Online Course Job # 826

Job Posting Details

Job # 826 Online Course

Posted Date
Nov 23, 2005 @ 16:16
Respond By
Dec 3, 2006
Word Count
Age Range

Job Description


The primary purpose of Facilitation Skills is to build the personal skill and confidence of each participant while they are in training. It provides you with the essential information and skills needed for you to excel as a facilitator. You will learn how to guide and stimulate discussions through key facilitator behaviors, to focus on the session structure, not content, and the importance of client contracts, agendas, meeting structure and process. You will gain an understanding of facilitator empowerment, listening and questioning skills to deal with negative behaviors and the ability to keep the sessions moving in a positive direction. You will also be able to conduct specific follow-up activities to conclude the meeting process and improve upon experience.

� Confidence � the facilitator should be able to exemplify good posture, control their gestures, use an energized voice, display sincere eye contact and always maintain a neat appearance.
� Positive Attitude � the facilitator should keep an open and positive mind, maintain the expectation of a successful session and be able to put aside negative thoughts and feelings.
� Effective Listening � the facilitator must be able to prove they are giving their full attention, clarify and confirm information and demonstrate that they are respecting others in the room.
� Coaching Ability � the facilitator must exemplify strong observation skills, be able to deliver positive reinforcement and provide meaningful suggestions for improvement.
� Good Organizational Skills � the facilitator should keep control of the session by staying on key points, arriving prepared and applying good administrative skills through the proper use of flip charts, breaks, etc.
� Effective verbal skills � the facilitator should always avoid slang, buzz words, jargon, and acronyms. They should also have a good mastery of the English language to be able to �paint pictures� with their words.
� Enthusiasm � the facilitator needs to depict energy and intensity, have good movement and a strong voice and portray the desire to lead the session.
� Action-Oriented � the facilitator should be able to be flexible, maintain a take-charge attitude, take risks by providing insights and ideas, think quickly and keep the session moving at a good pace.

Let us review some of the concepts and topics we have covered.

The role of facilitator is to remain neutral while managing the structure of the meeting, not the content. The group is responsible for deciding the meeting content. Any facilitator who becomes heavily involved in the issues of the meeting content will run the risk of reducing group involvement, trust and interest. The facilitator must remain neutral on the issue of content.

Structure refers to several �how� questions �
How are the meeting�s issues and subjects dealt with?
How is the meeting progressing in terms of agenda and team tools?
How are discussions taking place?
How are the decision tools being used?
How are flipcharts, formats and involvement taking place?
How is the physical environment of the meeting arranged?
Content refers to the �what� questions:
What are the meeting�s subjects, issue and problems?
What are the meeting�s analysis, recommendations and supporting data?
What issues will be dealt with?
What order will issues be dealt with?

A properly executed Client Contract will provide clear expectations and objectives.
Often, contracts or agreement do not exist or they are only in verbal format. In order
to avoid the risk of open interpretation of expectations, establish clear and concise
expectations prior to actually facilitating a session.

Determine what are considered reasonable and unreasonable expectations of a facilitator.

Decide what the ingredients to well-designed contracts include.

Decide what the ingredients to poorly designed contracts include?

� Look at the expectations and designs from both the facilitator's and the client�s perspective.

Four criteria should be clarified when setting expectations and measuring tools from the perspectives of both the client and the facilitator:
� Quality
� Resources
� Time Frame
� Quantity

Quality � pay attention to the four following factors:
� Why it is so important?
� Understand the client�s definition.
� How will it be measured?
� Client examples of good quality and bad quality.

Resources � the following must be learned in regards to resources:
� What are the available resources?
� What type of materials and supplies are available?
� Who do I call for assistance?

Time Frame � understand the following:
� What time frame have we agreed upon?
� How long is the session?
� Will I be able to go on longer if necessary?

Quantity � clarify these two points:
� The number of team members to be present.
� The number of sessions needed.

Develop some basic ground rules for how group members should behave. Typical standards include the following:
� Only hold one meeting and avoid side conversations.
� Don�t attack others� suggestions.
� Voice concerns rather than suppressing them.
� If you have questions, ask.
� Be an active participant.

The facilitator is typically responsible for the group meeting structure. That includes the following:
� Setting-up the room.
� Organizing and providing supplies.
� Notifying participants about the meeting.
� Meeting agenda.

A meeting that is poorly facilitated can result in
� Boredom.
� Frustration for both the facilitator and the participants.
� Indifference on the part of the participants.

When developing an agenda, it is important to make note of the following:
1. Time �
2. People �
3. Importance �
4. Relationship �
5. Results

Facilitator Empowerment is essential to excel as a facilitator. To best understand
the process of empowerment, it is broken down into five different levels.

1. Facilitator is not empowered.
The client, group, team or organization may believe that inappropriate decisions would result in the loss of customers. Or there could be legal considerations or implications.
2. Facilitator may provide recommendations, but not without approval in advance from the client, team, group or organization.

The client helps the facilitator establish course of action and follow-up criteria ahead of time. Often used when the facilitator lacks extensive experience.

3. Facilitator is given specific guidelines and limits from which to take action.

The facilitator may work freely within the guidelines. Negative consequences are minimized when limits are well developed. Facilitator will want to be sure limits do not inhibit decision-making, yet defined enough that the facilitator does not get off-track. At this level, follow-up criteria are also established.

4. Facilitator takes to initiative to report to his or her client, group, team or organization regarding any actions taken after the fact.
Facilitator is responsible to decide what action to take. No insights or guidelines are provided. Client, team, group or organization is informed what the facilitator is doing, but follow-up is less formal. This level works well when potential negative consequences are not very serious and when the facilitator is more experienced.

5. Total facilitator empowerment.

The facilitator has the power to make all the decisions and therefore conference with the client, group, team or organization is not necessary. Follow-up is generally non-existent. This level is suitable for the highly competent facilitator who enjoys taking on responsibility. This level requires using good judgment and the likelihood of negative consequences is at a minimum.

Range of acceptability � this is defined as the guidelines and limits that are established for the facilitator. Sometimes the range is established, sometimes it is not. Within the meeting, it is important to establish the gray areas and define the must and the should within the acceptable level.

Identify possible actions to take. Remember the following:
� The actions are not definitive.
� Another facilitator or team may have tackled similar situations with excellent results.
� There may be a history to follow to guarantee results.
� It may be best for the facilitator to initiate his or her own path and be creative.

Now that we have focused on preparation, setting expectations through contracts and
understanding our level of empowerment, let�s look at the skill side of facilitation. The quality and quantity of the groups involvement has a large impact on the success of the group.

Accomplished facilitators try to gain fulfillment and satisfaction for the group through effective involvement. This is accomplished through asking effective questions that avoid creating a threatening environment.

There are generally eight rules for asking non-threatening questions in order to
stimulate participation.

a. Initially ask each question of the entire group.
b. 2 Pause and allow members time to consider the question.

c. 3 If a group member responds, acknowledge the remark and explore the response further, if you think it is necessary.
d. If there is no response to a question, either reword the question or ask if the question needs clarification.
e. Avoid biased questions.
f. Avoid asking too many �yes� and �no� questions that limit discussion.
g. Avoid questions that will put group members on the defensive.
h. Refrain from the temptation of initially asking �by name� questions to get someone�s attention or to punish his or her inattention.

To be an effective facilitator, there are five categories of questions you need to be able to use. Those categories are:

1. Open-Ended
2. Greater Response
3. Redirection
4. Feedback or Clarification
5. Close-Ended

Open-ended Questions cannot be answered with a �yes� or �no.� These questions are designed to stimulate thinking, encourage interaction and discussion. They also discourage premature definitive positions on issues not yet thoroughly discussed.

Greater Response Questions are an adaptation of the open-ended questions that are used in order to gain understanding and add depth to the group�s involvement. Facilitators must know how to use words to draw out greater information. Three useful words are, �describe,� �tell,� and �explain.�

Redirection Questions are used primarily when a question is asked by a group member as a follow-up remark. The facilitator must always remain neutral in content and proactive in structure. If the questions relates to structure, answer it. If the question relates to content, this is where you should redirect it to other group members.

Feedback or Clarification Questions are used when the facilitator needs to bring closure of clarification to a topic being discussed. It is also important that all group members understand the issue�s status. This is when feedback and clarification questions are appropriate.

Inexperienced facilitators will often use the Close-Ended Questions. With a typical response of �yes� or �no� or other short response from a participant will prohibit involvement.

It should be clear to all participants by the end of the meeting who is going to do what and by when. It is important to summarize assignments and check for commitment. The best way to ensure that key actions won�t be fulfilled is to fail to close off the meeting properly. Additionally, those individuals must be motivated to complete their tasks at the end of the meeting. If not, their motivation most likely won�t improve once the meeting is over and everyone goes their separate ways.

By the end of the meeting, the facilitator should be certain whether individuals are committed to completing their assignments. If anyone is not motivated to complete their assignment, the facilitator must communicate to that individual the positive consequences of taking the required actions. If the individual seems unable to complete the task, the facilitator must determine how to empower him or her with both the skill and the opportunity.

Three things must be focused on when closing the meeting:

1. Closing for Content � review assignments and decisions.

2. Closing for commitment � check for support and consensus.

3. Checking for next-steps � determine what should happen next.

There are three listening acknowledgments that are essential to your success as a facilitator. The key component with these skills is being able to prove them to people at any time under any circumstances. These listening skills include: giving your full attention; clarify what is being said and confirm back to the person that you fully understand; and be respectful.

1. Give your full attention.

It is important to fully focus your energies and make a concerted effort to listen to the other person�s perspective. This will generate full attention and much better understanding.

Try to listen for attitude. This will help to keep you fully interested.

Stop what you are doing.

Always maintain good eye contact.

2. Clarify what is being said and confirm back to the other person that you fully understand.

Let the other person know if you are unsure of what they mean.

Providing feedback will prove that you fully understand what is being said.

Give a brief restatement of what is being said to let the person know they are making sense to you.

Do not repeat word for word. Use analogies or examples.

The purpose is to let the other person know they are having an impact on you.

Be respectful.

By adjusting the tone of voice, rate of speech, choice of words and energy level, you are communicating on the other person�s emotional level and understanding the situation.
This shows respect.

Responses should be both verbal and non-verbal.

Keep the energy level the same as the other person�s, but only temporarily.

Demonstrate that you are impressed instead of trying to be impressive.

There are things that can sometimes occur that will be an obstacle to a facilitator�s successful performance. These can include:

A difficult team member

Negative meeting behaviors

The group just getting stuck.

The first item we will discuss is the difficult team member or someone who is displaying behavior that is directly and negatively impacting productivity of the group. Productivity is affected and it may also be prohibiting team cohesiveness in terms of trust, commitment, openness, and participation. Do not become alarmed too early about a team member�s conduct. Give the individual adequate transition time before labeling them as difficult.

If difficult behavior does not subside after an adequate period of time, or the behavior is severe, the facilitator must address the issue of the behavior. However, it is important that the facilitator accomplish the goal of eliminating the behavior, without hurting the individual�s self-worth or capability to contribute to the group. The following will discuss four opportunities in which to handle the situation.

Take the first opportunity to correct the behavior during a meeting. If the individual is dominating the meeting, try something like, �John, you have had several good ideas to contribute. I�d like to hear how other team members might approach this issue.� You can be direct but also tactful.

2. You can also talk with the team member candidly about the behavior in private. For instance, if the team member is not contributing much at all, you might say, �Trina, your team could really use your input. Is there something that is stopping you from contributing?�
3. Another option is to seek out the assistance of your informal leaders � or those members most respected for their knowledge and experience. Ask these people to tactfully intervene.

Put the responsibility back on the group. Ask the team members to self-analyze their development to bring negative behaviors to the surface for discussion.

There are four common types of difficult behaviors and actions that facilitators can take to overcome these behaviors.

The facilitator should be patient.
Give the team member a small role where they have expertise.
Assign the person as a subgroup leader.

2. Team member dominates the discussion.

� Establish procedures to limit his or her discussion.
� Target questions to other team members by name.
� Use non-verbal signs � no direct eye contact, focus on another part of the room, etc.
� Do not assign this person to a subgroup leader role.

Team member goes off on a tangent.

Ask the person to give his or her response in twenty seconds or less.

� When the person pauses, interrupt and thank the person and inform him or her that it is time to get back on the agenda.

� Avoid assigning this person to a subgroup leader role.

4. Close-minded team member.

� Use hints about building consensus.
� Overwhelm with facts.
� Enlist support of other team members.
� Give the person a graceful way out with an alternative.
� Do not assign this person a subgroup leadership role.
Negative meeting behaviors can also prohibit successful performance for the facilitator. Negative behaviors include the following:

Team member has a hidden agenda � he or she holds their comments about an issue or masks them with sarcasm, aloofness or inattention.

� Team members form obvious subgroups or cliques � groups can get pitted against one another.
� Team member is overtly critical of someone else�s ideas.
� Team member backs up the agenda � he or she returns the discussion to an agenda item that was already closed.
� Team members have side conversations.
� Team members exhibit group think � the group gets �on a roll� and the critical thinking stops so as not to break the status quo.
� Team member displays total inattention.
� Team member over communicates or uses special vocabulary � a team member uses too much information to overpower the group. The team member may also use slang or jargon.
� Team member conflict of other serious problems � severe emotional or ability problems threaten the group progress.
� Team member is over-directive � the team member does not check with the group before moving on.
It is still possible that the group could get stuck, even if difficult behaviors do not exist. Try to determine the cause of the dilemma by asking yourself �
1. Do they lack the tools and knowledge to go forward?
2. Have they simply become too dependent on me as facilitator?
3. Are they simply in conflict and having trouble?

Acknowledge the situation and get agreement from the group that the team is stuck.

Examine other resources �
Once you have completed a session as a facilitator, there are follow-up activities that can be put into motion to ensure that your goals and objectives as the facilitator were realized for both you and the client. These activities can include:

Facilitator diary � an informal and less structured method to keep an ongoing record of the work you are doing for the client, group or team.

� Client profiles � this is the more formal structure of an ongoing record.

� Client Review Sessions � can be formal or informal. Facilitator presents findings in order to create a dialog.

� Interviews � great for gathering useful information quickly and effectively. Interviews have a focus and are a one-way session, not a two-way discussion. The point is for the interviewer to understand and document the other person�s point of view and not to change it.

� Surveys � this is an interview written out on paper. Surveys allow you to collect a lot of information quickly and economically and the respondents can remain anonymous. One risk is that the respondents may misinterpret information or you may misinterpret the respondent's answers and there is no opportunity for follow-up.

� Observe informally � you can document your observations periodically. There is no right or wrong way to document, but you must be consistent.

Slide 2
Practical Leadership is designed to provide you with the fundamentals needed to develop and improve your effectiveness as a leader. By participating in this training, you will build on past leadership successes in order to achieve higher levels of performance and productivity.

Slide 5
The goal of any leader is to gain followers. Exceptional leaders will use their observation skills and recognize the prevailing emotion of the individual or group they are interacting with.

Slide 6
People tend to want to be led, not managed. A key element to quality leadership is knowing when to use managerial skills, when to use leadership skills and when it is appropriate to combine the two.
The following is a simple comparison between management and leadership.

Slide 7
The result for management is that the job is accomplished but not always to the level desired or as well as it could have been.
The result for Leadership is that Teamwork is engaged with the added value of competent management.

Slide 9
There are a variety of skills for an effective leader.

Slide 10
Understanding situations and quickly determining the appropriate skills to use is key to gaining followers.

Slide 11
There are several �blocks� that can make it difficult or even impossible to excel as a leader.

Slide 12
Successful leaders understand that every situation offers numerous possible blocks. As an effective leader, it is your responsibility to minimize or eliminate blocks so that your team can excel.

Slide 14
Emotions play a big role in how we communicate. Each person expresses themselves in a variety of ways and the expression will usually dictate the nature of the communication they have with someone else. As a leader, you must determine as accurately and quickly as possible, what the employee�s emotion is.

Slide 15
Emotions can be separated into two categories: Positive and Negative.

Slide 16
When moving from positive to negative emotions, there are changes in energy and intensity.
CONFIDENT - Confident is where you want people to be when communicating with you. This ensures that you gain commitment.

Slide 17
It is clearly more productive to gain commitment and therefore being confident is the most important emotion.
ENTHUSIASTIC - When an individual is enthusiastic, they are usually very positive, yet maybe not totally convinced.
INTERESTED - When a person is interested, the intensity is lower than that of the enthusiastic person,

Slide 18
OPEN-MINDED- When in this area, an employee can lean either way and it is what you say in your next words and how you express them that will either keep them in the positive or drive them into the negative.

Slide 19
SUSPICIOUS - When a person feels doubtful or skeptical about what you are saying, they are on the negative side and considered suspicious.

Slide 20
ANGER � This is an intense and energetic emotion and can be expressed in a variety of ways. Generally when someone is angry, they want to be taken very seriously.

Slide 21
AFRAID � Someone who is afraid will generally try to avoid what you are discussing. They tend to be tentative, speak slowly and have trouble keeping eye contact.

Slide 22
APATHY � Sometimes the most difficult person to work with is one who exudes no energy or intensity and would rather not be bothered.

Slide 25
We will first discuss three listening skills as listed:

Give your full attention
Clarify what is being said and confirm back to the
other person you fully understand
Be respectful

Slide 26
Give your full attention.

It is important to fully focus your energies and make a concerted effort to listen to the other person�s perspective.

Slide 27
Clarify what is being said and confirm back to the other person that you fully understand.

Let the other person know if you are unsure of what they mean.

Providing feedback will prove that you fully understand what is being said.

Slide 28
Be respectful.

By adjusting the tone of voice, rate of
speech, choice of words and energy level,
you are communicating on the other person�s
emotional level and understanding the situation.
This shows respect.

Slide 29
There are four common listening barriers:
Evaluating the person
Presenting too much information

Slide 30
The third one is Interrupting and the fourth; Trying to influence a person too quickly

Slide 31
Conversations can be kept alive by gathering useful information from employees. When the employee is speaking, you can use your listening skills to help determine what an employee is thinking and feeling.

Slide 32

There are times when it is a good idea to ask questions, such as:

To open a discussion
To keep interest and develop rapport
To get involvement from an employee

Slide 33
It is also important to remember how to express your questions.

Slide 34
As an effective leader, there are two types of questions that you can use: open-ended and clarifying questions or statements.

Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a �yes� or �no.�

Slide 35
Clarifying questions or statements are generated by what you believe is the most important idea, feeling, or understanding coming from the employee.

Slide 37
Your goal is to gain followers, regardless of their emotional level. However, in order to gain a follower, you must first gain a listener.

Slide 38
Confident � Speak with clear conviction. Get or suggest a decision; state your feelings.
Enthusiastic � Keep the other person talking.

Slide 39
Interested � ask questions to keep interest and involvement.
Open-minded � Move one step at a time and ask to consider other points of view.

Slide 40
Suspicious � use proof and find the �best solutions for the situation at hand, even if it isn�t the obvious one.
Angry � use strong questions to focus attention on details.

Slide 41
Afraid � explain how something might be avoided with your idea.

Slide 42
Apathetic � start with how your idea fits the apathetic emotion or you can temporarily change the subject.

Slide 43
Once you have reached the highest emotional level that you feel you can attain with an employee, it is important to conclude the interaction.

Slide 46
The number one skill in collaborating is the ability to deal with an angry employee without getting angry ourselves.

Slide 47
The following are poor responses to anger:
Return anger with anger
Ignore the employee
Patronize the employee

Slide 48
The following discusses positive responses to an angry employee:

Do what is necessary to express concern for the employee�s anger and prove that you have their undivided attention.
Confirm and clarify.
Give 100% attention.
Prove respect.

Slide 49
As a successful leader, it is important to maintain your poise when faced with hostile or angry emotions.
In order to stay calm, learn to manager your breathing, body language and facial expressions.

Slide 50
Several leaders use a method of self-talk when confronted with anger or another negative emotion.
Take-charge of your emotions
Take-charge of your physical reactions through self-control

Slide 51
More self-talk methods when confronted with anger or another negative emotion.
Focus on the situation
Physical switches
Time outs

Slide 52
When you disagree with someone, you share different views of the situation. In order to work through the disagreement, you must share points of view until both parties share similar facts and values.

Slide 53
There is a simple process for dealing with challenges to values. Deal with the anger first before you move to the value that is being challenged.

Slide 56
The main goal in dealing with challenges to your values is to eventually prove to the person that you are not what he or she is suggesting by endorsing the value.

Slide 57
In situations where there are differences in fact, you must demonstrate your skill as a leader by being diplomatic and tactful.

Slide 58
The process for resolving differences in fact is the same one used for dealing with challenges to value, by adding in another step:
Do I disagree with his or her facts?

Slide 59
Now that you have learned about practical leadership, you should have the fundamentals needed to develop and improve your effectiveness as a leader. By participating in this training, you have built on past leadership successes in order to achieve higher levels of performance and productivity.

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