One of the core skills in facilitation is to be acutely attentive. This is more than just active listening—
it’s about knowing when and how to ask questions, how to observe accurately, and how to pick up on
nonverbal cues.
Facilitator option: Read Section 2.6, including Activity 38, and Section 3.3.
Beginnings and Endings
Developing your awareness of how to begin and end meetings, training events, ongoing groups, and team
briefings is an important part of creating trust and achieving the task.
Facilitator option: Read Sections 1.4 and 3.10.
Facilitators need to know how to work effectively on a one-to-one level as well as in groups and teams in
order to encourage and empower staff members and solve problems.
Facilitator option: The theory and activities in Section 3.1 provide an introduction to this skill area. There
are also activities in every section relating to coaching.
You may sometimes find yourself colluding with team or group members, or you may notice the group or
team as a whole colluding to avoid an issue. To deal with this, you need sensitivity and clarity.
Facilitator option: Read Section 2.8 on scapegoating, which discusses the sensitive handling of issues that
groups tend to avoid.
A great many of the facilitation skills are about clear and assertive communication with individual
employees, teams, and customers.
Facilitator option: See Section 2.9 on negotiation skills, which focuses on the individual and group skills you
will need to achieve win–win outcomes. Look at Sections 1.6 and 1.10 for specific communication
techniques. For more information on nonverbal communication, read Section 3.3.
Creative Facilitation
The beauty of facilitation is that there is no one right way to manage or develop others. It is important to
develop your own personal facilitation style and unique skills.
Facilitator option: See Section 1.2 on the qualities of facilitation; Section 1.3 on self-awareness; and Sections 3.7
and 3.8 on creative facilitation.
Key Issues: A Quick Guide
THE FAST FACILITATOR Key Issues:A Quick Guide vii
How do you establish a team or working culture that encourages people to be fully involved and supported?
This is an ongoing challenge for facilitators. It requires an understanding of facilitator authority, group
development, and authentic leadership.
Facilitator option: Read Section 1.6 on contracting; Section 1.7 on valuing; and Sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 on
the issues of inclusion, control, and openness. See Activity 69, an interesting exercise that looks at
organizational culture.
Emotional Expression
Outbursts of emotion can be disconcerting in work settings. However, skillful facilitators should be trying
to help their teams and staff express their emotions appropriately. The question is how best to do this.
Facilitator option: You will need to know how to shut down destructive behavior, as well as how to encourage
people to express their feelings. See Section 1.8 on managing feelings and Section 1.7 on valuing ideas.
Activity 44 is a useful activity for helping groups examine the subject of emotions.
Giving positive, constructive, and challenging feedback is one of the ways a facilitator establishes a learning
culture and builds trust among teams and groups. It is a key tool in the facilitator’s toolkit.
Facilitator option: Section 1.10 focuses on how to give and receive feedback. Section 2.10 focuses on the need
for facilitators to get feedback from their own peers as part of their own continuous development.
Defense mechanisms such as fight/flight can be triggered in a moment, and usually involve a reduction in
participation levels and trust. Facilitators need to understand how such a simple defense mechanism is
triggered and what to do about it when it occurs.
Facilitator option: Read Section 1.9 on challenging behavior; Section 2.8 on scapegoating; and Section 3.4
on defense patterns.
When a team or group loses focus, people will quickly become frustrated and demotivated. In these
circumstances the facilitator needs to take charge and reestablish aims, objectives, and perspective.
Facilitator option: Making sure that people are clear about the task and process is one of the issues here (see
Section 1.1). You will also need to know how and when to intervene (see Section 2.6). Section 1.5 on the
need for planning is also relevant, and Activity 71 is a good exercise for helping teams see where they have
reached in relation to their objective.
Group Behavior
As a facilitator, you will need some understanding of the ways in which groups behave and develop.
Facilitator option: Sections 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4 provide the facilitator with some of the key dynamics
involved in group behavior.
viii THE FAST FACILITATOR Key Issues:A Quick Guide

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