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Facilitating with Ease!, 4th Edition by Ingrid Bens

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Chapter FiveKnowing Your ParticipantsThe logo depicting “Facilitation,” where three people are arranged in a circle.

Getting to know the people you'll be working with is an essential first step in designing any effective meeting. Before you facilitate, you need to know whether the people coming to the meeting are:

  1. ____ total strangers who have never met before and won't be together again after this single, special-purpose meeting
  2. ____ total strangers or people who only have a passing acquaintance with each other, but who will be working together again after this meeting
  3. ____ a group of people who know each other, have interacted for some time, and get along well
  4. ____ a group in turmoil who meet periodically and either spin their wheels in frustration or become embroiled in conflicts that are rarely resolved
  5. ____ a high-performance team with a solid track record of achievements, made up of members with highly developed people skills who are good at managing their internal group dynamics

Conducting an Assessment

Experienced facilitators never take a group or situation for granted! They know that surface appearances may not be accurate. They also know that what they are initially told may not be totally accurate.

It's very important therefore to do careful background research and design a process that matches the group's actual circumstances. This research is done using one or more of the following techniques:

  • One-on-one interviews—These allow you to question ...

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