CAP108 – Student Handout Revised - Wellesley Institute

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CAP 108:


The Fundamentals of Effective
Meeting &
Facilitation Skills





Participant Workbook

2













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2

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24



Table of Contents


Course Outline: The Fundamentals of Effec
tive Meeting & Facilitation Skills

...................

3

Agenda

................................
................................
................................
................................
...

4

Welcome & Introductions:

................................
................................
................................
.....

5

Ground Rules

................................
................................
................................
.........................

6

Why do facilitators use ground rules?

................................
................................
...............

6

Key Considerations when Planning and Preparing for Meetings:

................................
.........

7

Why is it important to have objectives for a meeting?

................................
......................

8

What is the purpose of an agenda?

................................
................................
....................

8

Design Framework

................................
................................
................................
.............

8

Learning Activity 1: Planning for a Meeting

................................
................................
.....

11

The Art and Skill of Effective Fa
cilitation

................................
................................
..........

12

What is facilitation?

................................
................................
................................
.........

12

What are the reasons we have meetings?

................................
................................
.........

12

The Value of Facilitated Meetings

................................
................................
...................

12

What’s the difference between a chair and a facilitator?

................................
.................

12

Facilitation O
verview
................................
................................
................................
...........

13

A Facilitator is Many Things:

................................
................................
..........................

14

What a Facilitator Isn't

................................
................................
................................
.....

14

How are the participants different in a facilitated meeting?

................................
............

15

Can the boss or the Board chairperson act as the facilitator?

................................
..........

15

What’s the role of an expert?

................................
................................
...........................

16

Other Roles that Can be Assumed in Meetings

................................
...............................

16

Process Interventions and Dealing with
Difficult Behaviour;

................................
.........

17

Facilitator Self
-
Assessment Form

................................
................................
........................

21

Additional Material and Resources on the Facilitator’s Role

................................
..............

22

Focus:

................................
................................
................................
...............................

22

Participation:

................................
................................
................................
....................

23

Positive Attitudes:

................................
................................
................................
............

23

Pulling it all together:
................................
................................
................................
.......

24

References:

................................
................................
................................
...........................

24



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CAP 108: The Fundamentals of Effective Meeting and
Facilitation Skill
s


Overview:

So much of our time is spent in meetings and working with groups to achieve results, reach
decisions and move from talk to action. F
acilitation is a
critical skill

for anyone who

is

on
a team, heads up a
committee,

manages a department

or spe
nds time working with groups.

If

you want your meetings to be productive, run smoothly, engage everyone, leverage the
talents of all participants and achieve results this is the workshop for you. Join us if you
are:

-

Looking to build greater confidence
in your general group management skills?

-

W
orking with a group or coalition toward a common goal?

-

Not sure how to
:

o


handle challenging situations in a meeting

o

encourage commitment and participation among participants


This interactive workshop is designed
t
o give you the

basic
skills associated with
leading/chairing a meeting and
facilitat
ing

group processes to achieve desired outcomes.
You will learn how to get more out of each meeting by planning for the meeting, and
setting the stage for success.



Upo
n completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:



Design, plan and prepare for effective meetings



Explain the role of the facilitator before and during a meeting



Differentiate between when to facilitate and when to lead during meetings



Handle
the dynamics of challenging group situations



Effectively direct the energies and talents of a group to achieve the defined
objectives and/ or outcomes defined for the meeting



Facilitate a group from ideas to actions


Who Should Attend:



Program / proje
ct coordinators and
team leaders of community
-
based
organizations



Board members of new or volunteer
-
based community organizations



Individuals
who regularly participate in meetings




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Agenda



1.

Welcome & Introduction

2.

The Key Components to Effective Meeti
ngs

3.

Before the Meeting
-

Planning

4.

The Role of the Facilitator

5.

Group Dynamics

6.

Getting the Most from Meeting Participants

7.

Practice .. Practice .. Practice

8.

Wrap up and evaluations








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Welcome & Introductions:


1.

Introduce Yourself

2.

Complete the fo
llowing statements …



“I hate meetings that / when …….. “












“Meetings are great when they …. “













“My biggest challenge with meetings is …. “















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Ground Rules


The ground rules and the agenda are the facilitator’s principle tools

to focus the work of a
meeting.


Why d
o facilitators use ground rules?


They create structure and a contract with participants to manage the conversation and
interaction. They are a tool for facilitators to use when dealing with difficult participants.
Fo
r example, if the difficult behavior is identified as not wanted in the ground rules, the
facilitator can ask the participant if they are aware they violating a group ground rule.



Possible Ground Rules:




Speak up, don’t save comments until you are
at
th
e door.



Don’t monopolize the time. Give everyone a chance to speak.



Respect other peoples ides when disagreeing, be positive and constructive



If something is unclear, ask. It may be unclear to others as well.



Don’t carry on side conversations. Maintain an
active interest in the workshop.



There are no wrong answers or dumb questions.



What is said in the room stays in the room.



Turn off cell phones and blackberries.


And/
or



Exercise trust, openness, and honesty



Focus on solution and resolution



Be open to new
ways of thinking



One conversation at a time



Everyone stays on time



Have fun



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Key Considerations when Planning and Preparing for
Meetings
:




1.

Purpose


-
the key reason or objectives for which a group intend to meet
.


2.

Content


-

focused on the


what


of the session or the topics of discussion
.


3.

Preparation


-
the purpose for inviting and encouraging targeted people to participate
.


4.

Roles and responsibilities


-
defines the key roles to accomplish the meeting or workshop purpos
e and



objectives
.


5.

Process

-
focuses on how the objective of the session will be accomplished, or the activities
to engage participants

(structure, flow, agenda)
.

Purpose

Content

Preparation

Roles and
Responsibilitie
s

Process




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Why is it important to have objectives for a meeting?




In order to ensure that everyone k
nows why they are there
.



So participants can participate to the best of their ability
.



To help the focus the design of the meeting
.



To help the facilitator keep the participants on track in their discussion
.



What is the purpose of an agenda?




A road map

for working together.



Don't structure it with attached times for each portion of work
.



Keeps the meeting focused and productive
.



Builds commitment to the task when meeting participants contribute to an agenda
and agree to it
.



gives the facilitator a manda
te to intervene when the discussion loses focus.


Design
F
ramework

Designing the work process for a facilitated meeting is a learned art. You need a solid
knowledge of group dynamics and available tools and techniques in order to do it.
Experience also pla
ys an important role in becoming a good designer. Here are the basic
steps to follow in the session design process.


1. Clarify the purpose of the meeting.

2. Define the desired outcomes and products.

3. Determine who should attend.

4. Design the sequence
of meeting activities.

a. Pick a method for each step.

b. Review and adjust your design by asking:

Can I get from one step to the next smoothly?

Are all steps necessary?

How much time will it take?

Will these methods work for this group?



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Is there anything

about this method or topic that could blow up?

5. Decide how to begin and how to conclude the session.

6. Determine logistics, equipment and administrative needs.

7. Complete the agenda.

8. Finalize the design


Other critical factors to keep in mind duri
ng the design process
:

Group size
-

The number of participants will affect your methods. Groups larger
than five automatically take on the traits of hierarchy. To produce highly creative
products, you may want to break the participants into subgroups of fi
ve or less.


Groups of ten to twelve may not need to be broken into smaller groups for simple
sessions, such as idea generation or dialogue.


Gathering lots of information
-

When you're hosting multiple sessions that
produce large amounts of information,

schedule a day or two in between sessions so
that you can manage the products of each one and prepare properly for the next.



Draft products
-

When it's appropriate, use a draft product for the group to work
with. Starting from scratch can be a slow, ted
ious process for a group and most
sessions benefit from a more robust beginning. Using draft products honors any
work that was accomplished before the session and develops a positive
environment. Exceptions to this are sessions where a fresh start is exact
ly what is
called for. Visioning, for example, is a process that would not benefit from the
influence of a draft product.


Sequencing activities
-

Block out time to produce each product. Remember that
most people need to speak to stay involved. Allow for t
hat in your calculations.
Timing will always be a "guesstimate." Don't be surprised if something you thought
would take less time actually takes longer and vice versa.


Restating purpose
-

Even with detailed communication about the purpose of the
session b
etween the client, the participants and yourself, don't be surprised to have
participants arriving at your session wondering
Why am I here?, What's going to
happen?, What's expected of me?

Participants will seldom ask these questions. No
one wants to appea
r uninformed. Trust us, it's happening and the group can't
perform until fears rising from these unanswered questions are eased. At the
beginning of the facilitated session, build in a few minutes to formally explain the
purpose of the session. Solicit que
stions after the explanation.




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Mid
-
course correction
-

You may find the need to change your methods or the
schedule during the session. That's okay. It's still important to have an initial plan to
get the group centered and comfortable with the process. Ev
en though you may
have to change the agenda or methodology, the planned framework allows you to
always know what has to be done. You know the bottom line requirements
--

outcomes, products and available time.


Use positive words
-

Frequently, clients reque
st a number of products for one
session. We recommend you describe a session that's going to produce a variety of
products as one having an

ambitious agenda.

Comments to the group like

We have
a lot of work to do today

or
This is going to be a full day

are

discouraging and set
the session up as one of drudgery. Negative comments like this will drain
participants' energy before they begin.


Breakout group assignments
-

If you're going to divide the group into subgroups,
you may want to make subgroup assignme
nts before the session to save time. The
list can be handed out with the agenda. If there are participants who have chronic
personal conflicts, this allows them to be separated. For product delivery, it may be
necessary to spread a mixture of knowledge, sk
ills and abilities throughout each of
the breakout groups.





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Learning Activity

1
:

Planning for a Meeting


In small groups, w
ork on the following scenarios:


Consider the purpose, agenda, invitees, roles, decision
-
making strategy, the room, food,
prepar
ation, follow
-
up, additional stakeholders…


Note:
The
actual
details are less important in this exercise than the thinking that goes into
them. If you adjust one thing, how does it affect the others?


We will share your recommendations with the class.


1.

L
abour negotiations


Union and management representatives will be meeting to
renegotiate the contract that is set to expire. What would be the implications of
having a facilitator run the meetings? How would the parties decide on a facilitator?
What would
the scope of authority be for the facilitator? How would this be
different than a mediator? How would the meetings differ if the parties are on good
terms versus tense terms? In a potential strike situation? Where would the meetings
be held, and what would

be required of the facilities?




2.

A staff person has just been fired or suspended


Should there be a meeting? If so,
what roles would a leader and/or facilitator play in a team or all
-
staff meeting?
What would the purpose of the meeting be, and how would

it be achieved? Who
should be invited? How would the room be arranged? How would the
considerations vary if the person was fired for insubordination, laziness or failure to
fulfil duties, discriminatory or other inappropriate behaviour with colleagues or
clients? What if the organization has under 12 staff versus over 50? What if the
person who left was a volunteer instead of an employee?




3.

Multiple agencies are partnering on a Trillium Foundation application and they
have not worked together closely on o
ther projects


Who should attend the
meetings? Should there be a facilitator or a leader to run the meeting? How would
the person(s) be selected? What decision
-
making approach will you use and how
will it be determined? Who would establish the purpose, th
e agenda, run the
meeting, conduct the follow up? What are the considerations for the organization
that will host the meeting? How will expenses be handled?




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The Art and Skill of Effective Facilitation


What is facilitation?

A facilitated session is a str
uctured meeting. The goal and responsibility of a facilitator is to
provide the atmosphere, tools and techniques that allows a good session to occur.

Simply
put, they help people talk to each other
.

What are the reasons we have meetings?


To share informa
tion;

To make decisions

To divvy up the work

To build commitment


The

V
alue of
F
acilitated
M
eetings


Facilitation provides

the opportunity to create an organizational environment where the full
contribution of each and every member of the group is allowed
, encouraged and supported.
I
t provides the organization with a
natural
capability to tap into the hidden potential of all
employees
or all group members
and enables the organization to create a new culture
of:



involvement that encourages people to partici
pate actively and to think creatively.



positive management where people are involved in problem solving and decision
making.



ownership where people see themselves as partners and have a strong sense of
responsibility and commitment to their organization.



i
ntegrity where trust is built and nurtured through an open

and caring flow of
information.

What’s the difference between a chair and a facilitator?


The roles of a chair and a facilitator have distinctive differences, although their work does
overlap.


A c
hair is usually chosen because of his or her higher status within the organization. The
chair is involved in the business of the meeting, can control what is allowed on the agenda
,

usually speaks a lot, and has a personal interest in the outcome.


Whereas
a facilitator is at best someone who is neutral without a stake in the outcome of
the meeting. A facilitator is more objective with status on an equal level with participants.
A facilitator listens more th
a
n they speak.



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Learning Activity

2
:


Reflection
--
-

Can I Facilitate?


Here are a few questions to help you answer that question. Only

you
can answer these
questions and there's no right or wrong answer, so you can't fail! Your honest answers will
help you determine whether or not you would be comfortable

facilitating.

1.

Are you willing to listen to others without
judgment

or preconceived notions about
what they should or shouldn't say or do?

2.

Do you show respect for the opinions of others even when they disagree with you?

3.

Can you release the need to have com
plete control of a conversation or other
situations?

4.

Are you comfortable dealing with conflict?

5.

Are you comfortable speaking in public?

6.

Are you able to laugh at yourself?

7.

Can you think on your feet?

8.

Do you believe that groups working together are smarter t
han individuals working
alone?

9.

Can you accept feedback from others about yourself?


Facilitation Overview


Answering

yes

to a majority of these questions indicates that you would be comfortable in
the role of facilitator. All of these traits can be learn
ed and improved and the facilitation
process itself will expand them in you.


If you answered
no

to any of these questions, don't be discouraged. It means these are the
areas in which you'll need to change some things about yourself like a belief, an attit
ude, or
an action. Can you change? Of course
!

We did. You can too. Go for it!

T
he most important job of a facilitator is to protect the
process
of those being facilitated.
The process is

how

the group goes about accomplishing their task. The problem or con
tent
is
what

they're working on.


In studies comparing the working styles of high performance and low performance groups,
the only significant, observable difference was the percentage of time the group members
dedicated to the
process

they were involved
in. More than 10 percent of the statements
made by high performance group members referred to
how

they were going about it:



How should we go about this?

What should we do next?

What do we need to do this?



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Should we stop or continue?

Who do we need to tal
k to?


Less than one percent of the statements made by low performance group members referred
to the
process
. Ninety
-
nine percent of their focus was on the
content

of the problem itself.

The facilitator is the

protector

of the process. The facilitator's to
ol kit is a set of techniques,
knowledge, and experience which they apply to protect the process the group is working
through. The facilitator helps to create the process, adjust it, keep it heading in the right
direction, and most importantly, keeps the p
eople attached to it.


A F
acilitator is
M
any
T
hings
:



A consultant who designs work sessions with a specific focus or intent.



An advisor to bringing out the full potential of working groups.



A provider of processes, tools and techniques that can get work ac
complished
quickly and effectively in a group environment.



A person who keeps a group meeting on track.



Someone who helps resolve conflict.



Someone who draws out participation from everyone.



Someone who organizes the work of a group.



Someone who makes sure

that the goals are met.



Someone who provides structure to the work of a group.



Someone who protects the work of a group from the overhead of a group

Facilitation is achieving a balance between achieving the task and managing the process.


What a Facilitat
or Isn't

There's an interloper afoot in the world of facilitation! This netherworld figure has been
spotted lurking near flip chart easels around the globe. You can't spot them from a distance,
because they hold the magic marker well and can rip a flip cha
rt sheet clean at the top
every
time
. However, this imposter, this wolf in sheep's clothing,
the Manipulator in Facilitator's
clothing
, can be detected immediately anywhere near a fresh flow of ideas. Signs to watch
and listen for are:



Changing the wording

of a participant.



Refusal to record an idea (looks tired, got distracted, too many ideas coming at
once).



Getting involved in the content of the group work.



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Fixing the group (even in the most loving way!)



Fixing the problem for the group.



Attaching to out
comes.



Judging comments of the group, liking some ideas better than others.



Flip flopping the agenda and work processes.



Manipulating people and behaviors through their own feedback.



Monopolizing conversation.



Taking sides on issues or people.



Being closed

to group suggestions on the process.



Trying to have all the answers. Taking on the expert role.

Some sub
-
species of this imposter are quite strong and come and go by their own design,
but many of these poor, hapless creatures are created by those around t
hem. They're created
by becoming facilitators without the training and experience they need. They're created by
being facilitators who aren't willing to work on their own personal character development
every day. They're created by overworking a good facil
itator. They're created by being
outside of their area of specialty and, they're created by people pushing them into situations
where they aren't objective.

All facilitators can be temporarily transformed into this lower element by walking into the
wrong
condition, so it's important for facilitators to know enough to turn a session down.

How are the participants different in a facilitated meeting?



They are engaged



They look alive



They feel free to provide opinions and their ideas



They feel safe

Can the

bos
s or the

Board
chairperson

act as the
facilitator
?

In active, expert facilitation, the leader hires the facilitator to design and conduct one or
more problem
-
solving sessions. The facilitator's responsibility is to provide a session that
will produce produ
cts that the team leader needs at this point in the overall mission. The
problem being worked and the content of the session is still
owned

by the team leader.


Typically, the leader has chosen a facilitated session so that he or she can participate with
the group, playing a peer
-
level role instead of the management role. Sometimes the team
leader will have hired the facilitator to encourage a more open exchange of ideas or faster
paced, interactive work than is possible on a day
-
to
-
day basis.

However
,

mo
re managers are using a facilitative leadership style in their day to day work

and find that it is an effective tool for participative management.




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What’s the role of an expert?

An expert often needs to retain social distance between him/herself and the gr
oup.
Sometimes the worst things that can happen to an expert is that someone asks a question
that he or she does not know the answer to.

Other Roles that Can be Assumed in Meetings


Y
ou can separate some of the facilitator's tasks off into separate roles,
for support and to
make your task easier! For example:


Recorder/Notetaker

takes down the key decisions, who's going to do what, and by
when.

Timekeeper

keeps an eye on the clock and points out when the allotted time for an
agenda item is running out.

D
oorkeeper

meets and greets people on the way in, and checks they know the
purpose and process of the meeting. Especially important for making new people
feel welcome, and bringing latecomers up to speed without interrupting the
meeting.

Vibeswatcher

watch
es the vibe of the meeting to note tension rising, lack of focus,
flagging energy etc. By suggesting times for breaks, games, adjournments or UN
Peacekeeping, a vibeswatcher can help prevent conflict or boredom. They can also
make sure the group pushes on
when things are going well. Most essential in larger
groups.

Co
-
facilitator

someone to step in and facilitate if the facilitator is flagging, or
wants to join in the discussion on an issue.


















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Process Interventions and
D
ealing with
D
ifficult
B
ehaviour;

An intervention is an interruption by the facilitator of the meeting and conversation in order
to refocus participants and and/or rebalance group interaction. The objective of an
intervention to keep the process on track and moving forward with
all participants moving
forward making the best use of time and resources. As a facilitator you want to balance
participation with meeting results.

Consider
Interventions for :

1.

Side bar conversations
-
a member of the group is having sidebar conversations
w
ith other participants during a presentation.


2.

Staying on time
-
the group has a lot to cover on their agenda but they seem to go
down rabbit holes and may veer off into other topics.



3.

Never ending discussion
-
sometimes a discussion will not come to closure
usually
because of information that is insufficient, inaccurate or unreliable. Sometimes a
topic leads to significant emotional reactions. Other times an individual may begin
to recount the same war stories and when you look around everyone is rolling thei
r
eyes.



4.

Personal attacks in a conflict
-

a group member attacks an other members of group
by taking pot shots and name calling.



5.

Many p
articipants are late coming
back
from breaks








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Learning Activity 3A:

D
irect
ing

the energies and talents of a gro
up of
individuals to a common cause.


Instructions
Have each person in the group choose a r
ole

Using the format for the meeting provided and the information you have learned from

this module, facilitate this group of your coworkers
.



Scenario


Anytown N
eighbourhood Services Agency

is holding a planning meeting
. Anytown
agency is planning to submit a proposal

f
o
r

a
new program to the provincial government
,

their major funder
.





Role A Meeting Facilitator
Andrea is new to Anytown NSA. She knows little a
bout the
agency so the meeting participants felt she would have the least to contribute so they made
her facilitator. She usually does not say anything unless asked to talk.


Role B
.
ANSA’s Executive Director
-

Chantelle. She has a

vision for the agency an
d is
driven to make it happen
.

Sometimes she can be quite talkative and forgets others may
want to talk.


Role C
Program C
o
-
ordinator
-

Ana. She feels totally overworked and does not want to
take on any new programs. She does not always pay attention to t
he discussion.


Role D Director of Programs
-
Keisha wants to discuss her concerns about whether the
proposed program is needed and
w
anted by the community. She often tries to change the
focus of the discussion to make sure her needs are met.


Role E Admini
strative Assistant
-

Ruby is angry. She often makes rude comments. She
feels no one understands her
role and her
views.






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Facilitated Group Discussion Planning Form


Type of Participants:
______________________________



Date:
_______________


Times:

Start

Time
: ____
______

End Time: _______
_
__

Location: _______________


Topic(s):
______Proposal development for new funding program___________


Meeting Objectives:


To get all participants up to speed on the new
funding program













Resources Ne
eded:


Flip Chart




Ice Breaker or Opener:







Discussion Questions:


What is the purpose of creating the new program?










Closing/Summary:


Review action plan and responsibilities






Evaluation Method:


What worked?








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SAMPLE:
Facilita
ted Group Discussion Planning Form


Type of Participants:

______________________________




Date:

_______________


Start

Time
: ____
______

End Time: _______
_
__

Location: _______________


Topic(s):
______Proposal development for new funding program_____
______



Meeting Objectives:


To get all participants up to speed on the new
funding program

To address concerns and objectives to a new
program

To develop an outline of the proposal

To have meeting participants share the workload of
drafting the proposal
for the new program

Resources Needed:


Flip chart

Program requirements


Ice Breaker or Opener:


Review agenda and objectives for the session?

What are our hopes and fears for this new program?


Discussion Questions:


What is the purpose of creating the
new program?


What are we trying to achieve? What problem are
we trying to solve.


What are the parameters of the funding program?


What intervention strategy are we proposing that
will provide support or make a difference to those
affected by the issue?


What might be the concerns about our proposed
program?


What do we need to address in our proposal?


Who can provide the information needed?


Draft action plan

Closing/Summary:


Review action plan and responsibilities

Define next steps

Follow through by
scheduling a follow up meeting
if necessary


Evaluation Method:


Ask the group:

What worked?

What didn’t work?

What should we do differently in our next meeting?






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Facilitator Self
-
Assessment Form


Did
Y
ou:


Yes / N
o

1.

F
ocus on the group’s needs?


2.

E
sta
blish ground rules?


3.

E
stablish a safe, comfortable setting?


4.

A
sk open
-
ended questions?


5.

G
uide the discussion?


6.

E
ncourage participation?


7.

F
ocus on the topic?


8.

F
ocus on feelings?


9.

Li
sten actively?


10.

C
larify

information / responses?


11.

R
espond in a re
spectful manner?


12.

C
orrect misinformation?


13.

S
ummarize?


14.

P
rovide resources?




What worked well during the session?






What did not work well during the session?






What Challenges did the Facilitator Experience?






What could have been done to imp
rove the session?






Were the meeting objectives met?


Page
22

of
24




Additional
M
aterial and
R
esources on the
F
acilitator’s
R
ole




Focus
:




It's the facilitator's job to stay out of the debate and keep discussions on track. An un
-
focused meeting quickly becomes ine
fficient and frustrating.



1. Separate yourself (as facilitator) from the discussion. Try not to add content to the
discussion. As facilitator, your role is to focus on the process. If you know that you have a
strong personal stake in the issue at hand,
find another person to facilitate the discussion. If
you give any personal input, start by saying, "Stepping out of my facilitator role..." Its
important that people do not give your opinion more weight because you are acting as
facilitator.



2. Keep the

issue clear and manageable. Start the discussion with a time for "clarifying
questions". This is a time for people to make sure that they understand the issues/proposals,
instead of in the middle of a discussion. Break any large, complicated issues/propos
al into
smaller parts. Post the agenda and/or steps in the decision where everyone can see it.



3. Help ensure that people stick to the issue. Keep a "parallel agenda" if unrelated issues
come up. Jot down notes of the concern. Later, you can address it
quickly, or pass it to a
committee, table to a future meeting, etc.



4. Help speakers to keep from repeating points that have already been made. Write points
on a large pad of newsprint or a blackboard.


5. Keep the meeting moving. Be aware of time. Set

time limits for each agenda item.


Work
with the a time keeper. Remind people how much time remains. If you run out of time,
have members either extend the time limit or set another time to continue the discussion. If
you extend the time, have the members

decide if the meeting will go longer or what will be
tabled for another time.








Page
23

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24



Participation
:


It's the facilitator's job recognize speakers and to get everyone involved. The more points of
view expressed, and then addressed, the stronger final decis
ions can be. Everyone has valid
opinions. Everyone can have creative solutions.


1. Recognize speakers
-
that is, call on people to speak in turn. Keep a speaker "stack." Write
down people's names as they raise their hands. Call on people to speak from that

list. Using
a stack, people may not get to speak at the exact moment that they want (it could be 5 min

l
ater!). The advantage is, it's fair.


2. Make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak. "Round Robin": Go around the circle
giving each person a brie
f chance to speak uninterrupted. Ask questions to prompt quiet
members to speak. Break the discussion group down into smaller groups so that it's less
intimidating. Try to have everyone speak once before anyone speaks a second time. Clarify
the issue under

discussion.


3. Encourage everyone to speak their mind. If someone seems to be holding back, ask them
what's up. Give people easy ways to participate. Ask the group a question and have people
show "thumbs." Thumbs up: agreed or in favor; down disagreed o
r against; to the side,
unsure or neutral.


4. Encourage creativity
--
especially when discussions get stuck. Hold "brainstorms" where
everyone adds to a list of ideas without any evaluation; The group can discuss certain ideas
after

the brainstorm.



Posi
tive Attitudes
:


It's the facilitator's role to set the meeting's tone. Good meetings are relaxed, organized,
friendly and fun!


1. Keep discussions from getting too heated. Call/schedule a break! It reduces tension and
renews energy.


2. Give positive f
eedback
and say
"thanks."


3. Discourage non
-
constructive feedback and criticism. Ask people to stop negative
responses such as shaking heads, "tsk, tsk", whispering to others, side comments, etc.


4. Refer to points and proposals by titles, not the name
s of the person who presented them.
Use the catchy phrase "ideas, not names!" Remind people that it is the idea, not the person,
that is important to the issue.


5. Make the space comfortable. Show up early and arrange the room.






Page
24

of
24




Pulling it all togeth
er
:



It's the facilitator's role to bring clarity before the group makes a decision. This is often the
hardest part of the facilitating, and one of the most important.


1. Sum up what's been said

in voting, points of opposing proposals; in consensus, poi
nts to
be addressed and solutions. Use a blackboard or newsprint to list points of the proposal(s).
Review important points of the discussion (on paper, or orally). This way the group can see
how the decision(s) has been reached.


2. Know if/when a decisi
on can not be made
--
the people may need more facts, opinions
from others, time to think, etc. Ask members what they need/want to feel comfortable
making a decision.


3. Make sure everyone understands the decision. Restate the decision. Ask for group
appro
val. Make sure that the recorder writes it down exactly.





References
:



A Quick Reference Guide For Facilitators

Ontario Ministry of Rural A
ffairs

www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/r
ural/facts/95
-
073.htm



Basic Facilitation Primer

by the International Association of Facilitators

www.iaf
-
world.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3387