Once you learn a facilitation technique, how do you practice it?
You’ve read the books, watched the videos, and taken the training sessions. Congrats—you put in a lot of hard work to become a skilled facilitator! Now, how will you practice your facilitation skills? How will you hone them to precision and keep them fresh? Here’s an idea: find ways to apply new knowledge or skills to what you already do in your everyday life. Here are three creative ways to practice facilitation during an average week:
- Facilitate internal meetings at work. Want a low-stress way to practice or test a new technique? Use work meetings you already attend. Practice new techniques at team check-ins, project planning sessions, or staff meetings. Ask for feedback when you’re done. If you’re a novice facilitator and not ready to facilitate on your own, then pair up with a more seasoned facilitator. You can lead a brief session like a 5-minute warm-up discussion before handing the meeting over to someone with more experience.
- Lead a topical discussion. Offer to teach colleagues about something you’re familiar with. Look for a topic in your vein of expertise that relates to something others are interested in. If you know a lot about the organization’s project management software, offer to teach coworkers how to free up time by using some great hacks. You can also facilitate a lunchtime discussion club or employee interest group.
- Look outside your day job. Do you volunteer with a nonprofit or sit on a board? Do you attend a group that isn’t usually facilitated, like a school team or community interest meetup? The group participants may be grateful for some pro bono facilitation services and appreciate having someone take the reins, even if you are a novice. Examples we’ve seen at Integrated Work include:
- Leading a strategic planning session for community groups (volunteer fire departments, trade associations)
- Teaching classes at a local college or a non-credit continuing education program
- Facilitating monthly meetings that previously had no leader or skilled facilitation, such as a homeowner’s association
- Hosting a leadership development session for a religious organization
- Facilitating casual meetups like writing groups and book clubs