Facilitation can be referred to as the planning and working of successful meetings and workshops in organizational settings.. It is the process of enabling individuals and groups to consult issues and opportunities around a shared objective and develop agreed strategies for a common aim. In addition to meetings, sessions and workshops, facilitation also includes making possible for people to learn through transfer of knowledge and training in specific skills by a facilitator. Facilitators possess a set of specific training tools to make sure this transfer is effective.
The method of making agendas, conducting research, and facilitating sessions to deliver intended outputs and outcomes is referred to as the facilitation process. Workshop facilitation is a process in which a facilitator enables a group to work together to achieve an agreed objective, whether it is solving a problem, building a plan, gathering requirements or making a decision. It is a valuable mechanism in helping people work together as they come from diverse backgrounds, with varied potential, interests, opinions and mindset. If people are to work together effectively, it is essential that they agree with, and make decisions that are common. The role of the facilitator is to make this possible.
Why should you hire a professional facilitator?
Facilitation is a fast-growing sphere in various industries especially the corporate businesses because of varied workforce with different perspectives. Many meetings and discussions fail because of biases, rivalries, egoism and preferences existing within the group. This distracts the group’s focus on the schedule of the meeting thereby making less productive plans resulting in less effective outcomes. As an outside professional, a facilitator serves as a neutral third party who facilitates open discussion by creating a safe and friendly environment. This enables participants feel fearless and address issues without biases.
The facilitator is an expert in bringing out the best from everyone in the meeting thus enabling the group in addressing the agenda of the meeting. He/she also provides insight into objectives of the meeting and help in making reachable action plans for positive results. The process of facilitation is fruitful when carried by an expert who is well-versed with skills and knowledge of group tendency and processes. The facilitators come with decades of industry experience in different roles which gives an edge in understanding business issues better.
Workshop Facilitation Skills
Facilitation enables the group to stay focused and give equal opportunities for participation in the group, make united decisions and set goals for accomplishment. In short, facilitator helps others in working effectively and cooperatively.
Given below is an overview of some of the skills possessed by facilitators involved in workshop facilitation:
- Active listening – Active listening is an important facilitation skill. It means listening carefully to what others want to communicate while not projecting our own thoughts and expectations onto them. In workshops it is vital for working out what participants are already aware of and think about the topic. This means the workshop can be accommodated according to their needs and there will be no wastage of time by telling them things they already know. Showing that you are listening makes the participants feel valued. .
- Summarizing – Summarizing is closely related to active listening. You can show people that you have heard them correctly and understood their point. It is not necessary to repeat each word they said but show that you have understood the emotions they have expressed. A good summary not only show the participants that you have listened carefully, but it is also a way to check whether you have understood them. Summarize to make things clearer and help people move forward.
- Asking questions – Questioning is a procedure often used by facilitators during workshops as a substitute to presenting information and giving answers. Asking the group, a series of questions can enable them to find their own solutions. Well – planned questioning can help people to learn from their experiences, probe deeper into the subject matter under discussion and arrive at result – oriented solutions.
- Giving feedback – Positive feedback given by the facilitator, helps participants learn from their experiences. It is important to tell the participants what their strengths are, so that they can build on them. On the other hand, negative feedback is also very useful if followed up with ideas about how things could be done differently.
Facilitation enables the group to stay focused and give equal opportunities for participation in the group, make united decisions and set goals for accomplishment. In short, facilitator does not transfer knowledge to a group as an expert but supports them to share knowledge and ideas and work effectively and cooperatively. The facilitator plans and manages a workshop ensuring that objectives are met. He/she is someone who acts as a lubricant by helping a team with issues but not contributing to the actual management.
Workshop facilitation can have a penetrating impact on participants, introducing them to theories and ways of thinking that can spark professional and personal development. In order to facilitate such an event, you need the right structure, strategy and content.
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