5 Essential Facilitation Skills for A Successful Facilitator and Trainer
Successful facilitators are made, not born. To become an effective facilitator, one need continuous practice in various facilitation skills. We are going to provide you a list of essential skills that help you to achieve a high standard of facilitation. Let’s get started!
Create an inclusive learning environment
Getting everyone involved is key to a successful workshop. As a facilitator, it is our role to create a learning atmosphere that encourages participation. There are different approaches to build such environment, such as arranging ice breaker games to help participants open up. Room setting and facility can also be crucial. Try to remove barriers to let everyone see and listen to each other.
Communicate with clarity
Present with clarity and deliver with confidence are key successful factors for facilitator. Here are a list of items that successful facilitator will do:
Explain the purposes of learning activity and how it can benefit to participants
Concisely and sequentially describe the instructions and steps that participants should pay attention to
Be specific about time restrictions
Provide an example of output for reference
It probably takes you a day or two to prepare a 3-hour workshop. While planning and preparation are important, facilitator also need flexibility as there are always unforeseeable situations. For examples, learning activities and group discussions may end up taking more time than originally scheduled. Or there are new agenda items pop up which worth to explore and discuss. As a successful facilitator, being able to adapt with any unexpected situation is an essential skill.
Workshops have time constraints. People expects facilitator to manage the time well. Therefore, we need to pay attention to time allocated to each learning activities. Making sure these allocation fits the workshop goals and objectives. To achieve that, as a facilitator, we need to let participants know and end a certain discussion when time is running short.
Handling difficult situations
From time to time, facilitator might encounter difficult participants. They may point out challenging questions, some may refuse to participate, others may create conflict situation with other participants. These participants may have their own reasons for such behaviors. As a facilitator, if we do not manage the situation well and not understand their perspectives, the situation can go worse in the session.
One of effective ways is to speak to that person in private in order to understand their concerns and motivation. Try to share feedback and help them to understand how their behavior might have affected to the learning group. These communication skills are important for effective facilitation, especially for managing conflict and difficult situation in workshop.
Facilitation is more of an art than a skill. Practice makes perfect. Becoming an effective facilitator takes time to practice. All of the above skills are totally learnable. You just have to start trying them!