Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Successful Facilitation

When major disagreements arise within an organization, a facilitator is sometimes needed to help work things out. A facilitator is one who works with a group of people to help make it easier to resolve a situation. Facilitation is very beneficial because issues are discussed thoroughly. Problems are often solved at the root level–not just on the surface. Team members are able to discuss and create plans as experts.

During each facilitation meeting, there is always a clear direction or objective. There is a lot less “rabbit chasing” and a more focused approach to the topic. The facilitator works to involve everyone into the conversation. The facilitator also ensures that all decisions are carried out and supported after the meeting has ended.

The facilitator’s role during each session is important to keep everything on track. He or she must have strong communication skills and the ability to expose the real issue at hand while remaining neutral. Negotiation skills are a must when coming to a consensus with which everyone can agree. Patience is a virtue when it comes to facilitation. He or she must avoid going for the quick solution to the surface problem rather than dealing with the root problem. Keeping balance during the meeting is necessary so that everyone’s voice can be heard and not attacked. He or she must be prepared to guide the meeting with a plan and structure.

There are also a few things, however, that can lead to a facilitator’s downfall or discredibility.
  • Allowing people to run over each other
  • Forgetting to verify group’s decision
  • Showing a lack of active listening
  • Pushing his/her own opinions
  • Ridiculing ideas and options
  • Demonstrating no assertiveness
  • Discussing a topic too long
  • Making jokes on very serious topics
Read this great article by Keith Mathis for PM Hut.

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