Sunday, September 07, 2008

On Facilitating delicate meetings

As I have some experience in this area, I get invited to do this sort of fraught work. Not sure why I accept!

Usually, however, it is "merely professional" matter, in which I have nothing at stake personally, and simply wish the best for the organisation concerned.

I have just finished what turned out to be the toughest Facilitating assignment that I have ever done! This was a weekend with about 15 people, all outstanding and rather experienced in their own areas, and all with strong opinions.

What made it difficult was not the strength or diversity of opinion among the participants (that is exactly what Facilitator Training equips you to handle). What made it difficult was that I myself had strong opinions on certain aspects of what was being discussed.

Naturally, my effectiveness as a Facilitator dropped every time I dropped my Facilitator's hat and expressed my own opinion (something that happened, I'm afraid!; for example, through my body language - though I regret to say not only through that!).

In this particular situation, the participants were most gracious and forgave me, and even complimented me at the end.

However, trying to Facilitate a meeting where one has views oneself is, if not impossible, certainly most tiring.

Best to go in not knowing anything about the issue or the people or the history of the matter (though that is impossible in practice).

Second best, go in with no settled opinion, at least on the issue under discussion. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Papa Chuck said...


As one of the participants in these delicate meetings, all I can say is that your overall effectiveness was, nevertheless, remarkable. I would love to take part in meetings where, when they are over, you would give yourself a high grade.