Here’s how to get the most out of your facilitator

If you are going to employ a facilitator then you should insist upon the following actions.

In my experience they are the hallmarks of an awesome facilitator.

Also remember it’s what they do not what they say they will do.

Action matters.

1. Insist on a tight brief

There is nothing worse that trying to generate an outcome with a group or team if no-one is entirely sure what the challenge or problem is.

The facilitator should work with the team leader to ensure there is a clarity about the brief and it is shared with the team before the session.

If there are any problems these should be raised before the sessions starts.

2. Co-Design a diverse team.

New ideas emerge from a team of diverse perspectives and experiences.

Any facilitator worth their salt should keep suggesting new possibilities until a degree of diversity is obtained in any group or team.

Are customers or consumers represented for example?

Or new employees?

Or younger ones?

3. Ensure that everyone is heard.

No excuses here.

One of the key responsibilities of a facilitator is to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute and they are heard.

And that their opinions are valued.

4. Start with the individual.

I have found a paradox with group work.

If you want the group or team to be more creative than you have to start with the individual.

Starting with the individual means that everyone can contribute, they must think for themselves and i can avoid group think.

5. Have a plan but go where the energy goes

Great facilitators have the confidence to design a plan before a session starts but also be able to stay with the energy of the group.

If the group is firing on all cylinders then the group should be allowed to stay in this moment.

If there is a group flow or people are in the zone than interrupting this momentum to stick to a prearranged plan is counter-productive.

6. End with key actions and responsibilities

There is nothing worse than participating in a session and not knowing what the key actions are and who has to do what, when.

The facilitator has to take control and ensure that actions follows the discussion.

7. Get the notes out ASAP.

The facilitator should also ensure that any output, results or notes be distributed as quickly as possible after the session.

I am not suggesting that I am an awesome facilitator – all the time.

But when i follow these guidelines I am well on the way.

And most importantly the group or team gets a great return on their investment.

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