What Makes a Great Facilitator

A requirement of a good deep-dive is facilitation of dialogue. In our experience, each group of 8-10 people needs to have 1 facilitator to guide the discussions. Facilitators are not mini-speakers or leaders, their role is to ensure everyone has a voice, not to be a voice. Deep dives are kept simple – this is not a training course – and are designed to encourage sharing and interaction as much as possible.

Here are high-level functions of the facilitator and the mindset they need to bring into the deep dive facilitation:

  • The facilitator should be articulate, confident and knowledgeable about the topics discussed by the speaker. This enables them to effectively guide the conversations around the table.
  • Plan a very short icebreaker/fun introduction for the table
  • Encourage the participants on each table to be collaborative in nature.
  • Ensure time is managed carefully, with plenty of time for discussion.
  • Facilitators should not dominate the discussions. Involve and encourage less confident participants. Recognize patterns in the discussions and lead the discussions to the desired outcome.
  • Contain overzealous members of the table and keep the discussion moving in a reasonable but purposeful way. In other words, do not allow any single participant to monopolize the roundtable
  • Stay on point/issue/target with the group as much as possible.
  • Stay active, attentive, standing, engaged.
  • Maintain a very positive, neutral, supportive, on-point attitude. Challenge thinking patterns.
  • Use flipchart or any other visible tool for tracking the high points and to help manoeuvre the participants through the discussions.
  • Appreciate people for their contributions to the discussion. This will encourage them to bring back more thoughts for the future sessions and bring introverts out of their shell.
  • Lead to end at the high point of the discussion. This will be the sticking point or the main take away of the session.
  • Develop thought-provoking, open-ended questions to get at and discuss the issues surrounding these topics (understand what the intent of the outcome is)
  • Facilitators should assist in creating an environment of safety, non-judgment, respect and lively inquiry that fosters deep learning and curiosity at the same time. No one wants to speak up in an environment where they are judged or undermined.

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