a blue banner with “Facilitation Quick Tips and Tricks” in white accompanied by illustrations of space, thought bubbles, numbered papers, a hierarchy of blocks, and a clock with stars

by Elisabeth White | 2-3 Minute Read

I believe facilitation is a learned artform that’s tailored to a Facilitator’s core strengths. But to learn is to experiment! On my Facilitator journey, I’ve discovered a few quick tips and tricks that have led to successful facilitation. I encourage you to experiment with these techniques to discover your own unique approach to facilitation!

First – Do No Harm.

As a Facilitator, my intent is to guide a conversation to its desired outcome. I want to lead with empathy and use assertiveness only to course correct the dialogue - not to do harm. When facilitating, I’m kind, patient, and understanding.

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Be Prepared but Flexible.

I want to know the agenda and desired outcome of the conversation but realize that the agenda might be completely scrapped, and things could go sideways, so I’m flexible. I prepare materials beforehand so I can actively engage and evolve with the conversation if/when needed.

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Allow Priorities to Shift and to Emerge.

I don’t assume the agenda will go as planned. I’m ready for priorities to shift – and I’m okay with that. I focus first on the relationship and the partnership. It’s okay for the priority to shift.

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Quality Over Time.

For me, quality is more important than time when facilitating. If I only have 2 minutes to drive a conversation to a desired outcome, then it becomes the most important 2 minutes in my day. I don’t need 45 minutes for a powerful facilitation moment.

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Identify “No-Fly Zones.”

If there are topics that I’m not comfortable covering or facilitating through, I state it upfront. I also respect the “no-fly zones” of participants and steer the conversation back on track when needed. I’m honest and clear about boundaries.

a red no circle


I own the facilitation of the conversation! I announce that I’ll be serving as a Facilitator to drive the conversation toward the desired outcome. a blue icon of a person with a lighter blue speech bubbleAs I facilitate, I keep the bigger picture in mind, and I read the room and read the participants. I watch body language, facial cues, and carefully listen. I honor the timebox by concluding on-time with action items and next steps.