Every facilitator uses varying approaches to improve group engagement. There is however a selection of beliefs that are useful to take into account when facilitating. These are mantras that make getting people to work together less of a chore and more of a natural occurrence to ensure several rewards can be reaped through creativity and collaboration.
All conversations are catalysts
There’s so much emphasis on creating the perfect team, and whilst perfection in our eyes isn’t possible, building a great team is down to its individuals.
Every individual brings a certain level of knowledge and experience, which once shared has the ability to spark new ideas. Each conversation you have is a catalyst for change, whether the subject matter is motivating, challenging, or confirmatory. The facilitator should recognise each point as a puzzle piece that once fitted together offers great value, usefulness, and relevance.
Every point is valid
No matter how small, every point made during group interaction is valid. Successful meetings are often described as gatherings dominated by a few loud voices, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Making sure those quieter voices are heard and everyone can share their points is what good facilitation is all about.
An activity shouldn’t be the focus
Lots of time and effort can be spent finding the best activities or processes to encourage people to work together. But these exercises should merely be the support, not the main act. Facilitation activities and processes provide a structure to encourage individuals within the group to contribute.
An activity can be the scaffolding required to cut through the chaos can prevent a group from collaborating as it could do. With the help of an activity or approach, the facilitator can present a space for the group to air their solutions, insights, and ideas so that with time meaning can emerge.
Talking is the main event
If activities and processes aren’t the main act, then what is? The power of communication is underappreciated in most meetings and group gatherings. Simple conversations are vital to building and nurturing all types of relationships - including professional ones. With enough time and the right level of energy, talking team members provide an unrivalled resilience and responsiveness that will be useful in both good and bad times within your business.
We may not be able to promise lightbulb moments at every turn but facilitating action through talking will nourish the social connections that will enhance teamwork positively in the short and long term.
Have fun with serious work
Work and fun aren’t generally mentioned in the same sentence. The two can work together to ensure powerful results. As facilitator you should be able to recognise the difference between important and serious, as well as fun and frivolity. This mantra can continue to be delivered back in the office, and as the Association for Psychological Science (APS) describes organisations don’t have to be all work and no play:
“Teams of workers can benefit from play via increased trust, bonding and social interaction, sense of solidarity, and a decreased sense of hierarchy. Furthermore, findings suggest that play at work can benefit whole organizations by creating a friendlier work atmosphere, higher employee commitment to work, more flexible organization-wide decision making, and increased organizational creativity.”
Here at Creative Facilitation, we use these beliefs amongst others to enhance the amazingness in every human being and make meetings, workshops, and events more memorable for all the right reasons.