To optimize productivity at group meetings, conferences and retreats, outside facilitators are often used to ensure that the goals for the meeting are attained. The facilitator, who is hired as a process expert, has no vested interest or opinion regarding the substance of the meeting. This level of objectivity serves the group process, enabling all organizational members to fully participate in the meeting. The outside experienced facilitator can help the conference committee or meeting planner design a workable agenda, create logistics that will enhance the objectives of the meeting, identify who the appropriate meeting participants should be, and effectively conduct the meeting so that the goals for the meeting are reached. Also, if desired, the facilitator can serve as recorder and prepare the meeting report.
It is important to hire a facilitator that has experience facilitating similar meetings or retreats. Ask the facilitator to explain the steps that he or she will take to ensure a successful meeting. The facilitator should be able to map out a strategy for meeting preparation, approaches to facilitation, logistical considerations, etc. Also, the facilitator needs to be a good listener and there needs to be rapport between conference planners and the facilitator.
Common Ground has offered facilitation services for organizations, non-profits, groups and clubs since 1991. To contact Common Ground: RAmadei@aol.com or 303-604-1960.