10 Common Sense Facilitation Tips

1. How to ask the good questions (1)

As a facilitator, you must know your subject matter, the range of ideas or information you expect and the level of detail that you need. It is helpful to provide examples, good and bad, of the kinds of information or ideas you are looking for. Another approach is to test your questions on one or two participants ahead of time.

2. How to ask the good questions (2)

Keep questions open-ended and at the same time directed to the problem or issue at hand. Ask unusual questions to get the group to think creatively; juxtapose different problems or situations and engage the group in “what if...” scenarios. The idea process will help trigger new thinking when old problems are presented

3. How to ask the good questions (3)

Ask participants to respond with phrasing such as “How can we...,” “What if we....” Show participants how to use a headline to attract others to their ideas and then give the full detail. Start with broad questions to test the range of possibilities. Ask follow-on questions to narrow the scope and focus discussion.

4. How to ask the good questions (4)

Make sure participants have the needed background information to answer the questions. Let participants know why you are asking the questions. Provide context for the whole meeting and individual agenda items. Ask for examples and explanations; encourage participants to be as specific as they can.

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