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What’s Working and What’s Not Working in FACILITATING Customer Advisory Boards?

We attended a Customer Advisory Board roundtable meeting with fellow members, all program managers at medium to large companies we discussed whats working and whats not working at the moment in facilitating CAB meetings and here’s a summary of some of the key discussion points:

  • CAB meetings should be exclusive forums to gather executive customer feedback and ideas.
  • As such, all session leaders should be clear and communicate what they are trying to learn from members, and the questions they need help with answering.
  • As such, sessions should be designed to best uncover and gather such input in a methodical, orderly fashion.
  • On the flip side, if your CAB meeting is really a series of presenters providing bland PowerPoint “updates” on your industry or company, or (worse) product demos with little or no planned time or method for gathering participant input, your meeting is completely one-way and will have poor engagement
  • In managing and facilitating CAB meetings with C-level executives for over a decade, we’ve driven many innovative sessions that get participants’ creative juices flowing and deliver an insightful meeting experience for everyone involved.

Using a variety of FACILITATION techniques is one of the keys to successful meetings. Here is a list of some different types of techniques:

Case Study – customers share how they solved challenges

Panel Discussion – learn from advanced members in group

Voting – quickly capture group opinions

Wall of Ideas – individual insight gathering

Working In Pairs – sharing best practices

Breakouts – work in smaller groups to solve a problem or generate higher quality insights faster

We highly recommend using breakout groups:

  • Smaller groups – great way to engage quiet members
  • By product use, industry, regions, size of company, etc.
  • Communicate all session parameters – objectives, exercise, timing
  • Provide clear, simple deliverable / exercise

With Customer Advisory Boards (CABs) meeting in person again post-pandemic, many companies are revamping or restarting their CAB programs. A dedication to ensuring an engaging, member-driven discussion is crucial to getting their programs back on track. That means moving away from boring PowerPoint presentations and designing sessions that are not only insightful but interesting and stimulating for CAB members.

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