How you can maximise your success as a facilitator
Have you sat through a facilitation session that did not meet expectations? Most of us have been in a room where someone has hogged airtime, the content is not valuable and after all that, nothing changes.
When a leader hires a facilitator they expect a competent confident person who is able to help them to achieve the intended outcomes. For many leaders, facilitation is one of the skill sets that they will need to have as part of their suite of leadership communication ability.
Here are 7 tips to stand out as a facilitator
1. Core Values
Having core values that support the objectives of the group and can focus on the process as a neutral participant. The facilitator is not there to present their knowledge or demonstrate subject matter expertise.
The mindset values include
- Collaborative over competitive
- Cooperation over resistance
- Action over procrastination
- Progress Over perfection
- Participation over observation
In order to help the group to reach the desired objectives the facilitator has to spend time planning and preparing.In doing so, these are some common questions that can guide planning
Do you understand the content and directed outcomes?
Have you prepared a mutually agreed agenda?
How the logistics were arranged such as equipment, space, location and timings?
Are you familiar with the culture and army group dynamics?
Have you done background research?
3. Earning credibility
In order to get buy in from the group you want to demonstrate your credibility. Your success depends on how well you can communicate the core competencies such as active listening, effective communication, managing conflict and issues as they arise. Effective time management, recording of data.
4. Create a rich learning environment
There are opportunities for learning through collaboration, reflection and interaction. Facilitators have a range of learning techniques to help people stay engaged and to enhance learning. Technology also helps to provide a rich and varied learning environment. You may use equipment such as smart boards, video conferencing, interactive multimedia presentations or consider having a graphic recording of the agreed outcome of the session.
5. Connect and energise the room
A good facilitator will have multiple tools in their kit to help with connection, building rapport and keeping the energy right. The skill is knowing what tool to use when and which methods are more likely to succeed.
6. Set and be firm about ground rules
When core parameters are set, it is easier to manage the discussion and to stay on track with the agenda. Once the tone is set and the expectations have been agreed on, a skilled facility must be prepared to be firm about maintaining the ground rules.
7. Stay present and have fun
You do not have to be boring to stand out as a facilitator. When you are able to stay present, engage with your participants, challenge yourself to step up and to continue to learn more about yourself and your skills each time you facilitate. Ask for feedback and don’t assume you will always get it right.
Lisa Evans is a Communications Consultant based in Australia who helps leaders share their message with confidence, clarity and credibility.
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