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Conducting Meetings

Formal and informal dialogue is inherent to building healthy communities and regions.

Basic tips on implementing meetings and key leadership skills are provided in this area of Economic Development Online.


According to the Webster Dictionary, facilitate means “to make easier”. A facilitator is a person who can make your meetings flow more smoothly and be more productive. The facilitator paces the group, offers a variety of possible ways to approach problems, and waits until an agreement on a particular process is made.

As a community leader or developer, you may be called upon to facilitate meetings or groups in order to:

  1.  To keep meetings focused on the subject of discussion
  2.  To have a neutral person present who will manage the process
  3.  To accomplish goals in a more timely manner
  4.  To give the group a sense of accomplishment

The facilitator manages the process of a meeting by stepping into different roles as necessary:

  1. The Opener: Opens communication channels and initiates discussion, or facilitates better communication if the group is already talking.
  2. The Legitimizer: Reminds all parties to recognize the right of others to express opinions and be involved in decisions.
  3. The Process Facilitator: Lays down ground rules for the meeting and often formally leads the discussion, especially in the early sessions.
  4. The Trainer: Educates participants who may lack skills or preparation in the processes of negotiation and problem solving.
  5. The Resource Expander: Provides procedural assistance to the groups and links them to outside resources that may lead to more informed or varied viewpoints.
  6. The Problem Explorer: Examines a variety of viewpoints and helps the group achieve consensus.
  7. The Agent of Reality: Uses critical as well as creative thinking to question and challenge group members who have extreme and unrealistic goals.
  8. The Leader: Mobilizes the group’s resources to achieve goals.

In short, a facilitator is an expert, not in providing answers, but in managing the dynamics of the group that is doing the work.

Six Step Facilitation Approach

In the Subscribers Only Section you will find:

  • Facilitator’s Guide suitable for a variety of interactions.
  • Interactive Decision Making Template.
  • How to manage effective meetings.
  • The basics of delegating and problem solving.
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