What a facilitator does is plan, guide and manage a group event to ensure that the group’s objectives are met effectively, with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone who is involved.
Whether it’s a meeting or a training session, a facilitator shapes and guides the process of working together so that the group meets its goals and accomplish what it is set out to do. While a group of people might set the agenda and figure out the goals, the facilitator needs to concentrate on how you are going to move through your agenda and meet those goals effectively.
Facilitation focuses on how people participate in the process of learning or planning, not just on what gets achieved. A facilitator is neutral and never takes sides.
The most important thing is what the participants in the meeting have to say. So, focus on how the meeting is structured and run to make sure that everyone can participate. This includes things like:
- Making sure everyone feels comfortable participating
- Developing a structure that allows for everyone’s ideas to be heard
- Making members feel good about their contribution to the meeting
- Making sure the group feels that the ideas and decisions are theirs, not just the leader’s
- Supporting everyone’s ideas and not criticizing anyone for what they’ve said.