The other day, my rotation came up to co-facilitate one of our weekly meetings here at the Eco-Village, which went really well. Outside of the Eco-Village, I facilitate a number of meetings for sustainability-oriented organizations as a Consultant and have learned some best-practices over the years that I’d like to share with you.
1. Listen: Listen closely listen to everything that is said and watch people’s body language as well.
2. Develop the Agenda: Before the meeting, create an agenda that has clear items that lead to actual decisions.
3. Serve Everyone: As a facilitator, you are there to serve the entire group, which means you don’t take anyone’s side.
4. Steward the Process: Your job is to ensure the decision making process moves forward – the group’s job is to decide.
5. Conflict is Normal: Expect occasional conflict and work to build areas of agreement with the group.
6. Set Ground Rules: Going over some common ground rules at the start helps enforce bad behavior if it occurs.
7. Decide how to Decide: Every group needs to agree on what their decision making method is before they start making decisions.
8. Pay attention to time: Remind the group how they are doing on time and/or appoint a timekeeper to help ensure things keep moving.
9. Use your toolbox: One example: Use a stack (which creates a list of who will speak next so people don’t interrupt).
10. Practice: We learn facilitation by doing it. We get better at it by reflecting on how we did and constantly learning new ways to do it better.
I wish you the best as you facilitate future meetings! I also welcome any facilitation tips you would add to this Top 10 list.