Facilitators: Types of Facilitation Services Offered

Facilitators are a remarkably savvy business management resource, enlisted by organizations of all sizes. Understanding the types of facilitation services offered by professionals is an excellent way of determining which fit your specific business goals.

Conference Facilitation and Planning

Conferences are a common way of formally bringing people within a company or industry together to discuss new business ideas and opportunities. These services assist with building program agendas, gathering marketing and promotional materials, and scheduling sessions or speakers. They are highly desired by companies that struggle with time management issues and the amount of planning required to host or attend these conferences.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an intricate process rather than an event in which a company and coordinator develop a projected long-term goal to increase business productivity. A well-organized strategy enables dialogue, opposition, positive feedback, and the mutual efforts of all internal company departments with a continued focus on the future. Organizations often recruit facilitators to ease the incorporation of a strategic plan during times they expect resistance from employees, such as drastic procedure changes and industry adaptation.

Team Building

Team building is a process used by facilitators and targeted toward increasing cooperation, teamwork, and camaraderie within a work unit to boost employee morale and positive collaboration. As business owners realize each member of a team plays an integral role of the company’s success, professionals are desired to introduce and monitor team building exercises with themes like creativity, brainstorming, problem solving, and trust. Designed to be stimulating, light-hearted and fun, coordinators are often able to pinpoint where a work unit’s social weaknesses lie based on how well they work with or against each other in each situation.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is often the result of basic differences. Occurring whenever people disagree about personal motivation, perception, value, or ideas within the workplace, an unresolved employee issue can have severely damaging effects on the entire group. Business owners cannot afford to compromise productivity as a result, and strive to rectify the conflict with professional assistance. Conflict resolution services are a valuable part of the facilitation solution for an inevitable problem, offering a neutral party to mediate and settle disagreements diplomatically.

Process Improvement

Process improvement is a systematic approach to help companies fine-tune their underlying procedures to achieve more efficient results. Coordinators take what is normally a tedious and time consuming task off of the business owner’s shoulders to learn about each employee’s role, responsibilities, and method of carrying them out in search of more time and cost efficient ways of operating.

Focus Group Management

A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which an outside group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitude toward a company’s products. Facilitators organize and plan which questions will produce the most beneficial and informative results for a company that may be struggling to meet consumers’ desires and preferences.

Partnering Sessions

Partnering session facilitation services are a professional and ideal means of support for business owners rekindling a former financial and legal partnership, or establishing a brand new professional relationship.

Group Facilitators Create Results by Encouraging Attendee Participation

Getting a group of people to work together with the purpose of achieving a common goal is often an obstacle for businesses. Facilitators may be incorporated into a workshop as a way to encourage positive participation in the workplace. Group facilitators help all participants with applying practical skills, problem resolution, and productivity issues. When the goal of a session is to put all these items to better use in future team collaborations, the process is commonly called a facilitated workshop. These sessions are advantageous any time a business is attempting to manage organizational changes.

A facilitation expert is included to remove existing barriers and to assist with goal achievement. Workshops help employees become motivated and create interaction that promotes a productive environment. Working relationships are improved due to the sense of belonging these professionals provide during the process. Many techniques are used throughout the building session to ensure it is a success.

How Do Facilitator Techniques Increase Collaboration?

The techniques applied by facilitators are an attempt to encourage each individual to constructively participate along with the rest of the group. A professional will first identify the objectives to be accomplished through the workshop. Flexibility is important in regards to participant schedules and goal achievement. If the facilitator is too focused on time or rushes into deliberations too quickly, less successful results will follow throughout the session.

Games are a common tool used before a meeting commences because it removes tension from the atmosphere. When individuals have to work together to win a game, they often have an easier time opening up and becoming comfortable around each other. These little breathers also promote teamwork, communication, and compromise.

Complex problem solving where the resolution is broken down into small pieces may be another used technique. Facilitators present the problem on a large scale and then break it into smaller manageable components. A section of the problem is assigned to each group so they can come up with a solution. By removing the intimidation of a big issue, the entire team is able to solve the complex problem. Some participants are not as willing to take part in the workshop. A facilitator typically identifies social unrest to provide additional encouragement to contribute to the group.

Visual tools are another tactic used during the facilitation process. Participant numbers are often limited to ten people because this count ensures all attendees are involved. Techniques vary based on the personal style of the professional and the overall objective of the workshop.

Group facilitatorsmust be self-aware, friendly, communicative, and open to provide needed results. Any business can set up a workshop to improve team work or decision making abilities. Some services provide a program for this type of facilitation designed to include one or many series of workshops. A company can also set up their own event and locate a facilitator to assist with developing a team building or staff enhancement session. Businesses often find these processes to be more rewarding when a qualified professional is used. With a little research, any type of collaborative session should be a success.

Manage Your Personal Productivity

There is a huge advantage in improving your personal productivity. It doesn’t matter whether you are an employee or you own your own business. The benefits of improving your ability to produce more in the same amount of time are considerable.

The most efficient way to deal with a task is to dump it. Look at the task objectively and ask yourself the question, is it necessary. If it’s not get rid of it off your “to do” list.

The best way to eliminate procrastination is to deal with your most difficult tasks first thing in the morning. This means that you can move on easily to the more enjoyable tasks and your day will be productive.

Work out the times of the day when you are naturally most productive. Allocate your critical tasks for those times. The rest of the working day should be utilized for non-critical tasks. For example, at the end of the working day I am normally brain-dead, so mindless jobs such as photocopying, filing answering e-mails fill in that time.

Without clear goals it is very easy to fall victim to distractions. Make sure that your overriding goals are visible at your workstation or in your office. Remember to have a reality check every now and again during the day. Ask yourself if what you are doing is contributing to your overall goals.

As part of my personal productivity system, I have included 15 minutes a day for thinking. During this 15 minutes each day, I turn off my phones, make sure I’m not going to get any interruptions, put my hands behind my head and think. This thinking time is used for strategic planning and problem solving. It requires a certain amount of discipline to take time out to think because of the temptations of socializing, coffee and other distractions. Some of my best thinking has occurred during this 15 minute break when I have been really creative.

There has been ample research to show that if you change from one task to another, your productivity takes a huge hit. So whenever you start a task don’t stop. Keep on going until it is completed. If you stop and start something else your productivity will take a dive. If another job needs doing, make a note of it and deal with it when you’ve finished the job in hand.

There will be times when you need complete concentration to carry out a task. Once you’ve identified it, allocate a block of time, turn off your phones, ban all interruptions and get on with it.

Remember the old saying, there is only one way to eat an elephant and that is one slice at a time.  Break down your complex projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. With each of these tasks, identified the target you must reach before you can stop working. Use your target as a milestone so that you can reward yourself with a cup of tea or coffee or even a slice of pizza.

I’ve found that the best way to boost my productivity is to break my work down to 55 minute blocks. At the end of the block, I will get up, stretch, walk around and think for five minutes. This energizes me to return to my task.

With a little bit of thought and self-discipline it’s possible to improve your personal productivity. After all, anything that makes your job easier and less stressful is worth investing some time and effort.