Facilitation skills of a person refer to his ability to guide the participants in a meeting or members of a team towards the achievement of a common goal or an agreeable action plan to solve a problem. A member or participant with facilitation skills makes the planning or decision making process efficient and easier by encouraging other participants to share their ideas, opinions, experiences, as well as expertise.
Through his facilitation skills, an individual can keep the meeting focused on the subject of discussion without any wastage of time, provide a neutral perspective, and extend a sense of accomplishment to all members by helping them achieve desired outcomes of the meeting.
Why is facilitation important
Facilitation is vital in any situation where a group of people gather and communicate in order to achieve a common goal or objective. Following are some of the reasons why it is so important:
- Diversity. With the increasingly diverse nature of the workforce across the world, group discussions have become very complex, let alone reaching a consensus. Therefore, it is important, more than ever, to understand that every individual is different and must be tackled in a different way. That is exactly what facilitation helps us do, which is the reason behind growing demand in organizations for individuals with good facilitation skills.
- Cooperation and consensus. Facilitation helps the members of a team or participants of a meeting to get to know each other and learn to work together. The cooperation that results from discovering and appreciating the wisdom of the team members results in a consensus, which I otherwise quite difficult to reach.
How to improve your facilitation skills
Following are some of the suggested measures you can take to improve your facilitation skills:
- Physical comfort. Begin with analyzing the physical environment. Arrange everything such that greater comfort is provided to the participants. For instance, manage things such as room set up, refreshments, as well as the audiovisual needs.
- Ensure that the purpose of meeting and the timeframe is communicated at the commencement of each session. Also, explain precisely what the expected outcome is.
- Setting procedures beforehand. Choose a decision making method right at the beginning so that the entire discussion is aligned with it.
- Avoid group think. In trying to avoid all sorts of conflicts, people are likely to open the gates for group think which hinders any kind of improvement. Instead, try to manage a conflict in a way such that it serves as a catalyst through the open-mindedness of members that it tends to encourage.
- Breaking the silence. Call for a “pulse check” whenever the group seems to have reached a deadlock. Inquire about how they feel at the moment or what they think.
- Self-development. Engage in self-development in order to create a difference. Be conscious of your own biases and acknowledge them in front of the group. This will help in developing your credibility as well as in providing a neutral perspective.