Chapter ThreeFacilitation StagesThe logo depicting “Facilitation,” where three people are arranged in a circle.

One of the biggest mistakes a facilitator can make is to come to a meeting without assessing the needs of the group or preparing design notes for the session. Before facilitating any meeting, be aware of the specific stages involved to ensure proper planning and implementation.

While the following steps were originally designed to be followed by external facilitators, they are equally relevant for internal facilitators.

  1. Assessment and design
  2. Feedback and refinement
  3. Final preparation
  4. Starting a facilitation
  5. During a facilitation
  6. Ending a facilitation
  7. Following up on a facilitation

While thorough preparation is absolutely essential, experienced facilitators will tell you that most agendas rarely run exactly as planned. Some discussions will inevitably take longer than planned or it may become evident that agenda items need to be addressed in a different order. Any number of things can result in the need to adjust the design midstream. In fact, making adjustments on the fly is an art that all facilitators need to master.

1. Assessment and Design

The first step in ensuring success in any facilitation is to make sure the meeting design is based on sufficient and adequate information. If you're coming from outside, ask the group's leader to send a letter to all members, informing them that an external facilitator ...

Get Facilitating with Ease!, 4th Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.