A facilitator is someone who helps teams having issues with communication, problem-solving abilities or progressive output. Facilitators assist a group of people to identify collective objectives identified from observed issues and help them to work together to achieve these objectives. This helps to also bring up new ideas to improve output from the team. But how does one become a facilitator?
Technically, a facilitator does not need to be an expert in the subject of discussion. In fact, a facilitator’s focus is majorly the people in a team and on how to get them to work together. Naturally, facilitators enjoy leading and guiding others.
This goes both in traditional as well as in modern, digital facilitation. Facilitators usually also have a lot of self-confidence when speaking in public. These are then basically the first traits that you should have, if you wish to become a professional facilitator. If however, you don’t possess these traits already, don’t worry. These are things that anyone can learn!
Education requirement for facilitators
Nowadays there are hundreds of facilitator courses online that basically anyone can take. These courses teach you the basic skills of a facilitator: some of the courses are free of charge, others can go up to as high as hundreds of euros or dollars. Udemy, for instance, offers various kinds of courses that help you to learn the difference between a good facilitator and a good speaker. Courses also teach you to know when and how to interrupt, and how not to put your own ideas on the spotlight.
In general, the educational requirements of a facilitator can depend on the type of session that you plan to facilitate. Also, this depends on the type and size of the organization you work for. As an example, let’s think of the after-school program facilitators.
A lot of after-school programs are designed to teach young people group-oriented skills such as communication and teamwork. After-school program facilitators may not need a formal post-secondary certificate, although having a degree or diploma in a field such as education or any field that relates to working with young people is usually considered an asset. Mainly, you need to have a passion to work with young people and to know the right tools for it.
Although the participants attend a workshop to listen to a facilitator, it is also a good practice for the facilitator to listen to the participants. By listening to participants, facilitators will find it easier to accomplish their goals. Additionally, those who feel they are being listened to tend to also listen better.
As a facilitator you can have in between question and answer sessions even before the end of the presentation. Also, you can pick out members at random to give your ideas on how to make progress forward. As a facilitator you should also be open-minded when listening and have the ability to place yourself in the shoes of the participants.
Improve Your Speaking Skill
To be a good facilitator, you need to have a strong speaking skill. Participants automatically see a facilitator as a figure of authority in the field they represent. As a facilitator you must be able to convey your ideas through speaking.
This must come with a good command of the language you as a facilitator want to use.
Control Distractions, Including Distracting Participants
One useful skill that good facilitators have mastered is the ability to control distraction. Since you are dealing with human beings, there are bound to be distractions. You need to develop systems to curb these distractions.
One way is by using the individual causing a distraction as part of your teaching.
Attributes Of a Good Facilitator
Facilitation is not limited to standing before a group of people and taking down thoughts or talking. It involves a technique to naturally guide the meeting in the most constructive and efficient way possible.
As a facilitator you must have good organizational skills. You should know how to use the best digital facilitation tools, too. It’s also essential that you can build a system that works out of chaos.
A good facilitator induces discussion among participants, especially those who do not speak out naturally. Also, a good facilitator is idea-driven and always finds ways to make groups of people understand these ideas and work towards them to have the desired result. A good facilitator does not force ideas on participants, and this is important to keep in mind always.
Facilitating a Meeting
When setting up a meeting to facilitate, there are certain things you should have in mind. The first part is to do enough research to get acquainted with the subject matter. Although you are not expected to be an expert, it is important to hold a decent level of knowledge on the topic.
After the planning phase, the next step is to set up an agenda. This is a list of focus for the session. When there is an agenda, the session is well structured. However, you can leave room for digression.
Establish Ground Rules to Encourage Positive Group Interaction
When running a facilitation session, you should understand that you are not a lecturer. There should be a sense of participation from the audience. This will help you understand if the participants are catching on as you proceed further into the session.
You should make sure that every participant contributes to the workshop. This is something that you most likely will learn over time: the more you facilitate the better you get.
As the session proceeds, you should ensure that the meeting moves in the intended direction – the reason being that there is a possibility of going off track and losing the real focus of the meeting. Although this is allowed, it is your duty as the facilitator to keep the meeting on track.
Examples of Different Types of Facilitators
There are multiple areas of working and private life that you can become a facilitator in. Here we listed some examples:
Employment Workshop Facilitator
Employment workshops are typically focused on groups of adults to increase their possibility of employment. This is done by educating them in skills such as communication, teamwork and customer service.
This also includes introducing them to employment opportunities. To be an employment workshop facilitator, you will typically need at least an undergraduate degree in psychology or human services.
Family Health Workshop Facilitator
The focus of a family health workshop facilitator is to improve positive family functioning through skill-building and knowledge sharing. Facilitators for family health-related programs do typically need at least an undergraduate degree in a field such as social work, family ecology or human services.
Final Thoughts On Becoming a Facilitator
Before becoming a facilitator, you need to be sure you are comfortable with public speaking and also have an interest in leading. The type of organization you work with usually determines the type of facilitator you become. However, regardless of the institution, project or a topic, one common fact is that you must be passionate about working with people. That’s the first step in becoming a facilitator.
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