What facilitation is? That was the question addressed in a morning seminar by Grape People. The company specializes in facilitating trainings and workshops and offer consultancy services related to these things.
The mission of Grape People is to get organizations to facilitate themselves. The process is quite simple, and can be applied to any group situation, where participation and involvement is desired. Therefore by learning a few basic principles anyone can easily become a facilitator.
How to facilitate?
Miikka from Grape People defined facilitation as combining the knowledge of a certain group. It’s about bringing this knowledge to the surface, making it visible and grouping it to gain understanding and new solutions. Sounds simple, right? The aim is usually to make sense of a problem, an issue or a topic, with hopes of finding solutions or new ideas in the end.
The key elements of any facilitated gathering are clarifying the issue and/or goals, creating the solutions and summarizing the action points and what will happen after the workshop or meeting. By keeping this simple structure as a backbone to a discussion, the facilitator is able to ease the thinking process as the participants are concentrating on one piece of the puzzle at a time. Without a structure it is easy to jump directly to e.g. thinking about solutions even before clearly defining the problem.
- Get the participants talking within the first 30 minutes or they don’t open their mouth at all.
- The solutions and answers are created together in the group and are not brought in by the facilitator.
- Most problems that occur during group gatherings are related to the process. By structuring the gatherings and planning the meetings and workshops these can be reduced.
- The ownership of the created ideas should remain with the participants. Therefore it should not be the facilitator’s task to summarize!