Groupwork Centre Blog

Practice these core facilitation skills anywhere!

Knowing when to keep going or slow down is one of many skills we need in facilitation and life

Knowing when to keep going or slow down: pacing energy is one of many skills we need in facilitation and life

The ability to work well with others is essential for success and enjoyment in the workplace. But great connections with your family members, friends, young people or even your local shopkeeper directly affect your quality of life.

Here are five of the many micro-skills that we value highly, both in our training courses and in the way we operate in life. Skills that you can use anywhere. Perhaps that last tense group discussion may have had a different outcome…

5 Fundamentals of Everyday Facilitation

Pacing Energy

This means watching and feeling the group energy and checking this out with the group. Are we getting too tired to keep going? Do we need a break here? Ask someone to help remind you if you feel you may get caught up in the process.


Good summarising by the facilitator is a very powerful skill. It mirrors back to the group where they seem to be up to with an issue and helps make the next steps clearer. Identifying common themes, linking and grouping the thoughts and feelings that have been expressed can be very useful to help organise the group’s ideas so far.

Clarifying and Simplifying

It is important that everyone knows clearly what another person means by what they are saying. As facilitators, it may be useful to reflect back the essence of what someone is saying. We can check this with the speaker and then make sure the rest of the group is hearing the speaker.

Building on People’s Experience

We need to be able to honour the wisdom and experience people bring to the group. We should always seek to build on that base. If there is any input to be given by the facilitator, it is often worth starting with what people know.


We need to be aware of everyone who wants to contribute to a discussion. We need to watch and check that people who want to speak get a chance, while not ‘forcing’ people to contribute. We need to be able to get the wisdom of all, so we can pool and link wisdom to build better outcomes.

These micro-skills may seem subtle, but they all assist you with engaging others. When your participants feel that they have really understood what is going on, their views have been heard and they have become fully aware of others’ input, they can better develop ownership of the process and commitment to successful outcomes.

If you’d like the idea of these we have a card deck of micro-skills you can purchase too.

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