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Role of the Facilitator

  • Works with the group as a whole and provides guidance in moving toward a shared goal.
  • A neutral party who keeps the discussion on track and helps participants contribute to the conversation in a focused and productive manner.  
  • Either takes notes or delegates note taking responsibilities.

Tips for Good Facilitation

  • Provide structure without controlling what is said
  • Keep the group on topic and following the agenda
    • Keep time and provide cues to move the group to the next agenda item
    • Refocus the discussion if it goes off track
    • Remind participants what needs to be accomplished by the end of the meeting
  • Identify new issues as they arise
    • If something comes up that is off topic but should be returned to later, put it in a ‘parking lot’ (or ‘bike rack’)
  • Provide all participants with the opportunity to talk
    • Prevent one person or group from dominating the discussion
    • Encourage the quieter and shyer people to talk, but never single out or pressure participants
  • Clarify understanding of individual and/or group feedback by restating in your own words
  • Asks questions to enhance the discussion and ensure adequate responses

Tips for Good Notetaking

  • Record all comments (including questions) and honor all responses, without judgment
    • Resist putting your own spin on what is said as you record
  • When possible, capture who says what so you can follow up later as needed
  • Paraphrase verbally while recording to ensure the accuracy of your notes
  • If necessary, ask clarifying questions to verify that the sentiment of the comment has been captured

Facilitation Techniques

Generate Ideas

  • Post-Ups (brainstorming with post-its; individual idea generation then sharing)
  • Silent Brainstorm (ideas are shared on index cards and passed around a table. Each person builds on the ideas of others)

Evaluate Ideas

  • Plus / Delta (To generate constructive feedback by focusing on what what positive or repeatable about an activity, and what you would change about the activity)
  • Forced Ranking (“Forced” ranking of ideas to help a group make a decision)

Making a Decision or Recommendation

  • Impact & Effort Matrix  (Possible actions are mapped out on a 2x2 grid based on: effort required to implement & potential impact of an idea)
  • Dot Voting (Each participant gets a fixed number of dots to select the idea or initiative of their choosing. All dots are tallied and the highest voted ideas are selected)
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