Facilitation is a process. It determines how a topic is being discussed. The what of the conversation or meeting is up to you and your team, but a facilitator shapes the methods, format, and tools used to delve into a topic. There are times when managing a meeting or competing agendas do not allow for full participation. Sometimes groups struggle with the creation of clear outcomes. It may be more productive to be guided through a facilitation process that poses a series of questions, gathers reflections that uncover ideas and problems, and synthesizes how to address next steps.
What to expect when you request a facilitator:
- The need for lead time. Facilitators do background research to understand your needs and the needs of your group; they prepare materials and activities that will assist your group in achieving particular goals. That preparation takes time. We want to chart out an appropriate agenda and to formulate questions that will best move your group’s discussion toward answers/solutions.
- Questions about your expectations of the meeting or retreat you want facilitated. Facilitators will ask you what you wish to achieve in the meeting or retreat - what is your goal? What would success look like? Keep in mind that a facilitator may want to speak with you about everything from departmental goals to team dynamics.
- Facilitators do not handle the logistics of planning an event, reserve space or technology, or order catering. They are present to help move discussion and conversation to the most productive end possible. Additionally, they do not carry out any of the work that is identified during the facilitation process. A facilitator can be available to debrief your team as work progresses or after a goal has been achieved, and they can capture actions and discussion points and provide them to you and your team, but they are not responsible for any action items formulated during the facilitation.
Click here to access the Facilitator Request Form.