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Group discussion involving a trained, neutral facilitator to assist in addressing difficult issues

Groups often struggle with decision-making, particularly when dealing with tough problems. Meetings can be unproductive. A facilitator allows the group to focus on outcomes by managing communication, clarifying issues, and recording key decisions for a productive meeting that addresses and resolves problems.


·    Involve an experienced facilitator — Successful facilitators have strong communication skills and the ability to probe difficult subjects. They enhance understanding and control group interaction to stay on target. A skilled facilitator will encourage full participation, clarify discussions, and track important outcomes.

·    Set appropriate expectations — Participants are encouraged to gather and share information in advance of a meeting, and the facilitator benefits by understanding the issues beforehand. This allows the group to be fully informed and prepared to work through entrenched problems.

·    Allow buy-in and full participation — When parties feel responsible for decision-making, they are more likely to voice their opinion and more willing to support outcomes.

·    Establish goals and expectations — Groups begin by setting ground rules based on equity and fairness. They organize goals and define boundaries, and decide how best to make final decisions.

·    Track discussions and decisions — The group will benefit when the facilitator tracks significant outcomes prominently to highlight results and reduce misunderstandings.



Groups comfortable with facilitation understand the strength of full participation and consensus-building. They trust a process that enables creativity in resolving difficult issues. Instead of fearing the discord of some group meetings, participants contribute as they see the group resolving difficult problems, and they accept group decisions in everyone's interest. Participation becomes its own reward.



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