What does a facilitator do?

The key role of a facilitator is to manage the dialogue that takes place in a group by keeping the discussion focused and lively … this means being trusted by the group not to manipulate the discussion (i.e. be seen as neutral and not having a vested interest in the outcome of the meeting) as well as having the tools and techniques to capture and record the discussion for reporting.

Typically a good facilitator will reduce the time taken for a meeting, improve the quality of debate, structure the agenda to provide variety and stimulation, be a master of the process used and be alert to nuances and changing moods that may occur in a group.

The focus of the facilitator has to be on the group and their needs, which means, being so in control of the process that they are able to concentrate on what is happening in the audience and pick up a slight shake of the head of someone in the audience, process that gesture and decide how to address it.