What is Facilitation Skills?

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Facilitation skills are essentially the ability to enable, guide or facilitate a group of people towards attaining an objective. It has been described as “the art of guiding groups to consensus” by the Center for Collaborative Leadership.

Facilitators should have good communication skills and be able to manage different styles of people. Typically facilitators are responsible for delivering an agenda, ensuring that all the participants actively participate and guiding them through the process.

Good facilitators should be able to handle difficult group dynamics, facilitate brainstorming sessions and act as a neutral party during discussions. Some of these core skills can be learnt with training but it takes time to become good at it. And if the facilitator doesn’t practice and hone the skills it might seem like a lot of effort spent on nothing. Here we explore some of the most important facilitation skills and what they entail.

What is Facilitation?

Facilitation is an active process which involves getting people involved, sharing authority and responsibility to achieve greater results through group participation. It involves guiding a group through achieving an objective.

The facilitator is responsible for organising the meeting, ensuring that the right ground rules are set and running the process of discussion. They are also responsible for bringing various groups together to facilitate collaboration rather than competition.

What is facilitation skills?

Facilitation Skills is essentially getting people together to achieve an objective. This can be for instance to make a decision, or perform an activity. These are also known as meeting facilitation skills and often involve bringing different stakeholders together to share their views. A facilitator’s responsibility is to ensure that the right ground rules are set in place, get everyone actively involved and that the tasks are carried out efficiently.

What is the difference between a Facilitator and an Organiser?

This might be a fine line but facilitators are more inclined towards building rapport with group members, ensuring participation from all before discussions start, setting up an agenda and getting the ground rules agreed upon by everyone in advance unlike organisers who may focus on getting a job done. Organisers handle logistics and get the job done. They may also be responsible for reminding people of meetings or tasks assigned to them.

What is the difference between leadership and Facilitation?

Leadership involves motivating a group to get things done whereas facilitation is about guiding a group through various processes. In group facilitation, the facilitator sets the rules of the game whereas when it comes to leadership, the leader sets the vision and goals. A facilitator may also act as a chair or an “umpire” in meetings.

What are the qualities of good facilitation skills?

The job of a facilitator can be tricky because they need to please everyone in order to get a job done. A good facilitator should be:

*Trustworthy: Because they need to ensure that all group members actively participate and follow the rules of engagement, it is important for the facilitator to be trustworthy because this builds confidence in their capabilities. The tasks completed are only as effective as the trust placed upon them.

*Able to handle difficult group dynamics: A good facilitator should be able to handle different kinds of groups well. They must also have the ability to adapt themselves when faced with awkward situations in order to get the job done.

*Able to set up an agenda/time frame, keep track of time and ensure that all tasks are carried out in a timely manner: A good facilitator should be able to set up an agenda which outlines the timeline of discussion and ensures that all tasks are carried out during the scheduled time.

*Able to keep track of participants: The facilitator must be able to keep track of everyone’s ideas, comments and views in order to get a complete picture. He/She should be a good listener and must have the ability to take charge when required.

*Highly organized: A facilitator needs to keep track of several ideas and tasks at a time. He/she needs to make sure that all key decisions are made efficiently, keeping in mind that one idea is as important as the next.

What is the importance of good facilitation skills?

The importance of good facilitation skills is critical during meetings or workshops where many people are involved. It is impossible to get a job done if no-one participates in the process. This means that it takes skillful negotiation, engagement and discussion techniques to make sure that everyone is on board and involved.

As it is impossible to be an effective leader without good leadership skills, it is also difficult to be an effective facilitator if you are not someone who listens well and has strong interpersonal communication skills.

What are some of the most important skills for a facilitator?

The most important skills for a facilitator to have are confidence and clarity in their communication. Being able to establish control over the group is also essential since it allows you to take charge of the proceedings, directing them towards achieving your desired outcome. However, if a facilitator tries too hard to control a group they may come across as aggressive or intimidating. It is therefore important to be able to establish control in a way that allows you to take charge of the proceedings while still displaying rapport with your audience.

Why should you learn these core skill sets?

Facilitation skills are necessary for most careers including sales, training and management etc. This is because people who do not have good facilitation skills are not able to gain the commitment of their audience. It can also be difficult for people with poor facilitation skills to keep large groups focused on the topic at hand, leading to unproductive meetings.

How can you learn to be a facilitator?

The best way to learn these core skill sets is by enrolling in a training course. Most facilitators complete courses in fields such as psychology, counselling and teaching/education since they teach skills which are necessary for facilitation.

How can you improve your facilitation skills?

Facilitation skills can be improved by teaching yourself how to practice active listening. This is an important skill to develop since it allows you to gain understanding of the group dynamics within the conversation.

Active listening requires that participants are focused on key areas such as: learning about what matters most, making connections with other people’s views and spending time elaborating on what you have heard. It also focuses on building relationships with the group.

Active listening will allow you to improve your leadership abilities since it allows you to develop stronger relationships with people in your group. These relationships act as powerful motivators for them when considering their level of commitment towards various tasks, leading to better performance and productivity results.

How to train in the most important techniques of facilitation?

The best way to learn how to facilitate a session is by taking a course. It is important that you find an instructor who specialises in facilitation since they will be familiar with the best techniques to use. Orientation courses for facilitators are mandatory for some organisations and it has been found that they can really help you to improve your skills.

How to do effective meeting facilitation skills?

Facilitation skills are necessary in order to make effective meetings and training sessions. A facilitator is someone who helps guide a group of people through the process of meeting and ensures that each individual has equal input. Without facilitation, it can be difficult for members to share their ideas or opinions freely.

The first step to effective facilitation skills is making sure that everyone participates in the meeting. This can be achieved by asking open-ended questions and starting with small talk to set the tone for sharing opinions.

A facilitator must have a high level of patience, an excellent sense of humor, and a strong understanding of the topic being discussed so that they may help guide the discussion when necessary. Having good facilitation skills is important in order to lead the group to an effective decision.

Asking the right questions: 

When you lead the discussion, ask the right questions that your participants want answers to. You can’t just ask anything. Your question must be meaningful and relevant to the topic under discussion.

Focus on getting details:

When people talk, they forget to provide all necessary information for a decision making process. As a facilitator you should always encourage

Process design:

You must be able to design the process of the meeting. How many times should you meet? What kind of activities will take place in your meetings? Who will do what and when? Make sure everything is neatly scheduled and managed within a framework that makes sense for your organization.


Before starting your meeting, make sure you have everything that is required for the process. Do not wait until just before the meeting to start collecting agenda items, doing research or getting necessary materials together.

Time management:

Time is money in any business. Meetings are no exception. As a facilitator you should be able to manage the time of the process. Make sure you do not overlook important points and that you take care of essential issues within the time available.

Creating a culture:

As an effective facilitator, you should always aim to create a positive culture where all participants feel comfortable with each other and the process itself. People need to be encouraged to participate actively rather than just waiting for their turn to speak.

Initiating activities:  

As the facilitator, it is your responsibility to set the tone of the meeting from the very first moment until its end. You need to clearly describe what you want as a final result and then strengthen that intention throughout your process.

Maintaining control:

Even if you are an experienced facilitator, situations can sometimes get out of hand. This is why you should always try to stay in control of the process and manage it effectively. Keeping on track with your main objective while allowing freedom for other ideas to be shared will support this idea of yours.

Clarifying misunderstandings:

It’s normal for things to not be fully understood by everyone. Since as a facilitator you are dealing with experts from different parts of the organization, disagreements and misunderstandings can come up. You should always clarify any points that were misunderstood by restating them in your own words and asking the people involved if you were understood.

Directing the conversation:

If you notice that one of the participants is steering the discussion into a wrong direction, it’s your duty as a facilitator to correct and direct them back on track. Try not to offend anybody but do not let irrelevant points overshadow important issues within your process.

Balancing participation:

Participation is the key to any successful meeting. You should always aim to get as many people involved as possible without turning it into a free-for-all discussion.

Resolving conflict:

Not everything will run smoothly all the time so you need to be prepared for every kind of challenge that might come up during your process. If participants are having a hard time coming to an agreement, you should be able to step in and find a solution that makes everybody happy. You might not be able to satisfy everyone but do not let the conflict escalate until it gets out of control.

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