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lise palmer

on 13 August 2012

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Transcript of facilitation

what is facilitation? it's a skill it's an art skills and techniques:
active listening
time keeping
encouraging creativity
creating space
making people feel safe
using body language
understanding group development
managing speaking space
generating an atmosphere
tracking and focusing
helping decision-making
capturing ideas
moving through conflict
..... etc. "The Self is everything we are -- our beliefs, values, and life experiences as they become manifest in our attitudes, needs, and motives. In all of life, and especially in group facilitation, our Self determines our ability to use our knowledge and skills.

Of [the different facilitation competencies], the Self is the most important. No matter how much we know or how hard we practice, if we are blocked in applying the knowledge and skills we have developed it will adversely impact our performance as facilitators. Conversely, there are people who, because of who they are, have a seemingly natural talent for helping a group achieve results even without the theory, even the first time they get in front of a group."

--Joseph Raelin "Use your presence to set a mood and tone for the meeting. If you are calm, the group will be calm. If you are hopeful, the group will be hopeful. If you are choiceful about when to intervene and what process to use and getting the group to agree to process issues, the group will be mindful of process. If you trust, the group will be trustworthy. If you play mind games, the group will play mind games. If you look for hidden meanings and subterfuges, they will be there. But if you are very clear in your communications and take the statements of others at their face value, they will begin to communicate clearly as well."
--Joseph Raelin basic skills:
following an agreed upon agenda
keeping clear records

higher-order skills:
watching group dynamics and intervening appropriately developing facilitation competencies:
the essentials (timekeeping, following the agenda, recording)
communication (active listening, asking the right questions, paraphrasing)
tracking (testing for understanding, testing for consensus)
building (linking, establishing commonality, reframing)
unblocking (making interventions) Interventions can be...

(John Heron) hand signs splitting up the facilitation duties sticky cluster brainstorms dotmocracies asking the group for help taking a break power & conflict ethics of facilitation:
Kirk and Broussine (2000: 13) write: “…despite our best intentions, facilitation can become part of a system of oppression and perpetuation of dependent relations, with facilitators becoming the unwitting agents of manipulation and managerialism”. Kirk and Broussine (2000) offer five “containers” or strategies for facilitators in their quest for ethical facilitation:
acknowledge partial awareness
reflective practice
care conflict: necessary to reach the group's full potential! some "conflict management" tips, from Community Toolbox:

Have the group decide
...If someone refuses to stick to the agenda, keeps bringing up the same point again and again, challenges how you are handling the meeting, etc.
Use the agenda and ground rules
...If someone keeps going off the agenda, has side conversations through the whole meeting, verbally attacks others, etc.
Be honest: Say what's going on
...If someone is trying to intimidate you, you feel upset and undermined, you need to enlist the help of the group, etc.
Use humor
...If there is a lot of tension in the room, people are resistant to being at the meeting, scared/shy about participating, you are seen as an outsider, etc.
Accept, deal, or defer
...If someone keeps expressing doubts about accomplishing anything, is bitter and puts down every suggestion, keeps bringing up the same point over and over, has power issues, etc. This means: ACCEPT that what they are saying is true, don't ignore it; DEAL with it right there by spending some time on it, or DEFER it to the group for a decision about what to do. Also see points G and H below.
Use body language (if possible)
... To quiet side conversations, help quiet people participate, re-focus attention, etc. You can speak volumes by making eye contact, by smiling (or not smiling), or by a change in your seating position.
Take a break: Confront disrupters outside the meeting room
...When less confrontational tactics haven't worked, someone keeps verbally attacking other participants, shuffling papers, having side conversations or cutting people off. You can deal with this issue outside the room, at a naturally-occurring break in the action.
Confront in the room
...If it's appropriate and will not create backlash, if the group will support you, if you've tried less confrontational tactics already, etc. effective meetings planning:
-goal(s) clear
-who needs to be there
-plan agenda with others, at least a week ahead of time. Setting up the meeting:
-start and end on time
-comfort: snacks, social time, etc Running the meeting
-check-ins, introductions
-get agreement on agenda, rules
-wrap up: next steps clear, check out follow up
-summarize the meeting (i.e. minutes)
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