Group facilitators help guide and direct people during a meeting or conference call to ensure that all goals are met in an effective way. They work with a variety of groups from nonprofit organizations to large corporations. For group facilitator positions, employers look at a variety of criteria, including education and skills.
The main responsibility of all group facilitators is to help people reach a successful conclusion during a meeting or conference call. They also plan and design the process to be followed during the meeting. For example, group facilitators may decide to conduct brainstorming sessions or ice-breaker games during the meetings. Along with the leader of the group, the facilitator may create a meeting agenda, set rules and supply handouts for all participants. Group facilitators are also responsible for recording results from the meeting to help the group come up with a consensus.
Although group facilitators come from different professional backgrounds including working as business managers, consultants, teachers and counselors, training programs are available in this field. For example, DePaul University offers a group facilitation certification program providing various classes on group processes, guiding groups and creating a participatory environment. Group facilitators can also be certified through facilitation organizations, such as the International Association of Facilitators. Applicants must submit a resume, provide evidence of training and experience working as a group facilitator. After passing these steps, qualified applicants are interviewed in person and must conduct a workshop based on a selected topic by the committee.
You must have good listening skills in this field. Group facilitators have to pay close attention to the conversations held during a meeting. They need exceptional communication skills to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and work environments. For example, a group facilitator working with cancer survivors may need to be more compassionate than one conducting a business retreat for a large corporation. Since facilitators play a key role in helping groups come up with conclusions, they must be detail-oriented and have effective problem-solving skills.
Group facilitators work in a variety of environments, among them businesses, the government and local charity organizations. Some facilitators work independently; others work for consulting firms. Depending on the topic, some facilitators work in stressful and intense situations while facilitating meetings. Some also volunteer their time serving as group facilitators, especially for nonprofit organizations, such as cancer and substance abuse groups.
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