Mentally, that’s just about how long we can expect our brains to stay focused on one person reading a list of topics, rules, or changes to policy and procedure. If it’s a corporate-type decision that’s already been made and you’re just imparting the news, there really isn’t much point in discussing. But it does make a big difference to help the team understand why the decision was made. Meeting ground rules for facilitators were thankfully left up to me as the GM (for the store-based ones), but having them in the first place was not optional. In some cases, the top leaders want feedback or buy-in from the people attending. Otherwise, participants may feel uncomfortable and unappreciated and won’t participate well later on.
To go into a session without sufficient planning is a recipe for disaster. Whenever you facilitate, you should have a complete agenda plan that has been designed with your participants in mind and a clear working plan in place. Go into a meeting with the best plan of action you possibly can, but be open to change if that’s what the group needs. In this scenario, a facilitator is there to guide the participants through the process and facilitate a successful outcome, not to tell the group what to do.
Facilitation in Agile: What It Is, How It Works, and Why You Need It
While you may likely have one main point of contact, this may not provide sufficient insight to deliver the session they need. Critical thinking is one of the top skills required of workers today. Learn how to design and implement learning initiatives that raise the capacity of workers to critically think, fix, solve, and improve work. Whether it’s teaching students in school or working with adult learners, facilitation is a helpful skillset for lecturers and educators. Workshops, group-lead discussions and collaborative work are all formats a skilled teacher will employ when engaging students, and they all benefit from using a facilitative approach. As a small, manageable microcosm of team dynamics, a meeting is also an ideal place for newbies to practice and apply knowledge of facilitation.
- Read on to explore what facilitation skills are, how they could be useful in your life and work, and ideas on how to practice them further.
- Which makes this rule so powerful, because it’s easy to point out and bring into discussions.
- One important aspect of facilitation is learning to be comfortable standing in this storm and to not be afraid of conflict or passionate discussion.
- Many managers may find this difficult, but remember that facilitation is participatory by nature.
- A workshop is one of the most common examples of a process where facilitation is used, though an effective facilitator can bring their skills to the table any time a group comes together to get things done.
- Facilitators can accomplish this by first establishing shared understanding and consensus around the decision being made, and then they create opportunities for input and evaluation.
The key here is to understand the needs of your group, whether they relate to technology, access, ability or anything else and ensuring that your session is as inclusive as possible. This includes not only speaking to your participants but being sure to listen. Don’t make assumptions and really listen so that you can account for what your participants need and make your sessions inclusive for everyone attending. Engaging with other members of the group before the meeting can also be useful.
How do you chair difficult meetings?
There are some exceptions to this rule, especially when it comes to internal facilitation, where a manager may be facilitating a workshop with their team. It’s always helpful to approach discussions with an impartial, listener’s mindset, but when you’re also the decision maker, it’s impossible to be completely neutral. We also touched on the fact that facilitation is a set of skills and competencies that everyone – not just facilitators – can use to create shared understanding, supercharge group work and enable teams to do incredible things. Facilitation processes are participatory and interactive by definition. A workshop is one of the most common examples of a process where facilitation is used, though an effective facilitator can bring their skills to the table any time a group comes together to get things done.
Knowing your role in any given workshop, training, coaching or facilitation scenario is integral in providing what the participants and organization needs. If you are leading a discursive training session, you may take a different approach that does have more clear conclusions and a more rigid agenda. The key is to know what the purpose of a session is, and what your role in that agile team facilitation session is. Being clear on what you are doing is integral to ensuring you take the correct approach and stay focused. Session Organization involves coordinating administrative and logistics requirements across all of the phases. Preparation is about ensuring the facilitator understands the purpose, the plan, and the environment of the facilitation before walking into the room.
Deliver better workshops without the hassle
Not to be mistaken for lazy facilitation, Light Facilitation is still active and attentive to a group’s purpose, energy, needs, and next steps. Light Facilitation is sufficient for most kinds of collaborative work, and the increased productivity and deep thinking a team can achieve when they’re allowed to just focus on the work, is substantial. In the most successful teams I’ve seen, everyone on the team is willing and able to step up and practice light facilitation when needed.Most teams and workflows benefit from regular Light Facilitation.
At its core, facilitation is about holding a group process as participants navigate deep and shallow waters, turbulence and calm. Methods, tools and frameworks will in and of themselves help improve your events and meetings. But reaching breakthroughs and achieving higher potential takes more than that.A highly skilled facilitator embodies certain qualities in their posture and body language, in the tone of their voice and the micro-expressions of their faces. In the next part we will look at some elements of the facilitation mindset (the “heart” of facilitation) and tips on how to practice them. After taking part in this training, Issam, a 26-year-old student of business and accounting, commented “I don’t plan on becoming a professional facilitator. But taking the facilitator’s point of view has really changed how I behave in meetings”.
What are facilitation skills?
Outdoor activities, including sending participants for a brisk walk, can do wonders, and so can a well-thought-out use of music in a workshop (including online!). An excellent facilitator develops a sense of what the group needs and has a suite of team building activities they can employ at a moment’s notice too. Any group of people has its own dynamics dependent on the specific interrelations between its members. As a facilitator, you want to create a participative atmosphere where everyone is involved. In most cases, it is necessary to inform the client about the process that you are planning, and, in general, to maintain steady communication to make sure that all preparations go smoothly.
You can say “That’s agile team facilitation basic rules an interesting issue, but perhaps we should get back to the original discussion.” It is important to make everyone feel welcome and listened to at the beginning of the meeting. A way to approach non-participants is to provide opportunities for smaller group discussions or pair-share discussions. A second strategy is to ask opinion questions occasionally (e.g., “How do you feel about this?”). This may encourage participation by reducing participants’ fear of answering incorrectly. Another strategy is to have participants write out their answers to a question. Having the words written out may make it easier for a shy or fearful person to speak up.
Bring closure to each item
Beyond this, facilitation’s general ethos helps support a group to think creatively. Facilitation is all about unleashing the creative potential of a group. Sometimes this means running sessions explicitly designed to support ideation and innovation or using brainstorming techniques to generate creative ideas. Facilitation is an approach, mindset and set of skills that a facilitator or leader employs in order to support a group during collaborative work. These folks can turn your meeting into a nightmare if they don’t feel that their influence and role are acknowledged and respected.
His words say a lot about why it’s so important to train more people in facilitation skills. While Agile’s goal is to keep meetings collaborative and engaging, that’s certainly not always the reality. We’re sure that everyone has experienced a Scrum Master dominating a meeting while the rest of the team sits quietly waiting for the meeting to finally end. Mitigating and preventing those types of meetings is one of the primary goals of facilitation.
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Initially the individual members of a group need to express their own points of view with the help of a facilitator. The agile team facilitator’s responsibility is to help participants do so effectively. Let’s look at a facilitation example during a meeting using convergent and divergent thinking. Originally created over 100 years ago by Henry Martyn Robert, this is still considered THE guide for meeting ground rules for facilitators. Many were run by people who had no clue about meeting ground rules for facilitators, as it wasn’t anything we were ever trained on. In those cases, I do think some sort of physical and mental break is a good thing, so a 5-minute stretch break, or have the coffee and snacks in an adjacent room, and have a set time slot dedicated to that.