Facilitating

I attended a Stakeholder Consultation today for the Alberta Queen’s Printer. Our QP is asking questions of their wide variety of clients to learn where their investments in time and dollars are best spent. My post is not about the outcomes or input shared at that meeting but rather some observations about the excellent meeting facilitation that I observed.

According to Merriam-Webster, a facilitator is one that helps to bring about an outcome (as learning, productivity, or communication) by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision.

The session I attended was lead by Kim Ghostkeeper. Kim is a Community Development Officer with the Alberta Government and she and her teammates are often tasked with assisting government ministries by using their facilitation skills. I learned some valuable lessons in today’s session about how to make sure that individuals gathered in a diverse group can all be heard.

facilitating

Some facilitation tactics, in addition to the ground rules shared in the image above:

  • when doing introductions have people focus on why they want to participate
  • build in pauses for people to consider and contemplate questions posed
  • when giving a preamble to a question, ask for a discrete show of hands for those who are hearing new (known vs unknown) information
  • vary the responder types – volunteers; table discussion reporter; individuals called on who can say “pass”

All of these tactics lead to getting the best information possible. With my process improvement hat on, I can see multiple ways to use what I learned through observation today.

If you consider yourself a stakeholder of the Alberta Queen’s Printer, watch their website to participate in a survey.

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