Facilitation is the art of tapping into the knowledge and experience that clients already have, and working with them to help them achieve their objectives. We clarify the strategic intent, and then specifically design both the process and the agenda to achieve the objectives of the event, whether they be purely business oriented, interpersonal or team oriented, or a combination of the two.
We plan for the personality and needs of the group. We carefully orchestrate the desired atmosphere, to create an environment conducive to open communication and creativity. As appropriate, we develop processes to reach out to and involve diverse stakeholders, whether that participation is directly at a facilitated in-person meeting or via other methods such as teleconference, survey, or web collaboration. We have facilitated groups that range in size from a few people to hundreds of people, and know how to tailor the agenda and facilitation plan to meet the needs of groups of various sizes.
Working with diverse stakeholders requires a wider range of skills than does facilitating a group of people from a single organization structure. We have been successful on many projects that involve cross-organizational input and participation from Congress, Federal agencies, State and local agencies, policy makers, political appointees, scientists, academia, national nonprofit organizations, local nonprofit agencies, industry representatives from large and small firms, and private citizens.
We use a variety of group facilitation techniques and tools including icebreakers, brainstorming, breakout groups, flipcharts, etc. We use specific techniques to move a group toward consensus, for example, dot-polls for rough prioritization. We use tools such as sticky walls (rip-stop nylon sprayed with an adhesive) to flexibly place and re-arrange items recorded on pieces of paper when the ability to reorganize is important. We use laptops to project text in large fonts and make changes the entire group can see when the changes are not extensive. We also take copious notes and provide meeting minutes or a draft and final report following each meeting. We support planning and coordination of meeting logistics, development of background or read-ahead materials, note taking and/or transcription, and publishing of reports, including graphics and printing where appropriate.