Facilitation Skills: Best & Worst Facilitator PracticesOn October 12, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Facilitation is about making it easier for
groups of people to understand each other’s point of view. So sit back for a few moments and put aside
responding to those urgent emails, as we share some of the good stuff with you and highlight
the poor practices you ought to be on the lookout for…
…and may your business meetings be forever improved. The best facilitators carefully assess the
needs of those in the meeting… …They treat participants equally and work
hard to stay neutral in all discussions… A good facilitator knows how to use a wide
range of process tools — but they’ll have to be a story for another day, as there’re
just too many to review in this short video. Getting back to best practices…
…A good facilitator creates an open and trusting atmosphere and helps participants
understand why they’re there… …They listen intently in order to fully
understand what’s being said — and when speaking themselves, use simple, direct language…
…Good facilitators work to make participants the centre of attention and take notes that
accurately reflect what participants mean… Contrast this with some traits of bad facilitators.
These are the things to watch out for and avoid in your own business meetings whenever
possible. Poor facilitators want to be the centre of
attention. They don’t really bother checking in with the participants and seeing whether
they have any concerns. They often fail to listen and end up losing track of key ideas…
…They also tend to be overly passive on process and let things amble on… Ever been in a meeting like that? Why you
end up asking yourself, “Just what is going on here?”, “Why are we doing all this?” You
raise your concern and the facilitator puts you down?
Yep — right there is another trait of bad facilitators. They put people down and get
defensive — often about some relatively minor process issue. Meetings run by these facilitators
often end up being dominated by the team leader, or some other strong voice. Poor facilitators take poor notes. Poor notes
lead to poor decisions — often based on what wasn’t said.
In fact poor facilitators can be so preoccupied with making their poor notes that they fail
to check how the meeting is going and seem to be totally oblivious as to when to take
a break. The very worst facilitators tend to push ahead
with an irrelevant agenda, having no alternative approaches to offer — and criminally — let
discussions ramble on and on… and on and on… without proper closure…
…Which is of course, a complete waste of everybody’s time, so don’t go there. Good facilitators are willing to champion
ideas they don’t personally favour and find ways of concluding meetings on an optimistic
note. In their concluding remarks good facilitators
make sure their meetings end with clear steps for the next meeting, ensuring that everybody
is up to speed and understands what they have to do.
So there you have it, a quick resume of the best and worst facilitator practices…
…What to do and what not to do. Active Presence offers comprehensive facilitation
skills training that will help you communicate better in a team environment, and finish those
complex projects on-time, within budget. Have a look at the resource library on our
website and download the free documents on this subject today.