Let’s look at some things that you can do to ensure facilitation success.

Before the Facilitation

  • Check the meeting space and make sure it is appropriate for what’s needed
  • Conducts a needs assessment: what are the stakeholders looking for?
  • Interview or survey members of the group if appropriate
  • Draft the agenda and send it to participants
  • Select activities and processes that will be appropriate for the group
  • Select back-up processes that you can use depending on how things unfold

To Start Facilitation

  • Welcome participants
  • Have members introduce themselves, especially if they don’t know one another
  • Use an appropriate icebreaker to set the environment
  • Explain your role
  • Clarify the goal of the session
  • Introduce the agenda and make changes based on feedback; group acceptance is important here
  • Establish ground rules (norms)
  • Explain the process
  • Set time frames
  • Appoint a time keeper and a minute taker

During Facilitation

  • Ask, “How’s this going?”
  • Check the pace: too fast, too slow?
  • Check whether the techniques are working
  • Obtain and offer feedback as needed
  • Ensure that all members are able to participate fully
  • Summarize periodically and at end of session

To End Facilitation

  • Help members make a clear statement of what was decided
  • Develop clear steps with dates and names
  • Check the parking lot and any leftover items
  • Help create next agenda
  • Clarify follow-up process and accountabilities