Becoming A Better Facilitator

Becoming a Better Facilitator
by Scott Patterson, 10/1/11

I put this together for several of the EWBMSU leaders but this information is applicable to any facilitator.

Purpose of a Facilitator: is to collect diverse ideas and energy around each idea and to guide the group in a forward direction; generally a facilitator is needed when either the group does not know how to direct themselves or the group wants someone else to direct them so they can focus on the ideas of the meeting

You will be a more effective facilitator if you know where you are headed with the group and how you are going to get there. What is the intended outcome?

Analogy: The facilitator is the bumpers on a bowling alley, keeps the group (the bowling ball) out of the gutter and moving towards the pins (the objective).

Facilitator Toolkit:
Be Specific - State exactly what you mean. And challenge individuals in the group to be more specific. Ask them to elaborate more on that idea, to provide examples, etc.

Keep an Open Mind - let the group lead themselves towards their end-goal; you just need to keep them on tract; it is the facilitator role to cut-off tangents

Separate the Idea From the Person – divorce the proposed idea from the person who volunteered it. When talking about the idea, state the idea and do not mention the name of the person who stated it

Divergent Mode (brainstorming) - include all ideas (no judging yet), encourage the group to volunteer all ideas, and discourage judging of ideas at this stage

Convergent Mode (decision making) – Narrowing in on one or a few ideas, this is the time to be choosey and critical of ideas.

Change Your Perspective - ask yourself these questions: Whom else does this touch or affect? Why are they or did they act that way? Who has most to gain? Most to lose? Who may know that?

Make the Problem One Level Bigger - step up the complexity chart

Play Devils Advocate - question everything, really push individuals and the group on how an idea will work or why it does or does not.

Play the Movie Through - for each recommendation talk through how it will be implemented through each step of the way all the way to its completion

Create Incentives - a method to influence agents to take certain action

Unintended Consequences – occur when deliberately change element C and D and in addition J is affected (either positively or negatively), try to think of what these could be; Who does this touch?