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At a meeting, a facilitator accepts responsibility to help the group move through the agenda in the time available and make necessary decisions and plans for implementation in order to accomplish the groups common goals.

A facilitator does not make decisions for the group, but suggests ways that will help the group move forward. The responsibility of the facilitator is to the group and its work rather than to the individuals within the group.

Tips to being a good facilitator:

Know the overall agenda - What is the big picture? The objectives should be clearly understood.

Know everyone's name - Make a seating chart, or have everyone wear name tags.

Call people in order - Make note of the order in which they raised their hands, so they will pay close attention to the speaker.

Keep eye contact - acknowledge someone who's raised their hand with a nod, so they may lower their hand and listen better to the current speaker.

Make the group come up with a proposal - summarize what's been said and formulate a consensus proposal.

Adhere to the ground rules established - early intervention to enforce the ground rules establishes the seriousness of the facilitator

Specific Tasks of the Facilitator:
  • Help development the agenda
  • Set-up the room
  • Make sure there is a time keeper and note taker
  • Review the agenda and ground rules
  • Ensure balanced participation
  • Keep the group focused on the agenda item and task at hand
  • Protect the process by enforcing time allotments.
  • Encourage expression of various viewpoints
  • Keep looking for minor points of agreement and state them
  • Focus on closure
  • Make sure that the next meeting is scheduled
  • Use humor to alleviate tension
  • Remain neutral
  • Take regular breaks

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