Executive and Professional Development

Facilitating Fundamentals for Group Discussions

The workplace has become much more team driven with the definition of a team expanding to include non-traditional participants. The demand for group effectiveness is crucial. Using effective facilitation skills can dramatically improve a group’s effectiveness.

How? Roger Schwarz defines group facilitation as a process in which a person whose selection is acceptable to all members of the group. This is done while being neutral and without decision-making authority. A facilitator works to assist the group to improve its problem-solving or decision-making effectiveness. No more team meetings where ideas are discussed and no next step can be taken because the team is gridlocked and unable to decide. Or, alternatively a decision is foisted upon the team and unlikely to be fully supported and therefore successful.

Ideally the facilitator of a group is chosen based on skills. Those skills can be learned. It is important and useful for all people leaders to understand the fundamentals and process of facilitation. It is beneficial for leaders to be skilled facilitators and/or to use skilled facilitators in conducting group discussions. Egos, competing personal goals and/or interests combined with different perspectives and experiences can often derail group activities or create a less than satisfactory outcome. A team leader using proper facilitation can more effectively get a group of people to identify, accept and commit to solutions that will enhance the productivity of the group and/or the organization to which they belong.

Facilitating Fundamentals for Group Discussions is a required seminar for the Certificate in Team Building and Group Dynamics.

DATES - 2 Day Seminar

January  27 - 28, 2020
May 19 - 20, 2020

Facilitator: Michael Kennedy, BSc, CAE, MEd
Location: Saint Mary’s University at 1800 Argyle Street 8th Floor Halifax NS


Program Content

Defining the process of facilitation

  • What facilitation is and what it isn’t
  • What are the duties and responsibilities of a facilitator

Preparing for a facilitated process

  • What information do you need?
  • How to set up for success

The art of questioning

  • Using questions to elicit responses instead of statements
  • What are good questions? 

Conducting a session

  • Starting a session: Defining purpose and expected results
  • Developing ground rules
  • Gathering information

Keeping a group on track and energized

  • Managing breakout groups
  • Addressing dysfunction
  • Building consensus

Recording information

  • What to record
  • Managing the process

Closing a session

Getting commitment to decisions

  • Assigning actions
  • Evaluating the session 

What You Will Learn

  • How to use facilitation skills to achieve better group results
  • How to set the process up for effective group dynamics
  • Understanding what strategies to employ when issues arise

Who Should Attend?

You will benefit from this seminar if you:

  • are a supervisor, team leader or team member who would like to assist your groups in achieving a more effective and harmonious working relationship within the groups
  • have a department or team that you would like to learn how to manage optimally
  • are someone who would like to develop their facilitation skills