Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Group facilitation plays a critical part in getting people to contribute to the identification of issues and the resolution of problems or generating solutions which are critical parts of all the steps in the EAF planning process. It is used in all parts of the EAF processes, such as a group of resource users, fishery and coastal managers, interests from outside the fisheries sector and environmental NGOs trying to decide upon management or policy objectives at a national workshop.
The facilitator is responsible for ensuring the group (big or small) works in a cohesive manner to reach a workable solution as quickly as possible. Improving facilitation skills will assist in the efficient and effective running of these meetings and workshops and should generate better overall outcomes.
The websites listed below all have extensive material on facilitation and how this can be increased. The appendix includes a summary synthesis of some of this information and can be used as a quick starting point.
EAF Tool Tips
Good facilitation is extremely valuable to have to get through the EAF process. It is so easy for meetings to get lost in unnecessary detail or to have individuals hijack the process for their own purposes. The facilitator should not be a subject matter expert (which is different to being a process expert) who is critical to the outcome. Subject matter experts can dominate the discussion and drive the meeting to their own solution but also they will not have enough “brain space” to think about their contribution to the subject matter, and how to keep the meeting progressing towards a conclusion.
It is often important to have a trained facilitator, who:
EAF Tool Pedigree
There are many on line descriptions of how to improve your facilitation skills but many of these are posted by companies wanting you to take their course. What is presented below is merely a subset and a Google search will generate a large number.
EAF Tool Synergy
Facilitation skills outlined here will work very well with many of the other EAF tools – e.g. brain and card storming, component trees, risk assessment etc. – many of which rely on a good facilitator running these exercises.
EAF Tool Usage
These tips are all free on line. They will only require the time to read and also to practice.
EAF Tool Capacity
They are designed around improving skills in individuals so no previous training is required. The most important attribute to have is the confidence and right attitude to act as a facilitator.
No formal knowledge is needed to start applying these skills.
These skills can be applied to a wide group.
The material can be read and applied in a few hours.
Summary of Tips to Improve Facilitation Skills
Introduction to Participants
Involving others in facilitation
Dealing with Frustrations and concerns