Facilitation skills are essential for effective meetings. They provide teams with the expertise and knowledge they need to focus on the topic or problem at hand and reach creative solutions and consensus.
Facilitation skills are abilities that you have to help others make progress and succeed. Examples include being organised, flexible, adaptable, active listening and managing time.
Facilitation skills are a key skill for members and leaders. These “process” skills are what we use to direct and guide key aspects of our organising work with groups, such as meetings, planning sessions and training our leaders and members.
Facilitation is a valuable skill. As the workplace becomes more diverse and more competitive, its importance will only increase.
Important importance of facilitation skills
Facilitators are essential because they allow groups and teams make progress. Facilitators are less of a manager, but more of a facilitator who helps with the process and is an influencer of success. These are the three main reasons facilitators are so important.
Resolve Conflicts. Facilitators are impartial people who can listen to both sides of an argument. Facilitators help to solve problems by finding common ground between multiple people.
Give your group dynamics a boost. Facilitation skills can also give the group dynamic a boost. This means that everyone involved in discussions during meetings or classes is supported by better communication strategies. These strategies allow people to better communicate their views and work together toward common goals.
The ability to establish guidelines. The group can agree on a common goal by setting guidelines at the start of any project. It is easier to make progress when everyone in the group understands the guidelines.
Tips for improving facilitation skills
These are 8 skills that you can use to become a better facilitator.
- Advance preparation
Good facilitators will prepare for important sessions in advance. Facilitators will feel more confident in tackling their task when they have a clear goal and everyone has a reason to be there. This confidence is passed down to the team and gives them the courage to tackle complex problems.
- Active Listening
Facilitators must pay attention to what people are saying, listen to them and acknowledge that they have heard you. To show that you have heard and understood, active listening skills can include looking at others when they speak, nodding your heads, repeating what they have said, or even just looking at them.
- Time management
Facilitators should be able move the group and maintain momentum throughout the workshop. Time management is one of the most important skills you can have. You need to be able and willing to work overtime if necessary.
- Effective Guidelines
Facilitators need to set the tone for the session’s behavior and attitudes. These guidelines can be thought of by you or the group.
- Understanding Group Dynamics
Group dynamics refers to the behavior and patterns that people exhibit when working in groups or teams. The process level is the most important. It sits below the content. It relates to people’s attitudes towards participating. This level is crucial to unlocking the potential of the group to achieve its goals because it allows you to get involved in the politics and interaction among members.
- Tipping Points
Every event and activity has natural tipping points. These tipping points are important, but don’t try to fight them. If you are running a group game and things get out of control, stop it. You can use the point where it is likely to spiral into chaos to get it out of control and put it in another activity, such as a summing up.
- Flexibility is key
Sometimes, issues arise during meetings that are so important, it will take more time than you expected. Sometimes they will be overlooked by everyone. Sometimes, you may need to work overtime or change your schedule to discuss them. This should be discussed with the group. Before you proceed with the new agenda.
- Recognise your weaknesses
You must be aware of your weaknesses in order to be a great facilitator. Knowing your weaknesses will enable you to work on them before you are given the opportunity to facilitate. If you think you can improve your active listening skills, then practice them in every conversation. You can improve your weaknesses by working with a few people to prepare for a larger group.
Facilitation skills can’t be learned and practiced every day. This is the place for you if you’ve ever felt that you could do more in facilitation.
You must be able to recognise when you need to lead and when you can be neutral and let the facilitator take over. It is difficult to find the right balance. It is important to be proficient in this role by planning and directing the proceedings well and focusing on the overall process and the outcomes rather than the specific content or opinions.