Chapter 16 Sections Section 1. Conducting Effective Meetings Section 2. Developing Facilitation Skills Section 3. Techniques for Leading Group Discussions. The Tool Box needs your help to remain available. Toggle navigation Chapter Sections. Section 1. Main Section Checklist PowerPoint. Learn how to plan well, keep members involved, and create real leadership opportunities in your organization and skills in your members. What are facilitation skills?
Why do you need facilitation skills?
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How do you facilitate? How do you plan a good facilitation process? Facilitating a meeting or planning session: What's it all about? Facilitator skills and tips Dealing with disrupters: Preventions and interventions What are facilitation skills? Well, it is and it isn't. Facilitation has three basic principles: A facilitator is a guide to help people move through a process together, not the seat of wisdom and knowledge. That means a facilitator isn't there to give opinions, but to draw out opinions and ideas of the group members.
This includes things like: Making sure everyone feels comfortable participating Developing a structure that allows for everyone's ideas to be heard Making members feel good about their contribution to the meeting Making sure the group feels that the ideas and decisions are theirs, not just the leader's.
Supporting everyone's ideas and not criticizing anyone for what they've said. Can anyone learn to facilitate a meeting? To put it another way, facilitating actually means: Understanding the goals of the meeting and the organization Keeping the group on the agenda and moving forward Involving everyone in the meeting, including drawing out the quiet participants and controlling the domineering ones Making sure that decisions are made democratically How do you plan a good facilitation process?
In planning a good meeting process, a facilitator focuses on: Climate and Environment Logistics and Room Arrangements Ground Rules A good facilitator will make plans in each of these areas in advance. Climate and Environment There are many factors that impact how safe and comfortable people feel about interacting with each other and participating.
Key questions you would ask yourself as a facilitator include: Is the location a familiar place, one where people feel comfortable? Face it, if you're planning to have an interactive meeting sitting around a conference table in the Mayor's office, some of your folks might feel intimidated and out of their environment. A comfortable and familiar location is key. Is the meeting site accessible to everyone? If not, have you provided for transportation or escorts to help people get to the site?
Psychologically, if people feel that the site is too far from them or in a place they feel is "dangerous," it may put them off from even coming.
If they do come, they may arrive with a feeling that they were not really wanted or that their needs were not really considered. This can put a real damper on communication and participation. Another reminder: can handicapped people use the site as well? Is the space the right size? Too large? Too small? If you're wanting to make a planning group feel that it's a team, a large meeting hall for only 10 or 15 people can feel intimidating and make people feel self-conscious and quiet. On the other hand, if you're taking a group of 30 folks through a meeting, a small conference room where people are uncomfortably crunched together can make for disruption: folks shifting in their seats, getting up to stretch and get some air.
This can cause a real break in the mood and feeling of your meeting or planning session. You want folks to stay focused and relaxed. Moral: choose a room size that matches the size of your group. Logistics and Room Arrangements Believe it or not: how people sit, whether they are hungry and whether they can hear can make or break your planning process. Some things to consider are: Chair arrangements: Having chairs in a circle or around a table encourages discussion, equality, and familiarity.
Speaker's podiums and lecture style seating make people feel intimidated and formal. Avoid them at all costs. Places to hang newsprint: You may be using a lot of newsprint or other board space during your meeting. Can you use tape without damaging the walls? Is an easel available?
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Is there enough space so that you can keep important material visible instead of removing it? Sign-In sheet: Is there a table for folks to use? Refreshments: Grumbling stomachs will definitely take folks minds off the meeting. If you're having refreshments, who is bringing them? Do you need outlets for coffee pots? Can you set things up so folks can get food without disrupting the meeting?
And who's cleaning up afterwards? Microphones and audio visual equipment: Do you need a microphone?here
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Video cameras? Can someone set up and test the equipment before you start? Ground Rules Most meetings have some kind of operating rules. Common ground rules are: One person speaks at a time Raise your hand if you have something to say Listen to what other people are saying No mocking or attacking other people's ideas Be on time coming back from breaks if it's a long meeting Respect each other A process to develop ground rules is: Begin by telling folks that you want to set up some ground rules that everyone will follow as we go through our meeting.
Put a blank sheet of newsprint on the wall with the heading "Ground Rules. If no one says anything, start by putting one up yourself. That usually starts people off. Write any suggestions up on the newsprint.
It's usually most effective to "check -in" with the whole group before you write up an idea "Sue suggested raising our hands if we have something to say. Is that O. When you are finished, ask the group if they agree with these Ground Rules and are willing to follow them. Make sure you get folks to actually say "Yes" out loud. It makes a difference! Facilitating a meeting or planning session As we've already said, the facilitator is responsible for providing a "safe" climate and working atmosphere for the meeting.
Welcome everyone Make a point to welcome everyone who comes. Make introductions There are lots of ways for people to introduce themselves to each other that are better than just going around the room. Some key questions you can ask members to include in their introductions are: How did you first get involved with our organization? Then, have each pair introduce each other to the group. This helps to get strangers acquainted and for people to feel safe--they already know at least one other person, and didn't have to share information directly in front of a big group at the beginning of the meeting.
Form small groups and have each of them work on a puzzle. Have them introduce themselves to their group before they get to work.