What is a Meeting Facilitator and do I need one?
I have seen the term “facilitator” used in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is used to mean a trainer. Other times it means the same as moderator. What is your definition?
My definition is a blend of many others I have seen through the years plus my own emphasis. Here it is:
A facilitator is someone who contributes structure and process to meetings so groups and individuals are able to function effectively, think productively, and make high-quality decisions.
Do You Need a Meeting Facilitator?
Facilitation is a skill that focuses on upgrading the process of meetings in order to improve the quality of the meeting results. A trained and experienced facilitator understands meeting dynamics and brings to bear techniques to ensure the client gets the desired outcome. She or he is responsible for harnessing the group’s energy and setting it to work on a given task.
Management of organizations is not easy in an era characterized by constant change and an unpredictable political and economic environment. A professional facilitator can help a team or organization move forward productively, whether on a single topic or a strategic plan. Typical instances where a facilitator can make a big difference include:
- If you are scheduling a strategic planning “retreat” to decide where your
company, organization or department is going over the next three to five years
- Having a neutral or unbiased meeting guide would enhance the discussion
- If you want innovative thinking on a recurring task
- If critical meetings go on and on without a decision
- When you have lots of ideas but can’t get them to solution stage
A professional facilitator can help a team or organization address and manage challenges creatively and productively.