Facilitation Skills: Introduction

Introduction: The Art of Group Facilitation

How many meetings have you attended and walked away wondering..
  • What just happened?
  • Why did I invest my time attending this?
  • What would have made that meeting better?

A meeting is a process of coming together for a purpose. Participants typically follow an agenda (No Agenda! No meeting!) and interact with each other. We hold meetings for different purposes: to update members, exchange information, make routine decisions, identify issues, complete a task, build consensus, develop strategic plans, make group decisions or solve problems. Whether you are holding a small, large, regular or special meeting, it is critical to have someone in charge of planning, facilitating and following up after the meeting.

Explore the links on the right to learn or review basic group facilitation skills or tips for running productive meetings.

Sometimes it takes a little more than just a good agenda and snacks! To increase the effectiveness of a meeting and/or to deal with complex issues and decision making, groups will often have a facilitator assist with the meeting.

What is a facilitator?

What is the role of a facilitator?

Adapted with permission from Soil and Water Conservation District Outreach: A Handbook for Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation, 2003.