Facilitated Session

A Facilitated Session is used when you are trying to gather requirements from many people who may or may not have common roles and experiences.

Facilitated sessions are used when there are too many people to hold a group interview.

As you get more and more people in a meeting, the dynamics start to change.

Instead of focusing exclusively on questioning and listening, the interviewer now also spends much of his or her effort "facilitating" the meeting and making sure that the group stays on track for the common purpose of the meeting.

A Facilitated Session is led by a facilitator who helps guide the discussion and make it easy for everyone in the group to contribute. There are classes where people can learn formal facilitation skills, and, if possible, a facilitated session should be led by a formally trained facilitator.

A good facilitator possesses strong questioning and listening skills, as well as presentation skills and the ability to help the group successfully achieve its objective for the meeting.

Part of the success of the meeting comes from the facilitator's preparation before the meeting starts. Typically, the facilitator should spend as much time preparing for the meeting as the actual meeting time itself. The facilitator also helps the group reach consensus by using good verbal and written skills.

The written skills include expressing ideas on whiteboards and flipcharts so that everyone can see them and they can remain in front of people even as the discussion may go off in other directions.

Typically, facilitation is a full-time job at the meeting, so a second person must be available to be the scribe and document any agreements, open items, follow-up activities, etc.

The facilitator also does not participate in the actual discussion, since he or she could use his/her central role to dominate the discussion or sway the group a certain direction.

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