From ArticleWorld

A facilitator is an individual that assists in the resolution of disputes and skillfully manages the process towards this goal. They function mainly as unbiased individuals that assist in enabling the comprehension of common goals towards a positive outcome. Facilitators are not experts in the subject matters under discussion, but rather individuals skilled in the process of conversation, that is, how a conversation is being conducted.

Facilitator skills

A facilitator should possess some rudimentary skills regarding meeting practices. These include timekeeping and clearly defining the agenda of the meeting. Skills that take more time to develop include those that involve the monitoring of the behaviour of members attending the meeting and the know-how to conduct interventions when necessary. A good facilitator is able to intervene in a positive manner without adversely affecting the flow of the meeting. Resolution of disputes is not always possible, and in these cases the facilitator must be able to assist in the understanding of the differences of opinion of the attendees.

Facilitator do's and don'ts

Some functions expected to be carried out by facilitators in meetings include:

  • The outlining of the purpose of the meeting to enable preparation of contributors.
  • Ensuring that the timeline for problem resolution is followed as closely as possible.
  • Laying out of the rules to be followed in the meeting and ensuring they are followed.
  • Ensuring the provision of a safe, comfortable area for the meeting to be held where participants may feel at ease.
  • The provision of direction through the processes that lead to conflict resolution such as techniques which allow participants to work together and listen to each other. These techniques may include open-ended questions, repetition of parts of the discussion as well as record-keeping on a medium visible to all members.

Some of the things that a facilitator should not do include:

  • Showing favoritism to any opinion expressed in the meeting.
  • Contributing a personal opinion on the topic under consideration or allowing a personal opinion to influence the direction of the discussion.
  • Allowing the evasion of tough areas that need to be addressed.