The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings
by Dr. Mark Smutny
Pub Date 26 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 13 Jan 2022
Emerald Lake Books, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
Imagine meetings where everyone is heard and all people matter.
Picture organizations that embrace all voices and are committed to justice, equity and opportunity. Imagine businesses, nonprofits and the public sector creatively engaging people in thousands of ways—seeking their best ideas, empowering the silenced, and building communities where all are treated with dignity and respect.
That’s what Thrive seeks to create.
Each chapter contains practical insights and accessible stories that transform meetings from dull to dynamic.
You will learn how to:
• capitalize on diversity's strengths.
• keep meetings task-oriented and collegial.
• facilitate effectively in polarized or conflicted settings.
Thrive includes chapters on privilege and power, multilingual and virtual meetings, and full inclusion of people with disabilities.
Whether you are a skilled practitioner or new to leadership, Thrive will teach you techniques for facilitating more effective, inclusive and energizing meetings.
A Note From the Publisher
“Smutny talks plainly. ‘We meet incessantly for good and for ill.’ Lucky for us, he spends scant attention on the ills of meetings. Instead, this updated book shows modern facilitators how to welcome all cultures and identities with inclusive procedures like Liberating Structures and Open Space Technology. Get this book, absorb it, and keep it close at hand.
—John E. Perkins, PhD, CEO of Keep the Change Consulting
“Whether you’re facilitating a weekly staff meeting, workshop or problem-solving session, you want to create an inclusive meeting where all feel welcome and as if their input matters. In Thrive, you’ll learn proven tricks of the trade to make people comfortable (even with difficult topics) and engaged in your next meeting.
—Karen Catlin, author of Better Allies
“A must-read, so liberating, so compelling, so engaging, and a practical guide for effective facilitators.”
—Ernie Cathcart, Cultural Competency Specialist, Wellspring Family Service of Seattle
“Thrive captures Dr. Smutny’s lifetime commitment to social justice work and improving organizations through intentional leadership. It’s practical, inspirational and can help you avoid costly mistakes. His tips on building inclusive conversations with culturally diverse groups are particularly insightful.”
—Lee Mozena, founder of Zena Consulting
“With forty years of meetings behind me, I wish "Thrive" had been available at the beginning of my career—so many hard lessons could have been avoided! The blend of practical techniques, real-world examples that I related to, and links to in-depth resources is perfect for the seasoned practitioner or someone just starting out.”
—Fred Dock, City of Pasadena Director of Transportation (ret.)
“If you are tired of lame meetings with lip service solutions, Thrive: The Facilitator’s Guide to Radically Inclusive Meetings is the guide you have been waiting for. In wrestling with the demons of racism, privilege and marginalization of women firsthand, Mark Smutny has developed enviable self-awareness muscles. He reinforces his learnings with how-to scripts to get you into the inclusive facilitation ring yourself. True to its title, everyone in the ring comes out winners, having built a better world in the process. If you facilitate difficult meetings, this is the only guidebook you need. If your meetings are easy, you need this book to find out why you aren’t getting results.”
—Marie Gervais, PhD, CEO of Shift Management Inc.
“Mark Smutny is the definitive meeting planner, organizer, “includer” and advocate for open, diverse, factual and reasonable discussion and resolution. His inviting and encouraging manner keeps meetings on point from gavel to gavel. Thrive is Dr. Smutny’s how-to manual for any and all meeting facilitators who are committed to authentic, inclusive meetings and forums, both large and small.
—Timothy Hulbert, President of the Charlottesville (VA) Regional Chamber of Commerce (ret.)
“Who among us has not sat through boring meetings where nothing of note is accomplished? Usually led by good-intentioned people, meetings often get bogged down with trivia or dominated by one person or group with a specific agenda, often where many in the group are unable to share their ideas for consideration. Those who are shy or have been marginalized are seldom heard. Mark Smutny’s book, Thrive, is a guide for leaders who want meetings structured to bring out diverse ideas, opinions and interactions that generate the most imaginative solutions.”
—Thomas Stoebe, Professor Emeritus, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington
“I’ve been running meetings for over forty years, but even someone as experienced as I am can learn new ways to make meetings more productive and, yes, more fun by using the tools outlined in Thrive. Whether you are new to meeting facilitation or an experienced facilitator, this book will do the same for you.”
—Cheryl Cobbs Murphy, Executive Director of Solid Ground (ret.)
“Mark Smutny brings a wealth of knowledge, strategies and tools on how an organization can engage every voice and strengthen its presence in the community. He takes people’s skills and builds on them. His thoughtful ideas for designing inclusive meetings are the catalyst for renewed energy and success.”
—Robert Taylor, Program Director of the Social Impact Center, Tacoma YMCA
“I have more than thiry years of experience facilitating teams in business, nonprofits and the public sector. I wish I could have read Thrive earlier in my career. It is an essential book. The chapter devoted to creating meaningful agendas by itself will help everyone lead effective meetings.”
—Greg Scully, Manager of Nonprofit Resources & Community Partnerships, 501 Commons
“Thrive is a must-read for any facilitator—as a primer for those who are considering implementing diversity, equity and inclusion in their meetings, and as a refresher and reference for practitioners seeking to strengthen the performance and outputs of their meetings. With the increasing trend of having virtual meetings since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Smutny has included a valuable chapter on inclusive virtual meetings in the second edition of this book.”
—Dr. Pran Wahi, Director of Seniors Program, Indian American Community Services of Seattle
In-person and virtual author appearances
Promotions on Goodreads and NetGalley
Blog tour hosted by iRead
Outreach to facilitation organizations
Webinars offered through 501 Commons