Facilitation Skills: Group Skills

Group Awareness, Management and Exploration Skills

 1. Stages of Group Decision-Making

We have all known the frustrations and challenges that are inherent with group decision-making. Sometimes the end product is not what we thought it would be.


The fact that groups move through stages as they work through the decision-making process to solve problems is well known. Our files yielded three different descriptions of these stages (pdf), each capturing a different flavor of the process.

Kaner (2007, pdf, 274pp.) provides helpful insight into the group decision-making process and the role of the facilitator. Kaner and his associates have developed an explanation of group decision-making that reflects reality. Illustrations of the process along with a frank discussion of the trials and tribulations that face groups and their facilitators, is presented to let you know that if you are struggling or feeling frustrated, it is probably perfectly normal. In addition, this section on group facilitation skills provides some tools to help you as you facilitate different groups tackling different problems, issues and processes. Even the most skilled facilitators continue to learn each time they work with a new group. Enjoy your journey.

2. Intervention Skills

Managing group dynamics can be a challenge for even the most practiced of facilitators. This link offers some tips for working with difficult participants or challenging situations.

  • Ten Difficult Group Participants
  • Parliamentary Procedure



S. Kaner, L. Lind, C. Toldi, S. Fisk, & D. Berger. (2007). Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-making. Second Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. This book is available for purchase. The pdf linked to this page was found March 2016 at  http://knowledgecenter.completionbydesign.org/sites/default/files/198%20Kaner%202007.pdf 


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.