by Steve Roche

Selecting a facilitator

If you need to run an event at short notice, it may be best to hire an experienced facilitator, as these are not skills that can be acquired overnight. Choose someone who

  • Specialises in facilitation or at least has relevant training and experience
  • Can be objective, impartial and dedicated to achieving the best outcome for the participants
  • Has an appropriate level of subject knowledge.

Ideally, the person will have no vested interest in the outcome – this helps engender trust, as being seen to be impartial helps with credibility.

Sometimes, relevant knowledge is useful to speed the process and avoid having to stop for explanations.

Example 1

If your workshop is in a specialist area that involves complex ideas and technical language and the aim is to develop an action plan, you may need to use an internal facilitator who understands the business model and can work effectively with specialists.

On the other hand impartiality is sometimes the more important factor, making it possible for the facilitator to avoid undue influencing and be free to ask ‘naïve’ questions.

Example 2

In a workshop where the participants come from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialist areas, and where the brief is to generate new ideas, it is more important that the facilitator has the ability to work creatively with the group, helping everyone to make a contribution, regardless of their level of expertise or seniority.