A facilitator’s skills and qualities
Good listening skills including strategic questioning to be able to understand everyone’s viewpoint properly.
Energy and attention for the job at hand.
Understanding of the aim of the meeting as well as long-term goals of the group.
Confidence that good solutions will be found and consensus can be achieved.
Neutrality on the issues discussed. Trust in the facilitator is dependent on them avoiding manipulating the meeting towards a particular outcome. If this becomes difficult, or you know in advance that you’ll struggle to remain impartial try:
- Stepping out of role and letting someone else facilitate;
- Making it clear when you’re expressing your own opinion and when you’re intervening as a facilitator;
- Trusting that someone else will express your thoughts or feelings on the issue;
- Asking someone else, in advance, to ensure that your opinion is mentioned.
Assertiveness that is not overbearing – know when to intervene decisively and give some direction to the meeting.
Respect for all participants and interest in what each individual has to offer.
Clear thinking – Observation of the whole group. Attend both to the content of the discussion and the process. How are people feeling?