Working with facilitators will be beneficial in several ways. Well prepared meetings and workshops are engaging, keep a certain order of things so that there is a logic in the discussion, while also creating space for everyone to contribute. The objectives are clearly defined and the meeting is oriented to achieving them. If an objective is not achieved, this results from some missing bit of knowledge of information discovered at the meeting. A knowledge gap is always possible and it can also be identified through a facilitated process together with a decision on what can be done about it.
The results of this are solutions found through group creativity, decisions taken when needed with a variety of views and options considered. Similarly, a market opportunity can discussed thoroughly and decisions can be taken about how to approach it.
At a deeper level, well designed meetings and workshops are less adversary and more integrative for the participants, within a team or across teams, divisions, organisations and communities. Participants notice and appreciate their own contributions but also those of everyone else. There is a resulting sense of commonality, authorship and ownership.
How we work to achieve that? Facilitator have a toolbox of methods and techniques, always with the right tool for the job. Starting from preparation, facilitators take care to bring in the clarity about the themes, questions to be answered, the objectives and deliverables. We will go specifically through these aspects with the client, the stakeholders and the participants, either at one-on-one interviews or at a preliminary workshop (where possible).
During the meeting, we work with clear and visible ground rules and agendas that point to the
themes, objectives and time frame. We go for diversity and creativity while keeping the meeting on track. We do our best to encourage everyone to speak their mind, paying attention to the shy participants and slightly toning down the very outspoken ones, so that everyone will hear and will be heard.
We work with specific group facilitation methods. At wefacilitate, we are rooted the family of group facilitation methods under Technology of Participation, developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs over the last fifty years. But we use other methods and approached when needed.