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Are You a Facilitator?

You lead lots of meetings, but are you a true facilitator?

  • Do you plan for and design the meeting agenda?
  • Do you tend to the process of the meeting?
  • Do you help get everyone's ideas on the table?
  • Do you bring the group back on track when it goes off course?

If you do those things, then you are a facilitator. If no one is doing those tasks in your meetings, you need a facilitator to make your meetings more productive.

A great facilitator has many skills. He or she

  • listens.
  • summarizes and clarifies.
  • understands group development and group dynamics.
  • uses process tools.
  • intervenes in and manages conflict.
  • records key points of view.

Key Points To Take Away

--- Meetings need facilitators.
--- You could be a facilitator.
--- Skill required to be a facilitator.
--- Staying neutral is important.
--- How to handle multiple roles.

In addition, a strong facilitator serves the group's process and stays neutral about the subject; and she or he monitors the process of the meeting rather than arguing for a particular outcome.

That doesn't mean that a facilitator can't have a voice in the outcome of the meeting. It is possible to facilitate neutrally even when you are part of the group -- even when you really care about the subject and the meeting's results. You can do that by shifting back and forth between your roles as facilitator and participant, but be sure to do that overtly. Be sure to inform the group when you are changing hats. You can say it just that way: I am going to take off my facilitator hat for a moment and put on my participant

If you are not yet a great facilitator, you could be. And you will have many skills required to do the job if you stick around with us...

NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: Paying Attention to Group Dynamics

About Great Meetings

Pam Plumb and Dee Kelsey are your facilitators in charge of Education World's Great Meetings series. They are also authors of the popular guide to meeting facilitation, Great Meetings! Great Results. Together, Pam and Dee have more than 40 years' experience facilitating change and training meeting leaders.

Learn more by clicking the links below:

* Read biographies
Learn about Pam and Dee.

* Read a "backgrounder"
What will you learn from this series?

* See the Great Meetings archive
See past articles in the series.

* Visit the Great Meetings Web site
Learn about the book, training workshops Pam and Dee offer, and more.

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