It's true that consultants advise clients in solving problems, but outstanding consultants HELP clients to solve issues. This implies that a consultant can transform into a great facilitator provided he is knowledgeable and knows the rules of the game. However, there are some who are too apprehensive to swim in the facilitation pool. On the contrary, there are overconfident ones and end up disappointing the client. In this article, we are going to discuss how to boost your corporate facilitation skills.
Be Eloquent about the Problem Statement
The problem statement needs to be articulated well and ensure that it is understood and accepted by all the attendees. Let's cite an example to make this point clear. Say for instance, a corporate client feels that there is a dearth of team spirit in a particular team. This should be the topic of discussion and every member should agree to it. The best way is writing about the problem on whiteboard so that the facilitator can refer to it during the course of the meeting.
Prepare Well in Advance
A professional forum retreat is one that prepares well in advance. In simple words, they do their homework very well. You need to understand the issue, the primary players in the conversation, and the key aspects surrounding the problem statement. Have a word with the boss and some of the key players of the meeting; ensure that you do not jump to conclusions before the meeting. Else, you will end losing the trust and confidence of the participants.
Address the Issue in Hand
As a facilitator, you will often come across situations when the discussion loses focus and is not addressing the main issue or concern. Keep the meeting focused so that the client's problems are resolved. Be tactful and refrain participants if they are discussing irrelevant aspects that are not related to the problem.
Active Participation of All Attendees
Take special note of the fact that who are the attendees not communicating and interacting. What you can do is asking some specific questions to people who are not taking active participation. Ask them about their views on the issue that is being discussed.
Question, but Don't Preach
Corporate facilitation does not mean that you have to flaunt your knowledge and wisdom. Neither it implies espousing your intelligence on the topic under discussion. Instead, you have to use your intelligence to help clients by providing them with a common and agreeable solution. In other words, question the attendees as much as you can, but don't preach. Ask specific and to the point questions, so that new facts are brought to light.
List of Specific Actions
During the discussion, specific actions pertaining to the issue will become evident. Be smart and diligent about noting these action items and make sure they are understandable by all the participants. Make sure what should be done, who should be given the responsibility to do it, and when should it be done.
So, facilitation is one of the primary skills that you need to possess as a consultant in resolving client's problems.