Facilitation Skills

  • 2 day(s)Duration
  • MDI098aCourse Code
  • send to printer

Course description

Today’s organizations face more pressure than ever to achieve results in less time, often with fewer people. As work teams becoming more dispersed, frequently spanning cultures and time zones, designing and facilitating well-run meetings has become more complicated and more essential than ever. This two-day onsite workshop provides participants with the opportunity to become superb facilitators.

This workshop explores the differences between face-to-face and remote facilitation and provides guidelines, tips, and techniques for both. We also cover “hybrid” meetings, where some participants participate together and others are remote. The importance of excellent preparation, setting clear objectives and expectations, and developing winning interventions for common facilitation challenges are special areas of focus. We use case studies, scenarios, small- and large-group discussions, and role-plays to help participants apply tips and techniques to real-life situations.

Who should attend

Those who will benefit the most from this course include managers, team leaders, project managers, or anyone who frequently needs to plan and facilitate meetings or other kinds of conversations, whether onsite, remote, or a combination. Participants who have some facilitation experience or training will benefit the most. This workshop is designed for up to 20 participants.

What you will achieve

  • Learn and apply tips, techniques, and tools to help plan and design productive, engaging meetings.
  • Discover how thoughtful meeting design leads to active participation and engagement.
  • Know what kind of preparation and prework is essential to create a level playing field and jumpstart active participation.
  • Practice techniques for addressing challenging meeting dynamics, such as maintaining engagement, creating a level playing field, balancing participation, diplomatically drawing out reluctant participants, and keeping dominant speakers in check, keeping conversations focused and on track, mediating differences, and facilitating healthy discussion.
Key Takeaways
  • Apply a meeting design formula that works for a variety of meeting types.
  • Know how to manage other details vital for planning effective meetings, such as setting realistic expectations, documentation (pre, post, and during meetings), and follow-up.
  • Learn how to craft and pose questions that encourage active dialogue.
  • Learn ways to gain agreement, build consensus, and reach decisions.
  • Understand the power of paraphrasing and summarizing, especially when people have divergent views and different perspectives.
  • Know how to drive conclusions to the planned outcome, verifying objectives, keeping conversations on track, and crisply wrapping up.

What you will learn

Course Prework

Participants will read a case study and complete an online survey before the first day of the course. Those who volunteer for role-plays on Day 2 will need to prepare in advance.

Course Outline
Module 1: Welcome and Context-Setting
  • Building blocks for successful meetings: objectives, agenda, and introductions
  • The importance of setting realistic expectations and clear communications
  • Creating and reinforcing agreed-upon meeting norms
  • How and why face-to-face and virtual meetings may execute “meeting basics” differently
Module 2: Managing the Details
  • Creating a facilitation “contract”
  • Identifying and preparing sponsors, key participants, and other stakeholders
  • Setting clear expectations and goals
  • Building a realistic timeline of activities and deliverables
  • Logistics: Getting into the weeds early and often
Module 3: Designing for Engagement – Face-to-Face and Virtual Settings
  • Design “formula” and important variables for planning and timing your meeting
  • Making every minute count
  • How multitasking on task boosts engagement
  • The importance of participant prework and how to make it compelling
Module 4: Case Study Review and Problem Solving
  • Review the case study as a group
  • Exercise: Each small group will solve a different challenge related to the case
  • Large group discussion to debrief and share ideas
Module 5: Facilitator Interventions for Handling Tough Challenges (Part 1)
  • Role-play that represents a “how not to” scenario, followed by group discussion
  • Introduction to three-step model that outlines a winning facilitator intervention
  • Role-play that demonstrates the three-step model in action, followed by group discussion
Module 6: The Power of Crafting and Asking Great Questions
  • Why, how, and when certain types of questions work best (closed-ended vs open-ended)
  • Exercise: Small groups devise 1-2 questions related to our case study or for a real-life meeting
  • Large group debrief, idea exchange
Module 7: Facilitator Interventions for Handling Tough Challenges (Part 2)
  • Role-plays with selected volunteer facilitators and “actors” from case study
  • Discussion and feedback after each role-play
  • Summary of winning interventions for difficult behaviors and situations
Module 8: Planning and Designing Virtual and “Hybrid” Meetings
  • Exploring the unique challenges of virtual facilitation
  • Tips and techniques for keeping participants engaged
  • Getting the technology right
Module 9: Facilitating Consensus-Building
  • How and why consensus-building and decision making are not necessarily the same thing
  • Gradients of consensus
  • Steps to achieving consensus
  • Exercise: Small group activity where participants use their real-life situations to brainstorm winning techniques for achieving consensus
Module 10: Facilitate This!
  • Small group exercise: Each small group has identical set of challenges cards to read aloud and crowdsource solution as a team
  • Large group debrief: Share toughest challenges, bright ideas, and alternative solutions
Module 11: Facilitating Brainstorming, Idea Generation Sessions
  • What makes facilitating brainstorming sessions different than other kinds of meetings?
  • The importance of divergent and convergent thinking
  • Guiding principles to help open the creative mind
  • Tips and techniques for brainstorming in person and remotely
  • The importance of transparency when it comes to winnowing down the list
Module 12: Real-Time “Clinic”
  • Participants identify questions or topics to discuss more deeply
  • Interactive group discussion/activity
Module 13: Wrapping up, Maintaining Momentum, and Continuing the Conversations
  • The importance of verbal and written summaries
  • Affirming understanding and accountabilities
  • Setting expectations for next steps