Imagine a carpenter trying to build a house without the proper tools. It would certainly be ineffective, if not altogether impossible! Fortunately for facilitators, there is a rich set of tools available to help them do their work.
Process tools allow facilitators to bring needed structure to complex decision-making conversations. These tools also increase the objectivity of discussions because they encourage people to think analytically about all aspects of an issue.
When you draw a chart, grid or graph on a flip chart, it signals that you've done your homework and that you have a clear plan for the meeting. Once the conversation gets going, process tools help you keep things on track. In this way, process tools are useful for avoiding common pitfalls like people repeating their favorite points or going off on tangents.
Process tools also help with decision-making. Instead of allowing a vocal few to dominate, tools like multi-voting and impact/effort grids ensure that everyone's opinions have been taken into account.
Since scores of process tools exist, it would be impossible to explain them all. Only the most commonly used tools will be highlighted in this chapter. This set represents the basic processes that every facilitator should know how and when to use. You'll find a detailed description of the following tools in this chapter: ...