"to free from difficulties or obstacles; make easier, aid, assist."
The role of the facilitator - to design and coordinate a process that helps a group accomplish, while optimizing group functioning
The facilitator is a neutral guide who takes an active role in guiding the process while adhering to principles of effective facilitation.
Facilitate.. The role of the facilitator is to coordinate the exchange by prescribing procedural steps, initiating and guiding discussion and by adjusting procedures during a workshop to fit the personal, cultural and professional characteristics of participants
Characteristics of a good facilitator 1. Enjoy working with , and helping people to feel good about themselves and achieve their desired results; 2. Ability to analyze comments, understand how they relate to the topic, and develop appropriate responses; 3. Communicate clearly by making specific, concise points, using appropriate levels of energy to build excitement and enthusiasm; 4. Practice active listening by engaging a speaker, listening attentively, and asking probing questions; 5. Convey warmth to others by using smiles, praises, and gestures in one-on-one and group interactions; 6. Demonstrate self-confidence and leadership when working with others, being the person others look to for direction and counsel; 7. Have a business-orientation with an interest in finding methods to improve the way things are done, looking beyond the narrow focus of a job to the greater scope of the business.
Use tools and techniques to create a participative environment e.g. ice breakers, games, activities using drawings, diagrams, role play, discussions in pairs, small groups etc
Creating an atmosphere of trust, confidence and support
Promoting empowerment of participants, and being able to let go and trust the group
Transferring a sense of ownership and responsibility to the participants
Exercise effective listening
Use micro facilitation skills to move discussion to a desired conclusion (example, paraphrasing)
Use tools and techniques for analysis, problem solving, generating creative solutions, prioritizing and decision making
Communicating verbally (including making presentations) and in writing.
Habits of a good facilitator Habit #1 : Be Proactive. Take responsibility. Habit #2: Begin With The End In Mind. Decide first what the outcome of the workshop should be. Habit # 3 : Put First Things First. Preparation and logistics are as important as the process; Habit #4: Think Win/Win. Seek solutions so everyone wins; Habit #5: Seek First to Understand. Listen until you understand; Habit #6 : Synergize. Cooperate creatively. Create a climate where people can “speak out”; Habit #7 is Renewal. Facilitation is like golf – you always have something to learn (stay humble).
“ If the cat meows, again, I’ll have to put him outside.”
“ It was her friendly smile that made me walk up and say ‘Hey’.”
“ If only he had come home on time, the party wouldn’t have gotten out of control.”
“ People have always given me more to do than I can handle.”
“ P.R. people are always easy-going.”
“ Stop watching so closely, and listen to me.”
“ Not only you can learn this.”
“ Either she goes crazy or I do.”
“ First the winds came then the rain.”
“ Opera makes me want to cry.”
The language of influence Mind Reading: Claiming to know the thoughts or feelings of another without specifying the process by which you came to know the info. • "I know that you are wondering..."
The language of influence Lost Per formative: Value judgments where the performer of the value judgment is left out. • "And it’s a good thing to wonder..."
The language of influence Complex Equivalence: Where two things are equated - as in their meanings being equivalent. • "That means..."
Ask participants to state their names, area of responsibility, years with the company, expectations for the session, and a one-word description of themselves. Write the expectations on a flip chart; keep a running total of the of years of experience.
Purpose: a low risk introduction to use when the group is first getting together; provides participants with basic information; gives group a sense of the group's total experience level; gives the facilitator insight into what to expect.
Pair up the participants, preferably with people they don't know. Ask participants to interview each other on several topics: name, title, expected contribution to the session, family, home, hobbies, interests. Each interviewer introduces his partner to the group;
Purpose: a fun, non-threatening way to get participants to open up more and to get to know each other on many levels, including non-work areas; especially useful if the group is going to meet over a long period of time; encourages individuals to put "skin in the game" during the session by focusing on what they bring to the table.
Ask participants to share an observation about a previous session - something they learned, a question, a metaphor to describe their feelings, or a symbol that describes the progress of the group;
Purpose: a way to build on relationships, provide continuity between sessions, check for understanding, demonstrate expertise, provide insight into how participants are feeling and relating to each other.
Ensure that in any icebreaker, game, exercise you have the participants engage in has a purpose and that you emphasize that point when the exercise is complete. Most people don’t feel they have time for games.
The materials and equipment that you need will depend on the methods that you use. Some will be needed for preparation (e.g. computer, printer and photocopiers) and others during the workshop itself. No list of these things would ever be complete but here are some ideas for starters - you can brainstorm and categorize your own checklist!
“ There is no use trying,” said Alice. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll