Here are tips on how to run a to structure a facilitated meeting or training session, all designed to strengthen your facilitation techniques.
1. Structure the session
Ensure each attendee has a clear purpose of what the session aims to achieve. This can be done at the beginning of the session, or for best results - before the session, send out the aims to each attendee.
2. Clarify your role
As a facilitator you will need to clarify your role in your own mind, as well as clarifying to the group. A facilitator best serves the group when they draw out ideas from the attendees, rather than offer their own. So a key thing to get straight is - are you going to contribute ideas or simply facilitate ideas from the group?
3. To scribe or not to scribe?
You may need to appoint a separate note taker to capture notes and actions from the session. As a facilitator you may be able to do this, however it is best that you appoint someone else to capture notes/actions. That said, it is useful for you to capture things on flip-charts a facilitator, whilst the note taker captures specific actions.
4. Timing and structure
Ensure you explain how long things will take. Remind the group of the planned approach and aims at regular intervals to ensure each attendee is clear. It is often better to have a shorter time to complete a discussion to focus minds and attention than longer periods.
Remember to summarise the agreed actions from the group. In many cases it is best to get one of the attendees to summarise the actions, to ensure that they are involved.
6. Be the silent observer
Instead of offering suggestions to the group, play the role of a silent observer, listening to their ideas rather than offering your own. This way the group will not turn to you for information or ideas, and will instead come up with their own. This is particularly important when you are the team leader/manager.
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