Questions to a client

A new client inquires about my availability to facilitate a multi stakeholder meeting sometime this fall. In her email I read some questions about online or hybrid meeting and about the number of participants. Below I share some preliminary thoughts I wrote in my answer the client:

-The most important criteria is who needs to be present in order to deliver what needs to be delivered. That determines the capacity of the venue, rather than the venue determining who you will invite.
- How do you intend to invite? Specific people or representatives of organisations or projects?
- Do you want only to focus on a task or do you also want to influence the way of working in the future?
- Which is the complexity of the task? For example, in the simple side of the complexity spectrum you would invite to a qualified “brain-storming” or “data-mining” meeting, in which whatever is gathered will be analysed by a smaller team after the meeting. In the middle of the complexity spectrum would be to invite to organise the information in and to interpret it. In the more complex end of the spectrum would be to invite to prioritising and even decision making.
- My preference is always f2f meetings, but i know that it is not always feasible. So if it will be a hybrid meeting, we need to make it possible for all to work together towards the completion of the task.  
- Are there any online tools that most participants know how to use for gathering and organising information, for meaning making and prioritising? I suppose you don’t want to use time for the participants to learn any new tool. I haven’t found yet any online tool that I feel comfortable with, other than for brainstorming or data-mining. All tools I know of that promise more than brainstorming and data-mining, impose a straitjacket on people’s thinking.
- I hear that some people are working on developing AI-driven tools, but I don’t have experience with them.
- The need for technical support increases with online participants, so in the end you will need to consider different budget posts, e.g. travel and accommodation for the f2f participants on the one hand, and on the other the costs of technical support and its integration with the process facilitation.

These are just some thoughts jotted down as an answer. As you see, we need to talk to design a coherent meeting. Please let me know when you are ready for a preliminary design talk.

Warmest. /E