Toolkit: Group Facilitation

What is the role of a group facilitator?

A facilitator helps to enable a group to work effectively by creating a structure and a process throughout a meeting. They promote participation and help engage the group by taking on a leadership role. A facilitator will plan the agenda, prepare the meeting space and help keep everyone on track during the meeting.

How to hold a meeting

Have an agenda

Create a plan for the meeting. What do you want the participants to take away from the meeting? What do you want to have accomplished by the end? Set out goals for the meeting and review the agenda with the participants before the meeting starts. Allot a time period for each task or topic to take place.

Plan an ice breaker

Ice breakers give a good jump start to a meeting. They allow the participants to get comfortable talking with each other and it engages participants in the meeting.

Set out group roles

Set out roles in the meeting for the group participants. Who is going to take the minutes and keep track of the time?

Agree on group norms

Talk to the group about guidelines for a smooth meeting. What should the noise level be at? When do we have a break? Set out to have a consensus among the group on what these guidelines will be.

Ask questions to the group

Ask the group questions that will help deepen or open up the conversation up. Listen to their answers and summarize periodically with the entire group on what has been discussed.

Have a parking lot

A parking lot is a place for ideas or topics that have come up in discussion that can’t be talked about right away, but still need space to be heard later. On chart paper, or on the minutes create a place to put ideas that will need attention to later.

Closing

When closing the meeting go over anything still in the parking lot, review the minutes and ask the group if there is anything missing that they would like to have added to the minutes.

Check in

Check in at the beginning, middle, end of the meeting. Ask each person where they are at emotionally, physically or mentally with the discussions being had. Ask for feedback on what would work better next time, and what worked well this time.

For more tips and strategies, download our Faciliation Guide!