A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
Place high priority items at the begin
important to help the group meet its goals
ning of the agenda;
in a way that feels good.  Being the facil 
itator is taking on a role of serving the
Arrange to have someone present each
group.  A group may decide to have one
agenda item.  This could be the facili 
designated facilitator for the semester,
tator.  Whoever explains the item
have two people who are co facilitators
should be prepared to give background
sharing the responsibility, or rotate facili 
information on why the item is on the
tators at each meeting.
agenda, and what is needed (i.e., a
decision, feedback, information shar 
The meeting should start with introduc 
ing, or a brainstorm of ideas);
tions. You can go around and have each
person say their name and something
Estimate the time needed for each
about themselves such as where they live
item.  This also can help give partici 
or other groups they're involved in or
pants an idea of the relative importance
activities they do.  You should go over
or complexity of each item and help
the agenda to see if your proposed plan
tailor the discussion to the available
seems right to the group.  Ask for
approval, corrections, or additions.
Determine an ending time for the meet 
Vary the items on the agenda, creating
ing.  Before you begin make sure there is
a balance among long and short items,
a note taker/recorder.  You may decide
items that require decisions and those
you want to have other designated roles
that are information sharing;
as well, such as a timekeeper or a person
to welcome/orient people who come late.
Try to deal with difficult or controver 
The following are some basic functions
sial items before everyone gets tired;
of the facilitator:
Leave time for introductions early in
Staying on task/gate keeping
the agenda.  Most student groups have
Get things started on time; 
at least some new people at each meet 
ing.  Failing to make introductions
Make people feel welcome, orient new
could lead to new members feeling
people to the group and its process
excluded and alienated throughout the
(e.g., "we use Robert's Rules of
meeting; and
Order,   we have an informal
process,   we vote,   we make deci 
Make a concerted effort to stick to your
sions by consensus. );
time schedule.  Always begin and end
meetings as close to the scheduled time
Follow the agenda, keep people
as possible.
focused on one thing at a time;
Help the group stay clear on what's
Facilitating a Meeting
happening (e.g., information sharing,
decision making, discussion, brain 
As the facilitator it is your role to help the
storming, etc.); and
group accomplish its goals.  It is equally
M a n a g i n g   Y o u r   G r o u p
M     5 7


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