Definition: Facilitators are responsible for guiding meetings, keeping conversations on track, and ensuring that objectives are accomplished while each member’s voice is heard. By guiding a group through a focused discussion, facilitation encourages participation from all members and reaches desired outcomes effectively and efficiently.


What makes a Good Facilitator?

  • Good facilitators value people and their ideas

  • Good facilitators think quickly and logically

  • Good facilitators are excellent communicators

  • Good facilitators are both product and process oriented

Steps for Effective Facilitation:

  1. Prepare in advance: Think ahead to what objectives you need to accomplish and consider the “who, what, where, and when” for how to best achieve that goal.

  2. Plan & distribute an agenda: An agenda is a document that defines what will be done in any particular meeting or event, and in what order tasks will be accomplished or addressed. An agenda can help both the leader and the participants to know what to expect and how to prepare before the meeting, and to stay on-task during meetings.

  3. State your objectives at the beginning of the Meeting/Event: Group members will be better prepared to contribute if the objectives are clear and communicated.

  4. Establish Expectations: By stating any rules and expectations up front and getting agreement from the group, it is much more likely for the meeting to be respectful, collaborative and effective.

  5. Guide the group in presenting and sharing information: Methods may vary, any many can be found in the readings provided below, but regardless of method, all members should be included in discussions and no one (including yourself) should dominate the discussion.

  6. Providing closer & and reiterate action items: As part of holding an effective meeting and ensuring objectives are accomplished, it is also the role of the facilitator to ensure that all action items are recorded, and assigned to someone.

Self-Directed Learning Activities

Relevant Readings:


  • Kelsey, D., & Plumb, P. (2004). Great meetings: Great results. Portland, ME: Great Meetings.

  • Kaner, S. (2014). Facilitator's guide to participatory decision-making. John Wiley & Sons.


  • Facilitation Techniques: A three-part video series by Decision Lens

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMB1pioIZZ8

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rPXZr7j7Eg

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MecjeB8C3Gc

Self - Guided Activities:

Guided Learning Activities


  • Take the Facilitators Checklist to your next department-wide meeting or training, use it to keep track of the ways in which the meeting facilitator was effective. Take notes and review these with your supervisor after the meeting.

  • Work with your supervisor to determine a meeting that you could facilitate at work. And follow these steps utilizing the resources attached

  1. Create an Agenda for your meeting – you can utilize the attached example, or create your own.

  2. Review the Facilitation Checklist before the meeting.

  3. During your meeting practice the facilitation skills you learned about in the readings & videos.

  4. Track any follow-ups or ‘action items’ taken out of your meeting and who the task owner is. –you can utilize the follow-up item log example, or create your own.

  5. After the meeting, meet with your supervisor to discuss areas of strength and areas for development, use the Checklist to guide your discussion.

Formal Training/Education

School and Course Module(s):

  • Laramie County Community College:

HMSV 1005 GROUP PROCESS: Students are introduced to the dynamics of group interaction with emphasis upon the student's first-hand experience as a group leader and member. The factors involved in problems of communication, effective emotional responses and personal growth will be highlighted. Emphasis will be placed on group process as a means of changing behavior. This course is designed to assist human services students who will function as group leaders and co-leaders.

  • Northwest College:

MGT 2100 PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT: Covers objectives, planning, organization of resources, human relations, coping with change and conflict, and controlling as management responsibilities. Includes appropriate behavioral and management science applications to the management process.