In this article, we tell you all about facilitation in business: why use it, what are the steps to shine in this exercise. We also give you examples of simple methods and tools that you can use during your workshop.

What is business facilitation?

According to theAssociation for Talent Developmentwebsite, facilitation in business is the act of organising a meeting, event or workshop, andengaging participants in exploring, creating, inventing solutions or learning paths.

Unlike presentation, which is characterised by the top-down discourse of a "knower", facilitation involves a "guide" who is not in the foreground but at the side . side. He or she asks questions, moderates conversations, suggests activities and helps participants to progress.

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5 steps to successful facilitation in business

The MindTools website defines the role of the facilitator and explains the 5 steps to successful facilitation in business.

1. Framing and structuring your workshop

Whatever the size of the group you are working with, it is essential to plan the structure of the workshop in advance. This will ensure that everyone participates, and that the group has covered all the topics that need to be discussed. Always keep your objectives in mind when formalising the framework. Above all, don't forget to share the framework and structure you have planned with the participants.

It may be a good idea to plan to divide your group into sub-groups, so that everyone feels more comfortable coming up with ideas and contributing to the workshop.

Some additional considerations for this phase:

  • Do participants need to have certain information before participating? When is it planned to provide them with this information?
  • Does theroom layout fit your workshop? If it is a digital animation, does it allow you to animate your workshop properly?
  • Do you have all the materials you will need?

2. Plan a schedule

A schedule will help you to structure your workshop and put each step in front of an objective. Here are some questions to ask yourself when preparing your plan:

  • Is an ice breaker provided to allow participants to discover each other?
  • When do you allow time to explain the framing and objectives?
  • If you plan to divide the participants into sub-groups, note the time allocated to each session
  • Are participants always in the same subgroup ?
  • When did you plan the feedback times?
  • How long will your conclusion last?

3. Conducting the facilitation workshop in the company

Here are some tips to help you run your in-house facilitation workshop:

  • Establish a framework of trust: these are the rules that will allow each participant to feel free to speak with respect for others, and to listen to each other.
  • Make sure that everyone understands their role, and the objectives of the workshop.
  • Have an ice breaker, or at least give everyone time to introduce themselves.
  • Make sure you maintain good energy. Your role is to keep the participants focused and motivated.
  • Listen actively, and check that all participants are engaged. You should be a role model for the other participants. If someone is behind, ask yourself how you can bring them back into the group.
  • Also listen to any chatter that may be going on in parallel to the workshop. These exchanges should be channelled and may be of benefit to the whole group.
  • Keep an eye on the clock and the schedule. Check that you are sticking to your schedule and that the objectives are being met. Don't hesitate to refocus the discussion if necessary. Regularly take the time to review and summarise the group's progress.

4. Synthesise and make sense

It is also up to the facilitator to make sense of the ideas expressed during the workshop, and to ensure that these ideas are 'acted upon ' in some way after the workshop.

The key, therefore, is once again to ensure that the participants have understood the objectives of the workshop and are 100% committed to the process. This way, they will be able to take ownership of the ideas or solutions suggested and bring them to life, even after the workshop.

Take photos of all the ideas proposed, and note down all the decisions and action intentions announced during the workshop. This will allow you to assign task lists to participants, for example.

5. Gathering feedback

After the in-company facilitation workshop, take time to note what went well and where you could improve. Don' t hesitate to ask for feedback from participants on how you can improve.

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The best tools and techniques for business facilitation

There are a few tools and techniques that can help you with facilitation in business. Some of these are from The Commons Social Change Library. The choice of these tools should be defined according to your objectives.

Interactive sessions

Interactivity sessions are limited times during an event or workshop when participants are invited to interact. They can answer questions, make word clouds, sort information, etc. A very playful way to take "breaks" during your workshop.

In addition, the interactive sessions are available on Beeshake!

An ice breaker

As the name suggests, theice breaker is a way of "breaking the ice" between the participants. They get to know each other in a playful way. Often, theice breaker also helps to relax and to approach the workshop in a positive way.

Surveys and polls

In the manner of interactive sessions, you can take a few minutes during your workshop to ask participants to take a poll or a quick survey. You can then focus the discussion on the results, emerging trends or diverging opinions.

Experience sharing

Experience sharing is very useful, both for identifying irritants and for finding solutions to one or more irritants. Here too, you will be able to identify collectively the behaviours that converge or diverge.

Perhaps you will also identify good practices to be promoted and democratised.

To take things further, don't hesitate to imagine role-playing situations, like theatre workshops. The participants can then test what they would do in a given situation and imagine solutions.

Peripheral ideas

Sometimes, certain topics or questions come up in conversation. These topics are "off-topic", or would take too long to address in the limited time of the workshop. You can therefore suggest that participants write them down on a separate piece of paper or whiteboard. Don't forget to come back to them at the end of the workshop or at a later meeting!

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