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Facilitation Tips

Helpful Facilitation Tips


Before presenting any session there are many things one can do to feel more prepared:

  • Create an agenda for the training- this will help give you organization and structure
  • Review all topics- be informed
  • Consult, get varied points of view from multiple perspectives
  • Anticipate what may be potential questions or areas that might need clarification (don’t assume your audience will know everything that you’re discussing)
  • Develop a set of questions that will help guide your discussion or help your audience provide input


During an active session, you want a group discussion. Your role is to facilitate the flow of comments from participants. Although it is not necessary to interject your comments after each participant speaks, periodically assisting the group with their contributions can be helpful.

Here are some tips:

  • Paraphrase. Paraphrase what a participant has said so that he or she feels understood and so that the other participants can hear a concise summary of what has been said. Say something like:
    • “So, what you’re saying is that ...”
  • Give Positive Feedback. Compliment an interesting or insightful comment.
    • That’s a good point. I’m glad that you brought that to our attention.”
  • Expand. Elaborate on a participant’s contribution to the discussion with examples, or suggest a new way to view the problem.
    • Your comments provide an interesting point from that perspective. It could also be useful to consider how others would view the same situation.”
  • Devil’s Advocate. Disagree (gently) with a participant’s comments to stimulate further discussion.
    • I can see where you are coming from, but I’m not sure that what you are describing is always the case. Has anyone else had an experience that is different from Jim’s?”
  • Relieve Tension. Mediate differences of opinion between participants and relieve any tensions that may be brewing.
    • I think that Susan and Mary are not really disagreeing with each other but are just bringing out two different sides of this issue.
  • Change the Process. Alter the method for obtaining participation or by having the group evaluate ideas that have been presented.
    • Let’s break into smaller groups ...”
  • Summarize. Summarize (and record, if desired) the major views of the group.
    • I have noted four major points that have come up in our conversation (1) …, (2) …, (3) …, (4) ...”
(Source: Active Training, 26 Linden Lane, Princeton, NJ)


Once the session is done, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure that the session was valuable for participants and learn how to make the session better for next time:

  • Evaluations
  • Potential Questions:
    • What did participants enjoy?
    • What did participants learn?
    • What did they find most useful?
    • What did they find least useful?
    • What would they change?
    • What suggestions do they have to make the session better?
  • Once evaluations are collected, find time to review the evaluations (with co-presenters) if necessary. Feedback will be critical to making the sessions better and better.
  • Find time to meet with your co-presenters and staff from the Office of Multicultural Affairs to review how the session went!