This is an introduction for those who have heard of this thing called "facilitation" but have no idea what it is, or who have seen facilitators in action but think they're doing something mystical, or who have been called upon to "facilitate" a meeting and don't know what that means. If you think you are a facilitator, then find ways to keep learning and growing. Work on you knowledge with books and professional groups. Work on your skills with practice, apprenticeships, and experiential classes. And most of all, work on yourself. Remember back in "What is a facilitator?" it was said that you would find out if facilitation is something you want to do and are good at? A friend said that readers might interpret that as saying good facilitation is genetic, not an acquired skill. The knowledge and skills can be acquired, but the Self takes much greater work. You have to decide how much work your Self needs and whether it's worth it.
- Establish a framework for this experience as a journey experienced together to gain a deeper understanding and respect for each other. Acknowledge that at times it may be uncomfortable, but discussion and mutual respect will help us move beyond that discomfort.
- Encourage participants to include their personal experiences, telling stories and sharing memories.
- Remember that the workshops are not intended to "fix" people but rather to support people in the process of personal learning.
- Remind participants that experiences vary. Encourage people to view each person's experiences with respect and dignity. Offer examples from your own experiences, and stay personally engaged with the process.
- Participants may want to have more time to deepen the dialogue or to expand on their stories. Be prepared to assist people with their emotional responses. If you feel the need for additional assistance, there are organizations that specialize in facilitating highly charged discussions, especially those which include race relations.
- Encourage the formation of learning pairs at the end of each session for mutual support and to continue the dialogue between sessions.
- Monitor individual and group dynamics during the workshops. Offer support as needed while respecting the needs of the participants.