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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)
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close this folderHow was this user's guide to creative training produced?
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View the documentWorkshop objectives
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close this folderBasic facilitation skills
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close this folderMood setting exercises
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close this folderDrawing and chalk talk
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Facilitation skills are a basic requirement for a trainer to ensure active participation and meaningful exchanges during trainings or workshops.

Who is a Facilitator?

A facilitator:

· Ensures the effective flow of communication within a group so that the participants can share information and arrive at decisions.

· Poses problems and encourages group analysis.

· Provokes people to think critically and motivates them towards action.

· Does not change or ignore any decisions reached by the participants through consensus.

· Is sensitive, both to the verbal and non-verbal communications that occur in the group.

· Is sensitive to the feelings, attitudes, culture, interests and any hidden agenda that may be present in a group.


To resolve conflict, a facilitator should be able to sense the ADI, where

A is for Agreement
D is for Disagreement
I is for Irrelevance


Agreements should be explored, disagreements respected and any irrelevances identified so that the focus will be on reaching an agreement. Exploring Ds can also be explored to widen the A.

A facilitator should be like a sponge

An effective way of learning facilitation skills is through observing how effective facilitators handle a group in a certain activity. A good facilitator is like a sponge. They are never content with the skills and knowledge they have, and are aware that their capacity for learning is endless.

In keeping with this sponge image, effective facilitators learn from everything. In each course they conduct, they gain new insights and apply these to the next course based on their understanding.


When observing effective facilitators, take note of the following questions:

· What are the facilitators' styles of facilitation?
· How effective are these styles?
· How do they handle their participants?
· How do the participants respond to them?
· What are their strengths and weaknesses?

There are no exact formulas for effective facilitation. More important than having the capacity to liven up the group is to be able to provide a structure within which the group can discuss the agenda in a productive manner.