Group Facilitation

I am offering to facilitate your group or to lead training in facilitation using these and other principles.

The first principle of group facilitation is inclusivity. A good facilitator can ensure that everyone in the group feels included in discussions and decisions. This leads to warm feelings of connection and community in the group. It also leads to wise decisions as the group is wiser than the individual, being able to refer to a wider pool of experience.

Regulations governing the running of non-profits and strata councils call for annual general meetings at which leaders are elected. One person becomes chair and it is assumed that this person can competently facilitate meetings without any training. All to often this innocently leads to dysfunctional, acrimonious boards and councils making unfortunate decisions.

In most groups there is a variation in the speed at which people speak. The faster speakers inadvertently dominate while the slower speakers feel sidelined. A speakers list can level this playing field. Not everybody is good at speaking succinctly and to the point and meetings can go way over-time leading to feelings of frustration and impatience. A facilitator, using a timed agenda, can help people stay on track and on time. Then all participants leave meetings feeling satisfied with what has been accomplished and energized by the meeting. Creative problem solving requires that problems be clearly defined before solutions are introduced.

The facilitator is the process police, staying out of the content to focus on the process, ensuring that it is democratic, inclusive and effective. This role is the same whether the process is concensus, Robert’s Rules or something else. It can even work where one person is responsible for decisions, provided that this person is not facilitating.

Using I-statements is important grounding when making interventions as a facilitator. e.g. Consider the different outcomes from saying, “I feel concerned about the time…” versus, “You are talking too much.”

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