Facilitating Great Meetings Training Info

This two-day Facilitating Great Meetings Training is a balance between Groupwork Institute input, and a focus on people’s particular requirements and challenges they experience in meetings.

We work with you to ensure that our experiential training process meets the learning needs of your team.

Training Outline


Online short courses: Day 1 start 9:30am and finish at 5:00pm, Day 2 & 3 start at 9:30am and finish at 1pm

Face to Face short courses: Start at 9.30am and finish at 5.00pm.

Day One

  • Welcome and introductions
  • Purpose of the training
  • Agenda and agreements
  • Participants’ facilitation experiences and learning needs
  • Why meetings fail
  • Groupwork Institute’s model of self-awareness

Morning tea break

  • Meeting principles
  • Facilitation micro-skills – input and practice using participants’ learning needs

Lunch break

  • Work on learning needs using skills learned

Afternoon tea break

  • Offer to outline – preparing for meetings
  • Reflection on the day’s learnings
  • Evaluation of day one – focus for day two

Day two & Day 3 (if online)

  • Reflection from day one
  • Checking agenda for the day
  • Gathering and pooling the wisdom of the group
    • understanding and fostering groupness
    • helping people really hear each other
    • encouraging difference
    • pooling and synthesing ideas
    • collaborative decision making
    • taking action

Morning tea break

Work on participants’ meeting challenges. Most likely focus:

  • addressing issues identified around why meetings fail
  • ‘flat spots and hot spots’
  • more work on managing ourselves in challenging encounters

Afternoon tea break for face to face course

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Training content – Facilitating Great Meetings

Understanding Ourselves in Groups

The more we understand our own inner ‘selves’ and their interplay, the better facilitators we will be. First facilitate thyself! Come prepared to know (and accept) yourself better! This will entail:

  • mapping our own Community of Selves
  • getting to know and working on the fears and other self-limiting messages that hold us back as group facilitators
  • develop the emotional resilience to manage our own reactions when faced with challenging group dynamics.

Essential Principles of Facilitation

Facilitation practice needs to have a strong, collaborative value base.  As facilitators we need to be clear about our approach. We will look at:

  • the central values and principles of facilitation
  • the role of the facilitator
  • using our principles to plan with flexibility

Micro-skills for meetings

There are a range of micro-skills essential to facilitation. We say that effective facilitation is 20% good process, and 80% good facilitation skills. It is these micro-skills that bring facilitation to life. Some of these skills will be familiar to you, some will be new. In this training, we will introduce a number of micro-skills. For example:

  • naming and normalising
  • validating
  • helping people hear each other
  • facilitatory leadership
  • hearing and validating people’s contribution
  • synthesising group wisdom
  • welcoming difference – facilitating strongly held differing views
  • dealing with un-named dynamics

From offer to outline

It starts when we are asked to facilitate a meeting, and ends with that meeting being evaluated. There is much in between. We will look at:

  • Getting a clear brief
  • Do we accept the brief?
  • Stages of a meeting
  • Drafting session outline

Gathering and pooling the wisdom of the group

As meeting facilitators, we are often so focused on getting through our agenda, we miss opportunities to incorporate the wisdom of the group. We know that people learn best from their own insights and validation of what they already know. However, this is easier said than done. Particularly in the experiential aspect of this training, we will look at:

  • starting with wisdom from the group and building from this
  • hearing and synthesising peoples’ ideas
  • gathering wisdom from all in the group
  • relating workshop content to people’s experiences
  • getting ownership of content
  • facilitating vibrant discussion
  • encouraging and working with difference
  • understanding how our own rank affects our facilitation
  • working with significant differences in rank with the group

Dealing with meeting ‘hotspots’

Most of us have fears and avoidance behaviour around all sorts of challenging encounters. As facilitators, this will reduce the effectiveness of our work. We need strategies to deal with our own, and other’s feelings and reactive behaviour.

We could look at:

  • understanding our responses to conflict or the expression of strong feeling
  • working with ‘hot spots’ and ‘flat spots’
  • facilitating strongly held differences
  • bringing out what might be going on beneath the surface, when this is getting in the way of people’s learning
  • challenging behaviour – for example, dominant, aggressive or needy behaviours
  • challenges to your facilitation
  • skills to intervene in dynamics you find particularly challenging.

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Capacity to undertake this training

We have been providing independent facilitation services since 1984, and have been training facilitators since 1998. In 2001 we first offered the yearlong Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation, the first of its kind in the world.

This two-day training draws from:

  • Our own model of collaborative practice which has evolved from our experience of offering facilitation services since 1984.
  • We first offered facilitation training in 1998 when we ran a nine day intensive. Since then was have offered various forms of facilitation and meeting training to a wide variety of participants.
  • Our experience of offering this particular training format publicly and within workplaces since 2003. We continually refine this work in response to participants’ feedback and integrating new material from the broad realm of facilitation.
  • Our involvement in the broad realm of facilitation. We are active members of the International Association of Facilitation, foundation members of the Australasian Facilitation Network, and we initiated the Victorian Facilitation Network monthly peer support meetings.
  • The units we have developed in the Advanced Diploma of Group Facilitation. This Advanced Diploma is approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority – Course Code 10386NAT – as the world’s first nationally accredited facilitation qualification.

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