Hilde Nicasi shares her preferred tips for successful facilitation sessions
What is it?
A facilitator is a guide that helps people move through a process together and ensure that the voice of group members is heard. This means a facilitator isn't there to give opinions, but to draw out opinions and ideas of the group members.
Who uses it?
This emerging skill is important for all professionals who are involved in team work. So whether you are a talent developer, a manager, a project manager, you chair meetings or are working with people from different departments …, this skill can be very useful to get the most out of business discussions.
When to use?
· improve how a group works together to generate new ideas
· identify and solve problems
· take decisions, build consensus for hard-to-reach agreement
· handle conflict, find synergies
Hilde Nicasi’s preferred facilitating skills
- Preparation : Prepare well, including self-preparation, learning environment, the content (especially if you are not familiar with the subject) and getting to know the specific goal. Most skilled facilitators spend about 3 to 4 times as long preparing for a session than the amount of time they spend on giving the actual session.
- Involvement: Keep participants engaged throughout the session by including a variety of learning experiences, such as asking the right questions (open ended questions that stimulate discussion), role plays, practice exercises, and opportunities for participants to share their experiences and learn from one another. Consider designing a session with activities that appeal to different personality types.
- Focus : Manage disfunction that occurs when a participant expresses displeasure with the purpose, content, method, or other factors and apply group problem-solving techniques (defining the problem again, asking for advantages and disadvantages of solutions …). Try to push for concrete guidelines. If someone says “be respectful,” ask them what respect would look like and how we would all know if we saw it. This is also a good way to talk about focus—especially smartphone etiquette—and other distractions that might pull the meeting off track.
- Connection : Use a participative style that encourages participants to actively contribute by creating a safe and comfortable atmosphere in which group members are willing to share their feelings and opinions. I’ll frequently have a group share their motivations for why they care about the work at hand, allowing them to build commonalities.
Progress Consulting offers professional facilitators to play this role, and we also offer “Train the Facilitator” training to help you get the most out of your business discussions, meetings, or creative sessions.