Benefits of Meeting Facilitation
- A facilitator is a neutral independent third party not embroiled in any history, emotion or politics. If seen and experienced as impartial, facilitators can make real gains in pulling parties together and aligning them around intent and decisions.
- The facilitator has no boss in the room and no future relationships or pecking order to protect thus can say out loud what participants want or need to say but feel unable. He or she can give voice to issues that need to be tabled if real headway is to be made. We are frequently utilised in high conflict scenarios to help parties clear the air and move forward.
- For the reason above, the facilitator is better positioned than participants to offer constructive challenges on what goes on in the room and provide direct feedback where it is judged as necessary to move the participants forward.
- During important meetings, just having a conversation is not enough. The facilitator will provide a range of approaches and practices for ensuring that the people in the room stay on track, understand the objectives of each session and everyone is heard. The structure and process of the meeting can ensure speed and effectiveness and prevent the frustration and relationship deterioration that can emerge when conversations appear to be going no where, people speak over each other and no one knows when real closure has been achieved.
- The facilitator will be actively observing behaviour and working to ensure that what happens in the room is not damaging to the relationships in the room.
- Making a safe environment within which differences can be aired and respected is a key role. Once achieved this enables richer and more creative outputs and genuine pooling of ideas
- The facilitator will ensure that the momentum and energy is maintained, through for example banking decisions, summarising decisions, moving the process on and guarding the focus of conversations away from the past - what cannot be changed - and towards the future.
- Whatever is agreed the facilitator ensures it is fully understood by everyone.
- Time - it is the one thing that no one has enough of and ineffective events can often disengage people for long after the event when they feel their time has been wasted. Well planned and facilitated events avoid this pitfall.
- Event planning - the facilitator is skilled at event planning and this, done correctly and in partnership with the event leader leads to a well planned timetable that in turn creates a feeling of security for participants.
- Fun - a facilitator does not feel the pressure that participants may feel and can when appropriate inject an sense of fun - essential for creativity and on-going engagement.
- Passing the baton - Active facilitation provides immense benefits for the event leader simply because a competent 'active' facilitator can temporarily take over the process lead during an event thus allowing the event leader time to reflect, reposition, observe or simply recuperate without any loss of momentum.
- Warm up and close down - the effective warming up and closing down of an event can have serious implications for all those concerned and the need for effective facilitation is probably at it's most critical at these times. Simply ensuring full understanding of, and gaining commitment to the event output would fully justify facilitation on it's own!
- Event follow up - a facilitator (with prior agreement) can be used to follow up with participants post event and can acquire feedback and suggestions that would not have otherwise been surfaced.
© Lindsay McKenna Limited 2008-2017