A Neutral Third-Party to Guide the Discussion
Facilitators work with varying numbers of organizational groups - small and large, internal and external – to offer procedural support from a neutral point of view. Facilitations can range from a single board meeting to a public task force comprised of civic, corporate, and governmental groups that meet over months and years.
A good facilitator provides value by organizing and directing a meeting’s content and tone to maximize efficiency, both in terms of time and results. Facilitators guide the conversation to capture key points and alleviate tension when necessary, acting as an impartial third-party to avoid individual agendas from getting in the way of group progress.
Boards and Associations
Often facilitators sit as neutral chairs at board or association meetings where high conflict and strongly differing opinions can make it difficult to achieve consensus.
Competing interests, opinions, and negotiation styles can quickly complicate negotiations involving three or more parties. In these situations, a facilitator is employed to keep discussions orderly and to track the changing positions of each group.
Fact-Finding and Focus Groups
Facilitation usually entails fact-finding sessions to gain a clearer understanding of personal opinions, concerns, and observations. Increased information and clearer understanding between parties usually results in better management decisions and fewer disagreements.
Focus groups, historically used as marketing initiatives, identify and isolate issues, interests, motivations, and perceived results among key stakeholders. Usually this includes a limited number of people from within a single organization, but can also be conducted between departments and external groups. The purpose is not to negotiate, defend, or address any matter raised, but simply to gather focused information that might not otherwise be attainable.
For more information on when facilitation is recommended, our other Alternative Dispute Resolution services, or to contact us, please see the links below: