There’s a difference between a teacher, a speaker, a preacher, and a facilitator. A facilitator’s job has three parts.
- Lead the gathering or group
- Guide towards goals
- Lead by example
A excellent facilitator always starts by setting the tone of the group. A facilitator is not expected to know it all, nor are they expected to drive everything. Insecure leaders do this. Secure leaders follow the maxim that, “A good leader makes the people believe they did it themselves.” You have knowledge and experience that you can and should share; however, you do not have to be the expert. Allow your participants to teach you. Also, remember that the mood of the facilitator will set the tone for the entire workshop, and that enthusiasm is contagious. Strive to be positive, be human, and have fun in every group, no matter what its about.
Six Tips for Excellent Facilitation
1. Set aside your needs in favor of the needs of the group.
2. Establish a friendly atmosphere and open sharing of ideas.
3. Encourage participants to take risks. When in doubt, check with the group. It’s not your responsibility to know everything.
4. Be aware of participants engagement: Observe what is said, who is speaking, and what is really being said.
5. Respect is the critical ingredient in effective groups.
6. Successful groups can be uncomfortable. Address conflict and do not try to avoid it. Create an atmosphere of trust so that disagreements can be brought into the open.