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Group Facilitation: Look for These Qualities When Hiring an Expert

February 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 176

Group facilitation is a management process used to run an effective meeting or conference regarding the planning, strategy, and implementation of associated discussions. Activities during an observed session can be performed systematically or in an unfolding manner based on the needs of all involved parties. A facilitator offers guidance to a group of individuals who are uncertain as to what they want to achieve or how to reach already set goals. Assistance can be provided during initial planning only or be employed through the implementation phase. A professional is proficient in evaluating meeting results to determine if goals have been met. This individual in most scenarios serves as a neutral party; however, they can also have a direct role where their expertise or suggestions are used to determine a course of action. The service can be obtained for purposes such as training, conflict resolution, team building, strategic planning, or to manage hostile discussion environments.

What Skills Separate a Facilitation Master from the Average Service Provider?

Specific facilitation skills ensure an organization is obtaining someone qualified to assist with important tasks. A few skills are prominent among all facilitators such as the ability to manage a safe atmosphere or effective tool usage. Exceptional specialists are able to establish a high energy level and then maintaining it for the duration of the event. This capability is necessary to engage participants because it keeps a lighter atmosphere and gains individual interest. The supplied energy makes participants feel like whatever topic being discussed is important. Portrayed self-confidence encourages others to have the same approach as the meeting or event progresses.

A facilitation expert will pause throughout a meeting to give participants the chance to voice their opinion, discuss the current topic, and work toward a decision. This pause is an expectation for the group to work over the topic and make a solid decision in determining the method of implementation. How questions are asked before this pause will directly affect the amount of feedback provided. Exceptional professionals ask questions in a way that portrays an easy to work from vision. They analyze the answers as they are being provided in an effort to introduce follow-up questions or to revisit what has been said. These questions can be of a probing style to challenge participants to seek alternative solutions. Others are simply designed to redirect the conversation when it goes off topic or becomes stuck on a particular item.

An experienced individual is capable of empowering the group rather than handling them and makes certain all agenda items have been appropriately covered. They should be able to differentiate from passiveness and necessary neutrality, meaning assumptions or questionable points are challenged appropriately. Organizations seeking assistance should look for these specific qualities and understand every situation is different. Experts offering customized plans based on the situation are often a good choice because they can flexibly meet exact needs. Group facilitation can be viewed as a simple service; however, it takes a truly skilled individual to perform in a manner that meets the needs of companies today.

Group facilitation can be viewed as a science where the right atmosphere creates astonishing results. Facilitation experts with advanced skills offer companies increased benefits.

Source: EzineArticles
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