Facilitators with great group facilitation skills enable people in groups to have useful dialogue about a problem because they maintain objectivity. This is especially helpful where the conversation is difficult and the group needs to achieve consensus about how to move forward.
As a result, in both business and personal situations, group facilitation skills often help to manage conflict
. Facilitation is important because it helps people to move forward in a way that enables all stakeholders to feel heard. In terms of facilitation basics
for facilitating large groups it is important to understand the skills needed to facilitate. The foundation of these skills is in great communication.
In particular, good facilitators
are great listeners. The ability to listen helps them identify the key points that cause unrest and enables them to be addressed constructively. Facilitators need to be comfortable discussing topics they do not know much about, while using their facilitation techniques to guide the conversation towards a productive outcome. This requires confidence and expertise. Flexibility is also an important skill of a facilitator, as is the ability to think on your feet
, because the approach you need to take could change at any time.
One way to improve your facilitation skills is to present lots of questions to your group. This can aid you and everyone else in the room to understand the problem. It also encourages early communication, which increases the chance of success of the meeting. Ask your group to share what they think can improve facilitation. And identify who is not taking part and try to understand why. This helps improve your facilitation skills because you may then discover an underlying aspect of the problem that needs to be addressed.
But it’s not enough to simply ‘listen to respond’. Learning to truly listen to others and understand their meaning is a helpful way to improve your skills.
The benefits of group facilitation skills
There are many benefits to good facilitation skills. Talented facilitators
are good problem solvers. They are able to help others really get to the bottom of an issue, to address the cause at its root. This can help businesses move forward with projects, and people move forward in their relationships. Effective facilitation helps people feel that they have had a chance to contribute to the plan for moving forward.
Additionally, a plan is usually developed for progress during a facilitation meeting, which is a benefit in itself. People often feel positive about an externally facilitated meeting and more motivated to take the next steps. External facilitators have no baggage, no axe to grind and crucially no preconceptions of the group.
We are firm believers in the value of group facilitation skills. We offer a Facilitation Basics
course which introduces different techniques to help you facilitate meetings more effectively. If speed is of the essence however, Rapid Consensus™
is an essential part of your facilitation skills toolkit. And if creativity is key to your success, you’ll find none better than the world famous Six Thinking Hats®
from Dr Edward de Bono
. If on the other hand you feel that an external facilitator
would best suit your needs, contact us for details about our team of highly talented facilitators.