Learning Facilitation

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

Meeting facilitation involves a number of skills, because your job is to guide the participants in addressing the topic of the meeting. If they need to make decisions, you guide them to make the decisions. If they need to brainstorm, you guide them in brainstorming exercises.

1. You have to be a really good listener and pay close attention to everyone.
2. You have to keep the goal of the meeting firmly in mind so you can make decisions such as: This topic needs to be addressed in a separate meeting, so stop the discussion and move on. OR This topic has been decided, so record the decision and move on. OR Some people have not given their input and I need to draw them out on this topic.
3. You need to be firm in managing the people – make sure one person is not doing all the talking. Make sure all people get a chance to express themselves (as appropriate).
4. You need to be disciplined to not get involved in the discussion and to make sure you have someone else working as scribe and taking notes.
5. You need to take care of details such as making sure a room or conference line is scheduled, creating and sending an agenda, sending invitations, making sure the important people can attend, and making sure everyone understands why he or she is at this meeting.
6. It helps a lot to be a calm, even tempered person, and to have confidence in yourself.


Have you trained to be a meeting facilitator? Where were you trained?
Have you worked with a trained meeting facilitator? Do you think the meeting worked better with a trained facilitator leading it?

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About Geri Schneider Winters

Geri Schneider Winters is the primary author of the popular Use Case book "Applying Use Cases: A Practical Guide" and the founder of Wyyzzk, Inc. She has over 25 years experience spanning the software development lifecycle. Geri has learned her craft working with folks such as Grady Booch, Jim Rumbaugh, Ivar Jacobson, Walker Royce, Scott Ambler, Warren Woodford, Philippe Kruchten, and Kendall Scott, along with many less well known, but equally talented, people. Geri has worked in many companies in many industries, including IBM, Boeing, Lockheed, Adobe, Intuit, Delta Dental, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Money Store, Charles Schwab, The Federal Reserve Bank, Visa International, USAA, Stanford University, University of California, Carnegie Mellon University, HiLCoE College, Agilent, Knights Technology, Deloitte and Touche, Safeway, and Coca-Cola Enterprises.