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If you are looking to help your team deliver their goal. You chair a meeting or you are involved within any group of people then you could be a facilitator.

The role of a facilitator is to help their team move forward in the most efficient and valuable way.

This article is designed to help you improve your skills and drive you team towards success.

Here are 14 tactics to improve group facilitation.

1: Plan your facilitation process

It is important to have a clear and structured process to any facilitation. You should focus on how long you want the session to last, locations, software requirements, items such as whiteboard, pens or paper should all be planned and taken care of well ahead of time.

2: Define Expectations

When inviting guest to your facilitation sessions it is important they know what is expected. Define their expectations of what you are looking for and how you are planning to run the meeting. Including different stages and timeframes. Each person should know what to expect and be on board.

3: Remove Human Bias

Human bias is the number one roadblock to good ideas. Using a tool like Enswarm before any face to face can remove human bias and generate ideas freely in preparation for a meeting or facilitation event.

4: Identify The Problem

You would be surprised how often different people within a group see different problems. You should let the group know at the start what problem you are addressing, why you want to solve it, what you are looking to achieve and who will benefit from a solution or improvement.

5: Ask questions

Your job as a facilitator is to encourage questions, guide discussion and deliver output/actions.

That process starts with questions. Start by asking an open question that relates to the problem for example. “Why do people not feel free to raise new ideas in the group” then follow this up with questions that demonstrate you have been listening but also guide the group forward.

6: Powerpoint Limits

If you are using powerpoint every 8-10 slides step away from the presentation and interact with the audience through Q&A. Any longer and you will start to lose audience engagement. Additionally keep information to a minimum and images relevant to the topic.

7: Remove The Jargon

A facilitator is supposed to make is easy for people to speak naturally and engage with an audience to extract the best ideas, discussions and actions. Remove the use of any jargon, keep the language simple and ensure everyone understands exactly what you are saying.

8:  Be Independant

Everyone must feel they can speak. More importantly everyone should speak. Guide the conversation in such a way that everyone gets their turn and is comfortable in putting forward their ideas. A tool like Enswarm that removes human bias and anonymises contributions is a great way of getting ideas out of quieter members of a group.

9: Keep Engagement High

If you lose your audience you are wasting your time. Be open, approachable and use jargon free language. Use your planned and approved structure to keep things moving forward.

10: Agree On Actions

Agree as a group on the next actions. There is little value to be gained by getting agreement from 70% of a group. The remaining 30% will rebel and push back when it comes to actioning items. Get complete agreement on actions to move forward.

11: Roadblocks To Actions

Now that you have agreed upon actions you need to identify all of the roadblocks to success and how you will overcome them.

12:Assign responsibilities and deadlines

Once you have agreed actions someone needs to deliver them. Work through the tasks and assign the most suitable person. Put a deadline next to each task and assign an order of completion to form a early programme of work.

13: Identify dependencies

One of the biggest mistakes we see is people agreeing on actions but not identifying dependencies. The result is someone delivers late or doesn’t get a piece of information from another member of a team and everything grinds to a halt. Once you have your actions agreed and owners assigned go through the list and ask the question “what information or help do you need from other people in the team to deliver this”

14: Talk less

You are there to facilitate not take over the conversation. Keep the conversation moving forward, provide a structure, interject with questions at the right time and deliver a positive outcome. Remember the more group members speak the more the problem is exposed.