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Tools for a Better Tomorrow

Facilitating Meetings Resources

By Penn Garvin

Updated July 20, 2017

Responsibilities of a Meeting Facilitator
Plan Agenda.
Set the emotional climate
Help group to clarify goals and desired outcomes
Help group to stay focused
Use various techniques to move the agenda forward
Protects all members of the group from attack
Helps find win/win solutions
Makes sure that everyone has the opportunity to participate.
Periodically summarizes the group consensus on issues to validate and clarify the progress of the discussion
Good Skills for Facilitator to Develop
Active listening. …
Brainstorming. …
Consensus-building skills. …
Conflict resolution. …
Agenda Planning​​

If at all possible, plan the agenda before this meeting. It is easier to modify it later than to start from scratch at the beginning of the meeting. Common elements of a good agenda are
1.Something to gather people and to bring their thoughts to the present.
2.Agenda review – it’s a good idea to have the agenda written on large sheets of newsprint or on a blackboard, so that everybody can see it. By reviewing the agenda the facilitator can give the participants a chance to modify the proposed agenda and then to contract to carry it out.
3.Main items – if more than one item needs to be dealt with it is important to set priorities.
If at all possible, start with something, which can be dealt with reasonably easily. This will give the group a sense of accomplishment and energy.
The more difficult or lengthier items, or those of most pressing importance, come next. If there are several, plan to have quick breaks between them to restore energy and attention.
A big item may be broken into several issues and discussed one at a time to make it more manageable. Or it may be helpful to suggest a process of presenting the item with background information and clarification, breaking into small groups for idea sharing and making priorities, and then returning to the main group for discussion.
Finish with something short and easy to provide a sense of hope for next time.
4.Announcements
5.Evaluation – serves several purposes: to provide a quick opportunity for people to express their feelings about the proceedings and thus to provide a sense of closure to the experience and to learn to have better meetings in the future.
Estimate the time needed for each item and put it on the agenda charts.
This will:
Indicate to participants the relative weights of the items.
Help participants tailor their participation to the time available.
Give a sense of the progress of the meeting.