Tips, Videos, Handouts

Facilitation

Good Group Tips

In principle, groups work best when a facilitator manages the process. When it is someone’s job to look after the group’s process, everyone else can focus on substance. When I know that someone is managing the order of speakers, I can pay full attention to what is being said.

When there is no objective facilitator and group members can manipulate the process, it tilts power toward a few, limits creativity, and clogs efficiency. It is typical for Congress, state legislatures, and town governments, for instance, to spend a lot of time debating process issues, agenda setting, committee membership, and rules…often in order to influence a particular outcome.

To maximize efficiency, equality, and creativity, high-functioning groups engage a facilitator who works for the group as a whole, manages the process, and does not try to influence the outcome.

Practical Tip: If you want good group decisions, invest in good group facilitation. Like any kind of professional expertise, group facilitation expertise is learned through study and experience. There is a body of knowledge and a proven set of techniques that can move a group forward by leaps and bounds.

Engaging a facilitation expert, whether a paid outsider or volunteer insider, brings knowledge, skill, and objectivity to your group process and substantially increases your chances of making good group decisions.

6 thoughts on “Facilitation

  1. In this tip, you stated “There is a body of knowledge and a proven set of techniques that can move a group forward by leaps and bounds.” Where can I start finding that body of knowledge?

  2. Thanks for writing.
    A place to begin to explore “the body of knowledge” is my website. Not trying to be self-serving – it’s just that there really are many resources available there.
    On the handouts page, for instance, is a list of recommended books. There are also several handouts on various aspects of meeting facilitation and group decision making.
    On the links page you will find links to several helpful websites.
    If you would like more info or have any questions about any of these resources, please don’t hesitate to write or call.

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