Group facilitation is aimed to enable groups and organizations to work more effectively; to collaborate and achieve synergy. The facilitator is a content neutral party who by not taking sides or expressing or advocating a point of view during the meeting, can advocate for fair, open, and inclusive procedures to accomplish the group’s work.
“Group facilitation is a process in which a person whose selection is acceptable to all the members of the group, who is substantively neutral, and who has no substantive decision–making authority diagnoses and intervenes to help a group improve how it identifies and solves problems and makes decisions, to increase the group’s effectiveness.”
Roger Schwarz ‘The Skilled Facilitator’ quoted by IAF - International Association of Facilitators
For many professionals, a facilitator is someone who assures that the meeting is on track, determines whose turn it is to speak during open discussions, and makes sure that the sessions start and end on time. The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making introduces the reader to other dimensions of facilitation, such as designing realistic meeting agendas, achieving full participation, promoting mutual understanding, and helping groups build inclusive, sustainable agreements. The book serves as a manual for starters as well as a sourcebook for trained, professional facilitators.
* Group Facilitation Norms * Everyone participates, not just the vocal few. * People give each other room to think and get their thoughts all the way out. * Opposing viewpoints are allowed to exist. * People draw each other out with supportive questions. “Is this what you mean?” * Each member makes the effort to pay attention to the person speaking. * People are able to listen to each other’s ideas because they know that their own ideas will also be heard. * Each member speaks up on matters of controversy. Everyone knows where everyone stands. * Members can accurately represent each other’s point of view. – even when they don’t agree with them. * People refrain from talking behind each other’s backs. * Even in the face of opposition from the person-in-charge, people are encouraged to stand up for their beliefs. * A problem is not considered solved until everyone who will be affected by the solution understands the reasoning. * When people make an agreement, it is assumed that the decision still reflects a wide range of perspectives.
(Source: Kaner, S.; Lind, L.; Toldi, C.; Fisk, S.; Berger, D. 1996. Facilitator’s guide to participatory decision-making)
What is most important?
(Source: SDC Learning&Networking)
Group facilitation workshop participants, IPGRI, Rome, February 2005