What Makes a Good Facilitator?
A great facilitator endorses group work through a defined mechanism and makes the required choices in the time available to reach common objectives. A successful facilitator helps participants to realize that the collective is in charge, that their business is being carried out, and in a manner that encourages each person to play a role. He or she discusses ways to help those around them to step forward and use resources, but makes no choices for the group; rather facilitates decision making.
An Objective Perspective
The strongest discussions are those where people feel relaxed, feeling that they are accepted and supported by their views. A neutral zone is established by an impartial representative where alternative points of view can be discussed and addressed in a constructive way. This is important for motivating a positive, fruitful dialogue. If a boss wants to organize a discussion on some problem where the attendees feel awkward, or if they share an opinion different from the team leader’s, this can be a problematic situation.
There is nothing like a biased facilitator who leads a planned end to the dialogue. If the topic being addressed is delicate, complicated, or heated, the best solution to prevent the discussion from being a total waste of time could be to have an unbiased facilitator lead the debate.
Facilitation can require a lot of mental time; meaning that when facilitating, critical and creative thinking is of the essence. If you want to become a successful facilitator, neutrality and open-mindedness are essential. You can of course always improve your skills with online courses for facilitation.
Sensitivity to Individuals’ Emotions
The formation and preservation of an environment of confidence and consideration involve an understanding of how individuals react to both the issues under debate and others’ views and reactions. Many individuals do not communicate their discomfort, bruised feelings, or even frustration; instead, they secretly withdraw from the interaction and sometimes from the group.
A vital facilitation capability is to sense how individuals feel and understand how to react to a specific situation, ensuring they do not let out their frustrations on others.
In every group, the whole is larger than the bits, and the “chemistry” of the group normally represents typical feelings: eagerness, restlessness, frustration, dissatisfaction, excitement, scepticism, or even silliness. For skillful facilitation, perceiving and reacting to the dynamic of the community is necessary. When someone else has approached you to facilitate an operation, ensure that you properly advise him or her as to the final design of the event to ensure that all members are well informed, hence better decision making.
Acute and active attention, both to the clear nature of language and also to their sound and implied meaning, is one way the facilitator begins to sense the emotions of individuals. A successful facilitator employs “active listening”, where he or she may quote, outline, or respond specifically to what the speaker said to ensure that the audience interpreted the meaning of the speaker correctly. This is particularly important if the speaker is unsure or the team becomes territorial.
- In certain group process, an open conversation, well facilitated, might be the easiest alternative. But ask yourself how you can generate the engagement you need to handle the dialogue with the number of persons participating in this process.
- There is need for an acute attention to sense the emotions of team members.
Recognize when a person lifts their hand to let them know that they have been heard and designated. Eye communication is essential; it provides a bond between the facilitator and the participants. It helps the facilitator to read faces to understand whether someone is confused, restless or unhappy, and should be called upon to answer. Eye contact helps to keep the truth of the meeting concentrated on everybody and hence increases your listening ability actively and acutely.
Perhaps, for the sake of the party, the facilitator must take unpleasant acts or say inappropriate stuff. It is important to have the capacity to do so diplomatically. Examples include a group debate dominated by one individual or a group of silent participants. The facilitator will find a way to motivate the team, using subtle tact, so everyone can contribute and get the best out of the workshop. A participant will also ask a question, then ramble on to finally answer his own question.
When they’re off track and ask how their argument coincides into the agenda item being debated, it is fine to politely interrupt others. If it doesn’t, tell them where it will be interacted with or write it in the “parking structure.”
This is where subsequent consideration is focused on things and suggestions that are not immediately applicable. A tactful, early implementation of ground rules improves the position of the facilitator and makes everybody more self-disciplined. You need to recognize when to take a leading role.
Leading and Monitoring the Meeting
Set up rules; rules should be followed in the meeting by participants. How can individuals communicate? How are you going to ensure that individuals value each other’s ideas? How are the issues going to be handled? In advance, you can prepare certain ground rules and suggest and obtain consensus on them at the beginning of the case. Set the scene. You can run through the priorities and agenda here. Make sure everybody knows their position and what the community aims to accomplish.
Neutral Facilitator Position
While you are adopting a neutral position as the facilitator, you need to be aware, listen carefully, and be interested and committed. Listen, participate and include. For other participants, this sets a clear precedent, which also means you are still able to intervene in facilitation forms. Is everybody engaged? How would you get them to be, if not? How do you achieve greater involvement? Track checkpoints and summarize. Keep the agenda in check, remind people what they have done and what is next.
- You ought to make sure everybody presents themselves, or maybe use good icebreakers to get the session off to a solid start.
- Make sure individuals stay focused and involved.
Collaborative Effort and Commitment
Collaborative learning can seem daunting and inefficient, and at times a facilitator is compelled to take on the conventional teacher’s familiar role and guide instead of encouraging it. A sincere belief about the motivating importance of cooperative learning, however, will assist the facilitator to resist a dominating position.
A successful facilitator is likewise prepared to share facilitation with those in the party. The aim is always to hold the easiest, most successful debate. Look for any side debates and close them.