Easy Pieces for Facile Facilitators, #1 and #2
We’re exploring guidelines for effective facilitation, and the first guideline is deceptively simple.
1. Be Prepared
Don’t wait for the event to get ready. Put in the time and energy up front, so that when you begin, you can give voice to a clear objective for the group. Also, if at all possible, know walking in what methods and models you will use with the group, and how you will frame your use of them so the individuals in the group have a basic understanding of what you’re doing.
Why is it deceptively simple? Because all too often, a facilitator makes the faulty assumption that the less they know going in, the more open they’ll be to what happens. But the fact is, not knowing in advance can cost a lot of time and energy, and saying and doing something inappropriate and preventable can produce complexity and conflict. Be prepared!
2. Get It Going
As a facilitator, you must successfully set the tone for the meeting from the outset. You can do this by establishing the ground rules for the meeting up front, and make certain you have understanding and agreement before going further.
It’s also helpful to have the group’s objective written someplace clearly visible throughout the meeting. This becomes a central point of reference for you if the meeting seems to be going off track, or individuals seem to be at a different meeting!
It’s also a great idea to get people focused and moving by calling on someone specific right out of the gate. If the person you pick isn’t ready to go, or seems reluctant to speak, acknowledge and move on by calling on someone else as quickly as possible.
More in this series coming next week! Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your comments and stories.