Partners, or
    • Sponsors outside our organization with whom we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting before.

    Unpredictability is a fact of life. Could cause us to experience panic and hinder our ability to do our best.


    Many people are scared to be in front of others. Because of this, they are less likely to be interested in conducting meetings. However, some are not worried about facilitating an event and will conduct it without feeling worried. It all depends on the individual and their personality.

    Making Mistakes

    There is no perfect person; we are all human and make errors. It’s normal to make errors when you’re alone. But making them happen when you’re in a group is different. Most people don’t want to be a mess in front of their colleagues or peers. This is why certain people aren’t interested in being the leader of meetings.

    The fear of a low engagement

    Amid all the possible worries meeting facilitators confront, this is perhaps the most real.

    Although few people will be aware or care if you make mistakes or seem slightly nervous or unengaged, a lack of engagement or bad meeting dynamics stick out like an itch.

    It’s nerve-wracking to manage meetings with people who aren’t willing to share their thoughts or confront a group with unbalanced dynamics. The long silence could be enough to disorient even the most experienced facilitators and hosts of meetings.

    How do you manage meetings to be an experienced facilitator?

    A competent facilitator of meetings can bring a group together to discuss, debate, and, most importantly, decide on various things in a short amount of time. The problem is that most teams don’t have dedicated program managers or coaches who can take on this task. As the workplace grows more interconnected, it’s becoming increasingly crucial that everyone on the team understands how to conduct effective meetings.

    I’ve been conducting meetings for many years and have needed to decipher several facilitation-related questions. What happens if the pace of the meeting isn’t right or slow? Does the schedule seem to be in the right place? What kind of vibe will the room alter when you “double-click” on an uncomfortable reality revealed? Do I have the ability to bring the inevitable strong person in the room to switch up and pay attention to their fellow peers? Sheesh. Many x-factors are difficult to track!

    The positive side is that facilitation of meetings is just a skill you need to master. To improve your abilities and overcome your fear, Here are some tips and expert tips to aid you in managing your next meeting with confidence.

    Be aware of your role as facilitator for meetings.

    Don’t let it be about you.

    Me, I’m a classic “talker.” So, therefore, standing in front of an audience to lead an event isn’t too an issue. (In fact, when I was learning how to run meetings, the most challenging part was getting me to stop talking so that the other group members could talk.)

    Being a successful facilitator of meetings and a participant is almost impossible. You can’t be both an emcee as well as a performer simultaneously. Take on the role of the facilitator by controlling time, encouraging participation, and asking the right questions. Let the others in the group be the show’s stars.

    Determine the purpose of your meeting

    Each meeting you host should have a specific final goal: a goal to reach or a choice to take. Be sure that your schedule outlines the reasons the reason they’re here and (importantly) the steps it will require to conclude the meeting promptly.

    It’s important to repeat the purpose before the meeting also. You could draw it out on the whiteboard for an outline for discussion, particularly if a skeptic likely surrounds you within the room. If the discussion takes off into a rabbit hole or diverges off course, it is possible to return the group to the course by reminding them of the gathering’s objective.

    Close your laptop and then open your ears

    People are more involved in conversations when they’re not sending an email or surfing Facebook. Therefore, take a firm stance and request that all laptops, tablets, and mobile phones be turned off. Only one exception is the meeting’s scribe, who gets an access pass to use their device to take minutes of meetings. Make sure you don’t begin the meeting before everyone is plugged in and ready to participate.

    A laptops-closed/phones-off policy is critical for sessions involving active listening and flat-out, transparent sharing. Imagine someone working on the strength to voice opinions that aren’t in favor of their colleagues who were busy with emails? But not really. For team retrospectives or similar kinds of gatherings, it’s recommended that the facilitator note what’s discussed so that everyone is fully involved with the discussions.

    If someone says they need to work on something else at the meeting, grant them the right to leave the room and work. They’ll be more relaxed doing it and be able to produce better work with less distraction from others talking about them.

    Know your audience

    If you’re hosting an event to solve a problem or retrospective, be alert for those who have to be enticed into the discussion. Be aware of the personalities among the participants and work to encourage everyone to contribute to the discussion equally (more than less). Shy people aren’t likely to necessarily be shy. They might have plenty to say should they be given a chance. You are responsible as the facilitator for creating space for them to express themselves.

    A seasoned facilitator may look at people as they enter the room, jotting down the people they share a seat with or who they steer clear of. You are free to exercise your judgment to re-arrange chairs (or which ones sit where) when it helps bring out the best of everyone.

    Be aware of who is the one with the final say in the decisions you make, and utilize them as a tie-breaker when the group cannot achieve a consensus. For example, the person in charge can be helpful when deciding who’s responsible for the follow-up items.


    It’s not unusual for people to be hesitant to lead a meeting when they are requested by the manager or someone from the organization they are employed. Sometimes in the real world, one may be required to take over the responsibility of leading an event. This could be at work or in your own company that you manage. While some people may be reluctant to manage the facilitation component of their business but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t handle it.

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