Course Highlights

This facilitator training course will:

  • Outline a process for building a meaningful agenda.
  • Provide a model (FOCUS) for framing discussions and setting expectations.
  • Offer a framework for creating good questions (INQUIRE).
  • Provide tools for managing conflict related to issues and personalities.
  • Introduce multiple tools for building consensus.

Course Overview

The group met, discussion happened, people agreed to take action, and surprise! Only half of what was discussed got done. Frustrated, the group then scheduled another meeting, and the cycle continued.

What went wrong? Chances are, not everyone had an equal part in creating, discussing, and buying into the decided solution.

If this sounds familiar, facilitation skills training could help you get back on track. This program covers the basics of group dynamics, the essentials of discussion management, and the fundamental skills needed to facilitate meetings.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Explain different types of facilitation and the skillsets needed for success in each.
  • Prepare for a meeting.
  • Follow best practices for creating complete and concise agendas.
  • Identify when and how to use ground rules.
  • Follow the FOCUS framework to launch a meeting.
  • Outline best practices for using parking lots.
  • Leverage anchors, echoes, loops, and signposts to keep meeting participants focused.
  • Discuss the importance of staying neutral as a facilitator.
  • Step in and out of the facilitator’s role.
  • Use the INQUIRE model to develop a robust set of questions.
  • Demonstrate summarizing, reflecting, probing, and linking skills.
  • Apply the Ladder of Influence to help participants find common ground.
  • Explain conditions that would suggest a team is in need of mediation or arbitration in addition to or in place of facilitation.
  • Identify solutions to common challenges meeting facilitators routinely face.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s). 

Workshop Outline

Wearing the Conductor’s Hat: Steps for Getting Ready to Facilitate

Foolish is the facilitator who arrives at a meeting without a solid understanding of the purpose, desired outcome, participants, potential problems, and proposed process the group will follow.  This opening discussion reviews the fundamentals of setting the stage for success.  After learning the concepts, participants will analyze a meeting they’ve recently facilitated and evaluate the extent to which they were prepared to tackle the task.  Next, the group will shape the agenda for the day and set personal goals for the session.

Leaving the Station: Foolproof Opening Moves

When a meeting is kicked off correctly, it can seem as if the stars have aligned and magic has happened. In reality, all that has occurred is a smooth and successful launch. This seminar segment looks at essential steps for setting the pace, tone, and expectations for a meeting. Participants will practice a proven method for engaging attendees early and discuss methods for establishing ground rules, using parking lots, and reviewing agendas, objectives, and deliverables.

Stoking the Fire Box: Questions to Move Discussions and More

“Imagine …,” “consider …,” “see in your mind’s eye ….” Framing questions in a way that makes information personal and relevant is one way to engage meeting attendees.  In this part of the course, we will look at framing and questioning skills.  After a series of practice activities designed to help participants generate robust answers during the discussions they facilitate, we will look at summarizing skills, managing different points of view, and uncovering root causes. 

Staying On Track: Keeping Information Straight

It is easy to lose focus during lengthy discussions. In this part of the workshop, we will examine methods for giving clear directions, checking in, categorizing information, and organizing choices to make decisions easier.

Wheels Together: Building Consensus

There are fundamental reasons people disagree. In this part of the program, participants will discover the source of disagreement and practice techniques for guiding a group toward consensus when they do not share the same interests or points of view.

Dysfunction Junction: Reacting Well at the Conflict Crossroads

From late arrivals to interruptions, bad things can happen to good meetings. This portion of the course looks at a multitude of problems for which facilitators should be prepared to manage: competing agendas, strong personalities, peripheral discussions, and side conversations.
By the conclusion of this hands-on workshop, participants should have a clear idea of what good facilitation is and the tools needed to manage most workplace meetings.