How to Facilitate Groups: 7 Easy Steps to Master Facilitation, Facilitating Meetings & Workshops | Caden Burke | Skillshare

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How to Facilitate Groups: 7 Easy Steps to Master Facilitation, Facilitating Meetings & Workshops

teacher avatar Caden Burke, Leadership Skills Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 1m)
    • 1. Introduction - How to Facilitate Groups

    • 2. Chapter 1 - Step 1: Allowing Flexibility to the Plan

    • 3. Chapter 2 - Step 2: Know the Audience

    • 4. Chapter 3 - Step 3: Controlling the Energy and Momentum

    • 5. Chapter 4 - Step 4: Staying Neutral

    • 6. Chapter 5 - Step 5: Dealing with Controversy

    • 7. Chapter 6 - Step 6: Driving Interactions with the Audience

    • 8. Chapter 7 - Step 7: Wrapping Things Up

    • 9. Conclusion - How to Facilitate Groups

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About This Class

Are you looking to up your game as a facilitator? Or are you considering starting a facilitation gig?

“How to Facilitate Groups” is a great guide to help you make a move from simply putting people together for training, meetings, group discussions and workshops to creating a collaborative group in 7 easy steps.

Facilitation may seem easy, but there are many things that happen in the background that some do not consider. Arm yourself with tools that will help you craft communication skills and become an amazing facilitator. Facilitators today have to be prepared to learn and grow at a rapid rate. They have to be ready to take on the curve balls that are more likely to happen than not.

Building your skills as a facilitator is about more than just simply putting a group of people together and telling them to solve the problem. It is about showing them how their collaboration can improve their work environment, about how their communication and development can help them grow individually and achieve their personal and professional goals. This requires you as the facilitator to gain their engagement and attention. To prove that they can trust you, and to prove to themselves that they are capable of more than what they currently are doing.

• The foundations for facilitation.
• Why flexibility is important.
• How to know your audience.
• Differences in learning styles.
• Strategies for successful engagement of your audience.
• How to maintain the energy of the group.
• Ways to motivate learning and collaboration.
• The importance of being neutral.
• Skills to encourage interactions.
• How to warp up your facilitation.
• And much more.

Regardless of where you are in your skills as a group facilitator, this can provide you with a guide for success. The ball is in your court. Let’s see what you can do to make opportunities happen!

Meet Your Teacher

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Caden Burke

Leadership Skills Teacher


Caden Burke is the teacher of the "Leadership Skills" course series. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Black Ltd. and writes a popular blog on Leadership Skills. Burke turned to teaching several years ago to fulfil his life dream of educating students on the topic of Leadership & Management. He lives in New York City.

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1. Introduction - How to Facilitate Groups: How to facilitate groups? Are you looking to up your game as a facilitator? Or are you considering starting a facilitation gig? Quote, how to facilitate groups? And the quote is a great guide to help you make a move from simply putting people together for training, meetings, group discussions and workshops to creating a collaborative group in seven easy steps. You will always be able to apply these seven steps and improve your skills. No matter if you are now at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, facilitation may seem easy, but there are many things that happened in the background that some do not consider. Arm yourself with tools that will help you craft communication skills and become an amazing facilitator. Facilitators today have to be prepared to learn and grow at a rapid rate. They have to be ready to take on the curve balls that are more likely to happen than not. Building your skills as a facilitator is about more than just simply putting a group of people together and telling them to solve the problem. It is about showing them how their collaboration and can improve their work environment, about how their communication and development can help them grow individually and achieve their personal and professional goals. This requires you as the facilitator to gain their engagement and attention, to prove that they can trust you, and to prove to themselves that they are capable of more than what they are currently doing. You will learn the foundations for facilitation. Why flexibility is important? How to know your audience, differences and learning styles, strategies for successful engagement of your audience. How to maintain the energy of the group waste to motivate learning and collaboration. The importance of being neutral skills to encourage interactions. How to warp up your facilitation and much more. Regardless of where you are, your skills as a group facilitator. This can provide you with a guide for success. The ball's in your court. Let's see what you can do to make opportunities happen. 2. Chapter 1 - Step 1: Allowing Flexibility to the Plan: Chapter 1, step 1, allowing flexibility to the plan. One key factor in successful facilitation is to allow flexibility in the plan. While agendas are a great tool, facilitators need to be prepared to handle things when the group goes off script. Chances are you have been part of a meeting that went off the agenda and was never able to get back on track. It happens. And for so many different reasons from side projects to someone who simply has made the goal of hijacking the topic. In these instances, it is important that facilitators remember, they will have difficult situations and they need to be flexible on the fly. Every person is going to have a different level of comfort when facing unexpected situations or challenges. There is no single way to resolve every issue that may arise as you are facilitating. However, the more you practice your skills as a facilitator, the more experiences you gain. Thus, you then become better at pivoting and redirecting the group. Here are a few things that can help you to be more flexible as a facilitator. Engaged, listening, carefully, listen to the speaker and their perspectives. Allow them to fully share their idea or view without interrupting, giving them your full attention. Appreciate their input, even if you do not agree. Repeater position for clarification, do not engage in arguing that topic regardless if you are correct, refocus the topic to what the group's objective pertains to. Respect the commitment and time that others have made to the event and do not allow the presentation to stray too far from the goal. Remember that not all facilitation will go as planned. However, when you stay calm, relaxed and aware, you can prepare yourself for many things you will be faced with. It is okay to stop for a moment to assess. Take a deep breath and allow yourself a moment to react to the situation. 3. Chapter 2 - Step 2: Know the Audience: Chapter 2 step to know the audience. Facilitators do more than just share. 4. Chapter 3 - Step 3: Controlling the Energy and Momentum: Chapter 3, step 3, controlling the energy and momentum. Often when a person is creating the agenda for an event, the focus on the priorities that a lot specific time periods for each priority, those creating the agendas often are not the person responsible for executing it, nor do they allow consideration of the groups energy or momentum. This is a major mistake for many events or meetings. Skilled facilitators can review an agenda and often predict the success of the event. The following are some energy and momentum killers for events. Back-to-back lectures, presentations, or panel discussions. Heavy topics after lunch or late in the afternoon or evening. Discussion settings where the group has to complete to be heard. Wrapping up a heavy agenda item and then diving directly into the next without taking a break. As a facilitator, you should be part of creating the agenda. If this is not possible, you should review the agenda and offer suggestions for breaking up the topics or creating space for energy to be incorporated. One process that many facilitators do before taking on a new event, specifically walking through every aspect of the agenda prior to the meeting. This may sound a bit silly at first, but it is a tool that can make all the difference in your ability to facilitate the information. Specifically, allow yourself to experience the meeting as if you were an attendee. Feel with the flow and pace of the meeting will actually feel like identify any problems that might occur, such as lags and energy or exhaustion or even stress. One thing that helps to keep the energy level up during facilitation is participation. The more the audiences involved, the more engaged they will fill. One thing to understand is there is a limit to the amount of passive information that a person can comprehend. This is why many facilitators will use small groups to break up and sustain the energy over longer periods of time. Another tool that facilitators used to help shift energy and maintain motivation is shifting modes. This is where rather than sit and simply listened to a lecture for a long period of time, they shift the group from lecture two groups to lecture to physical activity as well. They will often vary the ways in which they are communicating to the group. One presentation may use visual communication, another simply speaking, and another physical facilitators also need to take into account not just the mind of the people in the room, but their whole body. Skilled facilitators work to engage more than just the mind. Want to engage the spirit, heart, body, and mind. When a person sits for too long through energy level naturally drops. The best way to combat this from happening is to find ways to get the group moving. This could be an activity that reinforces whatever the event or presentation is about. Facilitators are also concerned with the physical needs of the group. They need to ensure that there are adequate break times and opportunities for people to refuel. This could be with breaks or providing food or snacks. One quick way to undermine your facilitation is to ignore signs that the group is hungry and getting restless. Understanding of processing information takes time in a similar way that digesting food does. Facilitators need to ensure that there is time for the group to process what they have learned or the solution that has come from a discussion, they need to allow their brains to fully wrap around the ideas and concepts that are newly introduced. When a group is not allowed the time to process the information that they've learned. They begin to shut down. If there is a lot of information. And that information is all heavy or weighted concepts, this can leave the group being unproductive and sluggish. As a new facilitator, it is good to start out with something small. When you begin, you want to build not only your trust in yourself, but that trust others have in you. As you build your confidence with the group, start with an easier issues to tackle. Then move into more complicated task as you gain the trust of the group as well. It is often more successful than breaking down challenging topics into a series of smaller objectives to allow the group to have little wins along the way. There are many things that affect the ability of a person to focus in any given environment. As a facilitator, you want to ensure that the location has good lighting quality, sound, comfortable temperature, and good seating. The way the chairs are placed within the group can dictate how the group communicates and engages in rooms where the chairs are set in a circle and the attendees are facing each other, they are more likely to engage with each other. In contrast, when the room is set up with a panel at the front and the rest of the room in the theater style, the attendees are more likely to be quiet and not participate. As you plan your facilitation, you need to pay attention to the way the energy will flow. You need to take stock of the experience that those who attend will get from the event. As a facilitator, you should plan to work closely with venue personnel to ensure that they are able to support your group's needs. And that's a facility can meet your goals and expectations. Facilitators, energy. Facilitators who have high-energy are often very successful. They are able to harness this energy in ways that help them to be respected and admired by the groups they work with. Facilitators who lead with energy, quite often transfer that energy to the topic of discussion through their passion for the topic. They can intrinsically express that since the topic is important to them, it should be important to the audience without having to specifically say those words. It is through the actions at the audience believes the importance of the topic. It is through subtle influences that the energy that's a facilitator has that makes the topic more interesting. In contrast, when a facilitator is disengaged and lethargic, they can take a presentation very easily. The energy of you as a facilitator will also determine the engagement you get from the group. The more energy you have, the more likely you will be appealing to listen to. Those who are low-energy, often create a feeling of boredom and disengagement. As you focus your energy levels on engaging, it is equally as important to remember not to go over the top. This too can become irritating to those in attendance. Those who can find the sweet spot or able to engage their audience and keep them wanting more or feeling valued. As a facilitator, your energy is very important and it can often determine the impact you have on those participating. The energy level you have when facilitation may be quite different from your normal job, you may need to be very specific and monotonous in your daily job. But as a facilitator, you can increase your energy and drive your group to higher levels of success. As you keep your energy level up, you can also help the group to keep this up. Your energy provides your confidence and in turn, the confidence you have in others. When you are low energy, this is a big sign that you struggle with confidence. As you increase your energy, you often increase the respect of others around you. 5. Chapter 4 - Step 4: Staying Neutral: Chapter 4, step 4, staying neutral. Staying neutral as a facilitator can have many benefits for those who are facilitating. Neutral facilitators allow for organizations to strengthen their partnerships with them. As you are neutral to the situation, you can build an environment of trust which can help the group to grow and seek innovation and their ideas or learning. As a neutral facilitator, you are better positioned to see both sides of the situation and offer perspectives that one side or both sides can not see. With this approach, you are creating an environment that is respectful, positive, and encourages group interaction. Environments that are comfortable and open allow individuals to express their concerns and ideas as to the facilitator. Staying neutral puts you in a primary position to guide the discussion in a way where you are not influencing the learning of early. Dealing with conflict. Neutrality helps and dealing with conflict. Often when changes take place, conflict can arise. This is completely normal and sometimes can't provide insight into what is important to the group. For many organizations, when conflict arises, it is natural to see an outside partner to identify the values or feelings behind a situation. As a neutral facilitator, you can work to keep the dialogue open and on track to resolve the conflict. You can also observe and provide feedback to the group about how different dynamics are affecting the group. As a neutral facilitator, you will introduce activities to help the group resolve their conflict. You will also be the person who helps to raise awareness when a situation is uncomfortable for a member, which is something some groups can overlook. Older patterns suspended. One of the greatest things that organizations benefit from by using a neutral facilitator is that it allows them to suspend the traditional roles and the influences within the organization. These patterns of politics and power can significantly influence of the groups. As a natural facilitator, you are able to help break down these barriers and put the group on a level playing field where the leaders set aside their titles and the group grows and learns together. In doing this, you are welcoming the involvement of everyone regardless of their title, position, or level. Creating this environment gives each participant the freedom to participate without the concern of roles or titles, fully nurturing development. You as the facilitator or the support system for the group while they are with you. You may find that through your guidance, some of the people walk out of the event with new roles they never imagined they can do before. You may find that others realize they were not in the best role for them. Your goal is to guide and help each person realize a new vision of how they can take on the next challenge. You are the nurturing portion of all these things. You help them to learn that they can work together to accomplish more than they previously were, were show them how the success of their collaboration help them grow, encouraging each member to change, grow, and adopt new possibilities for themselves. Common goals. As part of being a facilitator is helping the group be able to see where the commonality other goals aligns. Using a no bias approach, you are able to direct a partnership between the participants in ways that help them understand the groups dynamics and efforts of all involved. As you build these partnerships, you help them to prepare for future collaboration and working to develop no longer a single or departmental vision, but a shared vision. This is why as the facilitator, you should always keep the common goals at the forefront. Referring back to the desired outcomes and goals for decisions on problem-solving or strategy. Change management. As a natural facilitator, you can always become an agent of change for the organization. You help the group to understand the changes and support the collaboration of dealing with that change. In every organization, there will be changes in all different ways. Some may be seen as positive and others not. So. As a neutral facilitator, you are there to help with a shared vision of the change and allow the group the autonomy to problem-solve any pain points along the way. When the group is in a safe environment, they are more likely to share what the change pain points have cost, and what ways they can provide solutions. Building organizational leadership, the role you provide as a neutral facilitator allows the organization the opportunity to develop both individual leaders and shared leadership. This growth allows the organization to grow and flourish with a better understanding of where the different members are coming from, which ultimately is your aim at a neutral facilitator. You cultivate, encourage, and position the group to work together to develop solutions and find common grounds. You provide the group with skills and methods for creating an environment of shared collaborative efforts. 6. Chapter 5 - Step 5: Dealing with Controversy: Chapter 5, step 5, dealing with controversy. As a facilitator, you will be faced with occasionally having to discuss sensitive or controversial issues regardless of the context, it is best to structure the event in a way that has clear boundaries to create a safe and open environment as well. You will want to ensure that you clearly outline the discussion expectations and that respect is a key to the discussion. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself to deal with the unexpected. When we least expect it, there will be a subject that will pop up that can cause controversy unexpectedly. As a facilitator, it is essential that you address the situation and guide the group. These suggestions are best when this occurs during your facilitation. Start by acknowledging the person who brought this issue to light and identify that there may be others with contrasting views. Next, choose it. The subject is something that the group should continue to engage in. Where if the topic should be saved for another time. Assess if the topic provides value to the group at the time, the participants, if you feel the group can benefit from the discussion, allow them to continue naturally. If you feel that it will be better handled later, address the participants, that you will come back to the subject when it fits better into the context. You could also be requested to facilitate a controversial or high sticks topic for a group. In this instance, planning is extremely important. It is necessary to consider all the following and assess which will benefit the group the most. What is the purpose of the subject to the group? What should the ground rules look like? Is there a possibility of common ground between opposing views? Provide a framework for the discussion to maintain. Focus. Ensure everyone is included in the conversation. Take an active role in your facilitation. Be more of a coach than a simple guide. Gather feedback from the group and summarize discussions as you wrap up different portions of the facilitation. Identify the purpose. Begin your facilitation with objectives that can't provide guidance for the discussion along with a clear goals of the facilitation. Generally, these objectives are most commonly included. Start by connecting the topic with a group situation and include any concept or strategies that the group can review to see the connection. You will also want to increase the groups awareness of the subject by sharing information that may not always be available to the group or addressed with them in formal or informal discussions. As a facilitator, you want to encourage dialogue within the group and open their minds to the possibility of what complexities exist within. In doing this, it is often great to relate the situation and it might directly relate to the role of individuals within the group. Something that helps the group be able to identify better and understand establishment of ground rules. Ground rules are key aspect of successful facilitation regardless of if the controversy of the topic. However, in instances where the subject is controversial, it is necessary that you fully explain and set the expectations with the group. Understand that just because you set a specific set of ground rules at the beginning does not mean that you cannot change them in the future. They may need to evolve and adapt as the facilitation progresses as well. If the discussion becomes heated or tents, these rules will allow you a guide to bring the group back to center and calm tensions. The following are some suggestions for rules. Be respectful to others, allow them to complete their thought without interrupting as others are talking, be active listeners and understand their view. Not just what they are saying. It is okay to criticize an idea but not an individual, be committed to learning something. New. Commitment is the key to be able to share information. Avoid poor language, speculation or placing blame. Allow all participants the same respect when they are speaking. Do not make assumptions about other group members or social groups. It is a good idea to allow the group to come up with a ground rules before you jump into discussing any issues. This helps you to gain the buy-in from the group, and in turn, gives you more credibility when you have to direct the group back based on their ground rules, provide a baseline of understanding. Every group needs a baseline to know where to start. They need to be provided a focus point and examples to begin to form their learning from. One option is to have the group review material on the subject and then prompt the discussion following their review. This allows you as the facilitator, the ability to draw upon to participants knowledge and create that baseline. As you will find many times, participants have different sets of experiences that you may be faced with a wide range of preconceived expectations. This is where you, as the facilitator will come in and guide and trimmed down those expectations to help the group create a baseline of understanding, establishing a framework. Understand that regardless of what the subject is when dealing with controversy or social conflict, it is important to create a framework for the conversation. This framework will act as the guide for encouraging a balanced approach in which you direct your group and observe their interpretations. These are a few strategies that are really helpful and keep the focus on flow the discussion going. Use open-ended questions when you begin the discussion, allow the group to have some autonomy when encouraging the discussion. Be cautious not to use questions that identify two problems simultaneously before the event. Prepare specific questions to be fillers for when the group is hesitant to speak. What makes this subject hard to discuss with your peers? What is confusing or unclear so far? Prepare to have to redirect the discussion to keep the group focused on the outcome or goal of the event. To match side tracking can lose your audience. Tangents will happen. It is important to acknowledge the person and their point of view, then focus the conversation back to the subject matter. At the end of the event would be a great time to readdress any tangents that group may have as time allows. This helps you validate the individual to the group and makes them not feel overlooked. Always recap the key points or issues to the group. Be inclusive to all. Another important part of your role as a facilitator is to ensure that everyone is included. Each person in your group will have a different perspective and it can be challenging to include everyone. This is more true as you deal with sensitive topics or controversial issues. It is in these instances, you should move away from group discussions and allow the individuals to participate independently or in smaller groups. This will allow those who are holding back to share their perspectives in a way that is more comfortable to them as well. It will help to reduce the likelihood of someone with a strong opinion dominating the conversation. It is important to ensure that every participant feels valued, that there are not those who see their view as marginalized. Here are a few ways you can increase activity in discussions the round. Using this method, you give each participant I guiding question to respond to without interruption from the group. Each participant is provided one pass where they can skip the question after each round, how the group discuss all the responses. Think, share. Using this method, you give each participant an item to think about for a few minutes and have them respond in writing. When the group is finished, you then divide everyone up into smaller groups of two or three and instruct them to share their responses with each other. As a facilitator, you would need to be specific in your directions, quote, share your perspective or the situation with your partner. Partners and a quote. After the groups have concluded, bring the group back into one large group. Then ask how much did the views between group members align or defer reflection memo. Begin by asking each participant to write a reflective memo on how they feel about a topic. It can include any new question that may not have been answered or the individual's perspective. When complete with this task, bringing the group back into one large group. Then ask a few or all participants to share their memos depending on time allowed. Each of these methods, the facilitator will play a vital role in summarizing the responses and relating them to the overall objective of the event. Active facilitation. It is possible while being in neutral facilitator, you are still active. Facilitators who mastered the skill are more likely to have purposeful and focused events. However, use caution as you do not want to over control the group. You just want to simply maintain control to keep the group focused on the task at hand and progressing towards the goal. You can stay active as a facilitator by simply rewarding questions, referencing relevant material, correcting misinformation, asking participants for clarification or reviewing the main points. Often participants will want facilitators to express their perspective. How you respond to will require some consideration on your part. Begin by assessing how comfortable you are with expressing your personal views to the group. Also consider the impact your views could have on their participants. As a facilitator, you want to ensure that you do not alienate any or part of your group because of your views. 7. Chapter 6 - Step 6: Driving Interactions with the Audience: Chapter Six, Step 6, driving interactions with the audience. Experiences for your audience can be good, bad, or even okay. The biggest reasons some experiences for your audience fall into the last two categories is that they are born as a facilitator. You do not want to turn your rooms of attentive alert participants into sleepy zombies, constantly checking their phone or counting slides until the end. As a facilitator, it is necessary for you to practice your facilitation skills, including the structure of your presentation. These are key to making your event equality event. Even the little things can make the difference in your interactions with the audience, like your body language and the tone of your voice can help to keep your audience in tune. Tips to command attention. The following tips are great tools you can use to command attention with your participants. Something shocking, how you start your event can set the tone for the entire event. When you begin, do not start with something gentle or conventional introduction. Why not lead with a tease of what the objective is for learning at the event. Inspire the interests of what they will get right from the start. This will help people stay intrigued to find out how they can get to the objective. You can also start this session with an eye-opener or surprising statistic. Share a story. It is natural for humans to listen to stories. This method has been a social tool, use it throughout time to share experiences. This makes it far easier for an individual to relate and listen to statements or facts. You can't transform anything you are covering into a story format. A key aspect here is to use a combination of invented and real life examples to illustrate your points. The more you are able to weave a story approach into your event, the more attention you may see from your participants. Get off script. Yes, you should plan for your facilitation beforehand and have your ideas and objectives clearly aligned. You should know the objective and methods frontwards and backwards. This will allow you to abandon the cue cards altogether and just go, you should know the subject matter and be able to move it to gaining the attention of your group. One thing that will for sure disengage your participants is if you are simply reading from slides or no cards, they will likely feel as though you could have simply just sent the same information in an email and say them their valuable time. So go off script. You do not want your audience to hear a monotonous droning on and on. You want the audience to feel as though you are fluidly talking to them. And it was not as simple rehearsal of droning on emotional inflections. As a facilitator, you need to be skilled at inflecting, uh, what you are facilitating emotionally. You should be able to inflict a motion in to the conversations. This can help act as a guide for your participants. Be excited when the audience develops a solution. Be animated as you are in front of the groups. Use emotional fluctuations in your voice. This adds character and texture to your words. Your emotional inflection will separate you from the group reading a presentation and you actively engaging the power of loud and soft. One thing that effective facilitators are skilled at doing is inflecting different tone in the speech. If you maintain a constant tone, you'll begin to see your participants drift off into boredom. It is understandable that some subject matters will be more compelling and important than others. However, as you see the power of a loud and soft tone, you can accentuate the subject. Speaking softly when you can't afford to, helps you to be able to bring the group back on track when you use a higher volume to highlight important concepts or points, differentiating pace. Much like using aloud and soft, you will also want to vary your pacing. There are instances when talking quickly, when it comes to background information that some may already be aware of. Alternatively, when you need to drive home a point, it is important to slow your pace to ensure everyone understands the importance of the information as well. Silence can be very powerful. Keep in mind, you do not want to use it predictable pattern for your speech. Call-outs. Using calls as a facilitator will require that you apply some improvising skills. Since you often will not have the luxury of knowing your audience before your facilitation, you will need to predict the willingness of the individuals in your group to call upon. When you get individual people involved in the facilitation, you increase the group engagement. Obviously, this will vary from facilitation to facilitation. But ultimately, you want to ensure that the audience is engaged. Simple call outs in the group could be like, I see you in the back. Then wait for someone to look around and see if it is you are talking to or single someone from the back of the room by pointing or making a connection with that person. Bring the jokes. Regardless of the seriousness of the topic. Every topic deserves some kind of humorous break. As the facilitator, it is your role to help your group find humor throughout the event. When you can get the group to laugh or smile, you have grabbed your attention. Now, it is important that you are keeping your humor appropriate to the subject, but do not be afraid to put yourself out of a normal boundary. Also, if you fall into something funny throughout your event, this often can go a long way for the likability of your group. Drop the data statistics. While they are great information. Are often engagement killers. When you need to use statistics as part of your facilitation, use them as a background to be a visualization independent of your event. Your participants did not come to the event to raise statistics. They could have gotten in an e-mail. While the data may be necessary information for your facilitation, do not allow it to be the main points and take away from the growth or learning the event is designed to achieve. Do not read. We touched on this a bit before. But the most important thing you need to remember as a facilitator is that you should never just read to your group. Reading directly from slides, no cards, or any other method takes away from your credibility and is boring to the audience. If you are using slides, they should be able to stand on their own without the need of being read to slide that should be limited to the amount of work content that they contain. Furthermore, many participants will fill in salted by your reading to them as if you do not think they were smart enough to read this and understand on their own. You, as the presenter, make the choices on what your audiences will take away from an event. Using these tips, you can take your facilitation from boring to an engaging experience for your attendees. Positive interactions, for your facilitation. As a facilitator, you will be faced with situations where your audience is not necessarily ideal. Throughout this guide, you have learned that participation is a key to being a great facilitator. However, you need to understand how to guide that participation in a positive way. Participation for the sake of participation is not enough. It will not help you achieve the goal of your training. As the facilitator. You want to keep your participants engaged and wanting more. You want to show them the value they are receiving and connect with them. The following are some ways you can foster engagement that is positive. Raise a hand. Using raise your hand questions can be very effective for facilitation. The questions you ask throughout your facilitation can gradually increase in difficulty. One key thing to remember is that in the first 60 seconds of your facilitation, you need to get a response from the group. This is often when a simple question is great to ask, typically something about the participants individual, and allow them to respond with raising their hands. Now, what do you need to do this? So early in the facilitation, research has found that the first attention lapse happened within the first minute of any presentation. When you apply asking a question of the group, you are sparking their interests right away by engaging them in a connection with you. Raising hand is a great way to do this because it does not encourage the audience to talk and break the group into the process of engaging. Pull the audience. People love to answer polls and allows them to share their opinions without being criticized by others anonymously. This is a great way to incorporate technology into your facilitation. You can post the question on the PowerPoint and how the audience respond using an app on their phone. There are many of these out there in the marketplace that will allow you to do this, like poly everywhere, a popular app that can collect and broadcast results in real-time. Share the slides as you are facilitating your slides or a communication tool. They help your participants be active while you are speaking. You can use a number of different tools to share slides from printing them out for each person or sharing via an app on your smartphone, like Google Slides, or encourage your audience to snap a picture of the slide so that they are connected with a talk or task at hand rather than the information on the slide. You may also call out for specific slides that are important and say, this one is a take-home slide. Get your phone out and take a picture. This allows them not only to get a visual, but also a takeaway. Prompts. One of the best ways to interact with your participants is by using props. These are physical items that increased the sense as you engage with your participants. There will be instances where people can't forget the words you use. But if you use a prop to drive home, the message is solidifies in the memory. Prompts in turn, then turn into memory triggers. And every time someone sees that specific time, it has the potential to trigger their memory. Be active as a facilitator. The last thing you want is for the conversation to be one-sided. You need to encourage the audience to engage. This can be done through pairing audience members off to icebreakers, to team-building exercises. Really, the sky is the limit. The key here is to get them active, get the group talking and engaging with each other. In doing this, you are building an opportunity for the audience to develop skills. These practices help improve communication and can be designed to meet the needs of your overarching objective for the facilitation. Regardless of the method, you choose to remember that it should support your end objective. Repeat that. Researchers have found that when IT person repeats information, they are more likely to recall it later. When you ask your participants to repeat something. This is a key way to not only engage them, but also drive home the objective. Ultimately, you want to ensure that the information and growth that happens throughout the facilitation or lasting and successful for the group. Parking lot questions. It is important that you acknowledge that there will be questions throughout the facilitation. Some will apply to what you are currently discussing. Others will be better served later, we're at the end of the facilitation. In both of these instances, it is a great idea to take questions along the way. Put up a parking lot poster board somewhere in the room you are facilitating and direct the audience that if they have any questions to put them there and they will be answered throughout the day or at the end of the session. If you are working with a technical group, you may have them use their smartphones to text or message questions to a specific link or person. This person will then gather all the information and answer questions at the appropriate time. This helps you to create a more structured question and answer portion of your facilitation rather than just winging it and hoping that the questions at the end of your facilitation aligned with their group's overall objective or needs. The process of doing it this way allows you as a facilitator to control what questions are appropriate for the group. Interactive experience. As a facilitator, you want to ensure that your participants feel that they are part of the event, that there is something in it for them. Having them move around the room or gathering groups. However, you want to make sure that you are not making them feel like they are doing too much. You do not want the group to feel as if the presentation is happening to them. You want them to feel like it is happening for them. You are the one that will be encouraging them to participate and make that participation feel meaningful based on what the overall objective is. As you control the nature of their participation, be smart about how you interact with the participants. Using direct engagement and encouraging thoughts are both excellent ways to engage participants in the experience. You are the groups guide, do not be afraid to help guide them to the outcome the group is seeking. 8. Chapter 7 - Step 7: Wrapping Things Up: Chapter Seven, Step seven, wrapping things up. Effective facilitators work to maximize the learning of each participant they are working with. They want to involve their participants to grow and learn throughout the process. Creating learning opportunities from the moment they enter the door until the last words of the presentation. As a presenter, it is important that you realize that your group will frequently remember most clearly the information that happened in the very beginning and at the closing of the event. Wrapping up strategies. As you begin to wrap your facilitation up, you need to understand the importance of your closing. Effective closings contain a few specific elements. Value for the participant. Actionable tasks, participant accomplishment or completeness. In situations where you may have different sessions for your facilitation. It is a great concept to do many openings and closings for each session. This allows you to drive home different points throughout the facilitation. With a participants having more information that they feel is valuable available to them throughout the process. The following are a few examples of closings that you may find helpful to implement at the end of your facilitation, four columns. This closing, you will ensure that all participants have a blank sheet of paper. Then ask them to draw four columns of a blank paper. Next, how the participants assigned one of the following labels to each column. Fact. Question. Aha, action. Once the group has the columns labeled, then ask them to reflect on the content they just experienced. Then ask them to write within the columns. In the fact column. Asks them to share a fact that they did not know before the event. In the question column asks them to write a question they still have. In the AHA column, asks them to write a moment that gave them a new idea. And in the action column asks them to write one action they are taking with them as they leave the event. Now divide the groups into teams of three or four and share their sheets with each other. Then how the group create a sheet of what they feel where the most important from their discussion. Have the groups share theirs with a large group. My value for this closing, you are going to give each participant approximately two minutes to write down their most valuable lesson from the event. Something that they will be able to apply in their daily life or work environment. Next, you will ask them to pair up with another participant from across the room. Then ask them to share with her partner the things they found useful and how they will apply them. Finally, have a few of the pairs share the value they have found with the rest of the group. Slogans. For this closing, you will divide the group up into small groups of three to five people. Then you will instruct the groups to discuss what they can identify as the most beneficial concepts to take away. Each person should share their thoughts in the small groups. Then the group will develop a slogan that sums up the key takeaways the group had. You will then have each group stand up and share their slogan with a group and their group takeaways. You could even have each group right there slogan on a flip chart around the room for others to be reminded of as you conclude the facilitation. Exit cards. At the end of your facilitation, leave the group with a question that prompts them to respond during the last five minutes. You can post this on the screen, a whiteboard, run a flip chart. Sample prompts could include, share three key takeaways from today's learning. What is one question you still have after today's learning? Is there a subject from today, you feel you would like more guidance? Which topic from the learning that you find was most impactful advice for future self. In this method, you would ask each participant to write a letter to their future self at the beginning of the meeting. Within this letter, you would have them describe their current circumstances and what they think they will gain from the facilitation. Then collect the letters and hold them to redistribute at the end of the workshop and see if they're participants thinking has changed or if they were spot on with your view of the training, you may have some of the participants you have noticed had significant growth throughout the event. Read their letter aloud, and reflect upon the learnings from the day. One sentence. For this method, you will ask your participants to summarize to the learning from the event in one sentence, this sentience shouldn't Corp, who, what, when, where, why, and how. Depending on the size of the group, you may choose to pair individuals up or have them do it independently. After the sentences are completed, then have each person share with the group. As a facilitator, you need to remember that effective openers are the ones that guide the mentality for the event and connect the group with the content. Then in turn, effective closures are what connect the learning with the actions of the participants will take Ford from the event. If participants celebrate and acknowledge that they're learning, it is far more likely that the information has been transmitted into actual practice for the future. 9. Conclusion - How to Facilitate Groups: Conclusion. As a facilitator, you will spend a lot of time sharing the benefits and what type of facilitation are out there. When you love something, you talk about it. When you are passionate about something, you talk about it a lot. You can think of facilitation as a science or an art. And it can be a craft or skill. Honestly, it can be all those things. Ultimately, it comes down to the person who is facilitating you. As you facilitate workshops and grow your skills, you will learn new aspects of yourself and gain more and more experiences. You will meet other facilitators and learn from their styles. Ultimately, remember, you have what it takes to be an exceptional facilitator. You are equipped with the skills and the knowledge from your learning that you can grow and help others achieve their goals. Remember, you know what it takes to be a good facilitator. You know that attention to detail is the key to success. And that's a little things matter. You know what it takes to hold the facilitation together behind the scenes. And there is work to gathering the material and making it actionable for the group. You understand the hours of putting in the work to make the props, flip charts, stationary, and presentations. You know the importance of being able to connect with the group. How to make the participants feel comfortable and know how to create an environment that is stimulating and friendly for everything to flow smoothly. You also know the importance of your listening abilities that as a facilitator, you have to tune in and listen. You need to ensure that your participants feel listened to. While this can be challenging with large groups, you know that this is a part of facilitation that is necessary to help guide discussions that may be heading off target. You know that keeping the group on task and encouraging ideas as part of facilitation. Another important part of facilitation is keeping up with the time. You need to be sure you are valuing your participants time. You may run into situations where the discussion or interaction is great and lose track of time, keeping the group past at break or lunch time. This is a huge mistake for facilitators. You need to keep track of the time and make sure that everything flows well. That discussions are wrapping up as it is time for our break or when the group should be leaving for the day. Your skills and time management are very important as you learn to be a facilitator. As to the timekeeper for the event, you will gain or lose respect from your participants when you fail to adhere to this schedule. As you improve your skills, you will begin to make facilitating look easy. This is because the participants do not see everything happening in the background. They are simply focused on learning and growth. You have done all the work in advance and can make it seem seamless for the group. When you have achieved this, you know, you're doing things right. But don't forget that it is hard work and you need to be on top of your game. It is natural for your audience to want you to join it. This is a good signal as it means that you have gained their trust and they are comfortable asking you to engage with their learning. However, depending on the dynamic of the group joining in, you know, you may not be as effective as continuing to guide them as the facilitator, you would need to know your limits and find a way to engage that makes the group feel you are joining in without actually joining in. Do not forget as a facilitator, you cannot be afraid to sue some good tactics. There will be people that are taking up too much of the group's time. This is where you have to be tactical and find a balance between allowing everyone to have an opinion and not discounting the value of a single person, even when that person contributions may seem valid or relevant. Remember, you are in charge of the group's growth, not a single individual's ego. So you will need to know where to draw the line and keep the group moving along and everyone participating, the majority of the information will come from those participating. So as a facilitator, it is important that you have brilliant questions prepared. You want to encourage the group to think and assess what they're learning objectives are. You provide the question, then give the participants of the tools they need to answer the question. Of course, as a facilitator, you will need to do some talking, but use caution. You do not want to talk to you much? Yes. Talking as part of the job. But it is more important to get the group to communicating and discussing. The voice of the facilitator should be a guide, not a director. It is crucial to encourage the group to participate in their own growth. As a facilitator, you know that staying neutral has great power. You will be a part of many different discussions. And it is important that you keep your opinions to yourself for the majority of the session. You are not the center of the discussion. You are the guide. You present the information and then allow the group to discuss and find the solutions or answers to the questions. Lastly, as a facilitator, you need to be prepared to change as things happen. You need to be flexible and understand that last minute things will come up. They should not completely derail your ability to facilitate. You may run into a situation where you are expecting a group of 630 show up. You need to be able to pivot and change to make the most of the experience. Your ability to remain collected, calm, and cool under pressure is a necessity. You are going to draw from the experiences you have. A good experience will be a great way of things you want to continue to do as a facilitator. However, you will learn even more from your less desirable outcomes as a facilitator. Remember, as you grow in these skills, you will find your passions are what works best for the subject matters you facilitate. To be exceptional as a facilitator, you have to have some level of passion for growth and learning. You have to be prepared to have conversations and help others grow. The best facilitators makes us sessions not only about the group's growth, but also their personal growth and their craft, skill, art, or whatever you want to believe facilitation is, quote, Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn and the quote, Benjamin Franklin, believe in yourself and what you can bring to the world with your ability to teach others, believe in the ideas that you can help others achieve their dreams and goals or improve. You now have the tools and information to begin your journey as a facilitator. It is up to you to decide what you do going forward. Here is to your further success. Keep growing and stay passionate about your work.