WHAT IS FACILITATION?
Facilitation is a method of helping meetings run smoother and be more productive through the assistance of a neutral third party, the facilitator. During a facilitated meeting, the facilitator provides guidance on the process, while the group members are responsible for the meeting content and any decision-making. The facilitator helps the group clarify its objectives and achieve resolution by structuring a process that minimizes conflict and maximizes group functioning. Facilitation therefore helps to foster a cooperative environment so that the meeting can stay on track and run efficiently. During a facilitated meeting, all participants will be able to exchange information, express expectations and propose solutions for reaching resolution. The facilitator will support this process by helping participants communicate clearly and appropriately, and talk through their differences. Facilitation helps group members achieve a mutually satisfying outcome, allowing the group to fulfill its purpose and reach its goals.
WHO IS THE FACILITATOR?
The facilitator is the “process” person. This means that the person will not contribute towards the content of the meeting, but instead, will help design a process that will enable the participants to accomplish the identified purpose and outcomes desired by the participants.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A FACILITATOR?
Prior to the meeting, the facilitator works with the key participants to:
- Identify the purpose and outcomes of the meeting
- Plan an Agenda for the meeting and plan activities
- Coordinate the meeting logistics, design the room layout, and set-up the meeting room and any equipment
During the meeting, the facilitator:
- Ensures that everyone has an opportunity to participate
- Manages challenging behavior that is disruptive to the meeting
- Keeps the group focused on the Agenda issues and the discussion on point
- Helps to resolve conflict and build consensus
- Starts and ends the meeting on time
- Records the thoughts and ideas of the group
Following the meeting, the facilitator:
- Collects all meeting documentation and materials
- Compiles the meeting notes and/or report
- Provides the compiled notes to the coordinator for distribution to all meeting participants
HOW DO I FIND A FACILITATOR FOR MY NEXT MEETING?
If past meetings have a history of going too long, accomplishing little and/or causing tempers to flare, then consider using a facilitator for your next meeting. A properly facilitated meeting is well-designed, efficient, interactive, gains participant commitment, and can lead to better results.
Contact the Mediation Center at 521-6767, at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting. It is important to call in advance to make sure the facilitator has adequate time to become familiar with the group’s issues, speak with key participants and plan a process that will work best to meet the needs of the group.
For more information about facilitation services, please see the Mediation Center’s Access ADR webpage by clicking here.