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6 Steps for Becoming a Better Facilitator

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An effective facilitator can be the difference between a productive planning session and a frustrating waste of time. Your job, as facilitator, is to move along the collaboration without taking over and running the meeting. You should facilitate an effective conversation and not dominate the discussion. If you manage the meeting successfully you will keep conversations on track and ensure that all team members’ voices are heard.

Here are 6 steps to help you facilitate better in your next meeting:


Go over the specs of the project. Familiarize yourself with the scope of work and objectives. Preparing ahead will help you keep the big picture in focus. You will be in a better position to guide the group in the task at hand.

State Objectives

Begin the meeting with a clear explanation of the goal for the meeting. Whether it is a planning meeting, a strategy session, or a 6 week look-ahead meeting it is important to get everyone on the same page with the goals for the meeting.

Engage the Group

Pay attention to the group dynamic. Are there people talking over others? Is someone not speaking up? Is no one talking? Use your role to start and maintain the conversation. Increase interaction between group members to achieve the full benefits of the collaborative process. Balance the voices being heard and keep people talking.

Maintain Focus

Keep the conversation focused on the task at hand. Large planning sessions can easily devolve into side conversations. If focus is waning in the group, take the chance to reiterate the objectives and put people back on task.

Manage Dysfunction

As a facilitator you will run into unproductive behavior. You will need to address group dysfunction on a case by case basis. You can redirect attention with appropriate humor, or call a break if you are losing the room. Do these things before dysfunction zaps all the momentum out of your meeting.

Resolve Disagreement

Nip fights in the bud. It does not take much for minor disagreements to spiral out of control. If you see a problem, say something.