Experienced group facilitators know there are many elements that need to come together in order for any type of facilitation or facilitated session to succeed. Our professional facilitators are highly trained and skilled in different kinds of facilitation techniques. Below are some pointers to keep in mind the next time you’re faced with the task of heading a group.

Come Prepared

This means knowing the purpose behind the meeting as well as having a clear idea of who the participants are and the nature of their organization or business. Participants tend to take on the attitude and mindset of facilitators (at least in the beginning of the session), so be sure to project an energetic and confident demeanor.

Create the Right Environment

Make sure the site fosters group work and cooperation. Give participants ample room to move around and break up into small discussion groups if needed. The room should be small enough for everyone to hear one another for an easy and clear exchange of ideas but not too limited that your participants feel closed in or trapped. Their mindset will influence the degree of openness and cooperation, so aim for a relaxed and comfortable space.

Establish Clear Expectations

Doing this on the onset ensures that everyone begins the session on the same page. Participants need to be clear on what they expect from you and from each other, and you need to spell out your expectations of them as well.

Keep the Group Engaged

Prepare various activities for your group, so their interest does not wane as the day progresses. Move from large to small group discussions, show a short video, invite a speaker, play games — these and many other activities help ensure that you hold the attention of the group until the end. Remember to choose activities that are relevant to the goals of the group.

Manage the Process

Don’t let one person dominate the entire session. Make sure everyone gets a chance to voice their opinion, ask questions and be heard. Experienced meeting facilitators know that eliciting the entire group’s cooperation and participation is crucial to success.

Employ a Variety of Facilitation Styles

At the beginning of the session when you need to set the tone and direction for the group, a direct and authoritative facilitation style can be very effective. Once the group begins to work well together, however, it may be time to adopt a more consultative approach. Seasoned corporate facilitators know that groups need to own the process, so they feel more invested in the outcome.

Follow these helpful reminders from our certified facilitators and experience a new level of success at your next group session.