Facilitation Techniques


Facilitation Techniques



We invite you to dive into the essential facilitation techniques and explore to which extent they are present in your practice and how you can utilise them (even) more.

To begin with, here is a quick reminder of the facilitator’s role(s):
  • to support everyone to do their best thinking
  • to encourage full participation, mutual understanding, introduce the concept of shared responsibility
  • to bridge the gap between diverse groups of participants

In order to fulfil this role, facilitators have these 9 core techniques at their disposal for honouring each point of view.

Paraphrasing: Why?
  • It is a fundamental listening skill
  • Has a calming and a clarifying effect
  • Very useful when speaker’s statements are confusing
Paraphrasing: How?
  • Use your own words to say /summarise what you think the speaker said
  • Preface your paraphrase with something like: “Let me see if I understood this well…”
  • In the end, look for the speaker's reaction (“Did I get it?”)

Mirroring: Why?
  • It captures people’s exact words
  • It is very useful when the facilitator feels the need to establish their neutrality
  • Its key purpose is building trust
  • It allows the speaker to hear back their own words
Mirroring: How?
  • Use the words of the speaker, not your words
  • Mirroring encompasses verbal replica of the speaker’s words, but the nonverbal part of the message should be warm and accepting

Drawing people out: Why?
  • It is a way of supporting people to take the next step in clarifying their ideas.
  • Is particularly useful in two circumstances:
  • When someone is having difficulty in clarifying an idea
  • When someone thinks they are being clear, but in fact it is confusing for the listener.
  • It sends the message “Take your time and get your idea all the way out”
Drawing people out: How?
  • It is most effective along with paraphrasing
  • Paraphrasing +
  • “Can you give me an example of what you mean?” or
  • “Can you say more about that?”

Stacking: Why?
  • It is a procedure for helping people take turns when several people want to speak at once
  • Lets everyone know that they are going to have their turn to speak an helps them to listen without distraction
Stacking: How? (proposed steps)
  • The facilitator asks those who want to speak to raise their hands
  • They create a speaking order
  • They call on when participant’s turn to speak arrives
  • Alternately facilitator does another round of stalking (“Does anyone else has something to say?”)

Tracking: Why?
  • Means keeping track of various lines of thought that are going on simultaneously within a single discussion
  • Lets the groups see that several elements of the topics are being discussed and treats all as equally valid
Tracking: How? (proposed steps)
  • Facilitator indicates that they are going to step back from the conversation and summarise it.
  • They name the different conversations that have been in play
  • They check for accuracy with the group

Encouraging: Why?
  • It is the art of creating an opening for people to participate without putting anyone individual on the spot
  • It is especially helpful during the early stage of discussion while members are still warming up
Encouraging: How? (some examples of the technique)
  • Who else has an idea?
  • Is this discussion raising questions for everyone?
  • Is there a youth worker’s perspective on this issue?
  • Let’s hear from someone that hasn’t spoken for a while?

Balancing: Why?
  • Facilitator helps a group round out its discussion by asking for other views that may be present but unexpressed
  • It provides welcome assistance to individuals who don’t feel safe enough to express views that they perceive as minority positions
  • It sends the message – it is acceptable here for people to speak their mind no matter what opinions they hold.
Balancing: How? (some examples of the technique)
  • Ok, now we know where three people stand. Does anyone else have a different position?
  • Does everyone else agree with this?
  • So, we have heard the X point of view and the Y point of view, is there a third way of looking at this?

Making space: Why?
  • Sends the quiet person this message: “If you don’t want to talk now, that’s fine, but if you would like to speak, here is an opportunity.”
Making space: How? (proposed steps)
  • Keep an eye on the quiet members, be on the lookout for body language or facial expression that may indicate their desire to speak
  • Invite them to speak
  • If they decline, be gracious and move on
  • If necessary, hold others off
Note: If participation is very uneven, suggest a structured go-around to give each person a chance to speak.

Intentional silence: Why?
  • It is highly underrated. It consists of a pause usually lasting no more than a few seconds and it is done to give the speaker the extra ‘quiet time’ to discover what they want to say.
  • It is also powerful when a group member’s remark seems too flat, too easy.
Intentional silence: How?
  • If the facilitator can survive the awkwardness caused by the silence, participants can as well
  • With eye-contact and body language stay focused on the speaker or the group, say nothing (verbally and non-verbally)

This activity supports trainers’ competence development in the "Facilitating Learning" area. Activity content and badge issuing criteria aligned with the European Training Strategy (ETS) competence model for trainers to work internationally.

Competence: Facilitating group dynamic in a way that is conducive to different ways of learning. In particular:
  • Identifies changing factors and different stages of group processes
  • Adjusts group processes according to any identified change in factors
  • Empathises with learners
  • Respects different ways of learning and shows flexibility

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Facilitation Techniques Get this badge

The Badge earner has become familiar with the facilitation techniques in non formal education and reflected on how to use them in their training practice.

To get this badge, trainer:
  • Reflected on how to improve using facilitation techniques in their training practice.

Activity content and badge issuing criteria aligned with the European Training Strategy (ETS) competence model for trainers to work internationally.

Learning duration: 1,5 hours
Задание номер 1
Доказательства проверены: Один организатор мероприятия
Before your next training activity, allocate time to reflect on the questions below. If possible, try to do the reflection with a colleague trainer and note down your own answers.
  1. Which of the facilitation techniques have you been using actively in your training practice?
  2. Choose one of the techniques that you use the most frequently. What are some of the examples where you felt that the chosen technique really supported the learning process of the participants?
  3. Which technique(s) are you struggling with? How can you become more comfortable and confident in using it?
  4. How can your colleague support you in practising that technique?


#Understanding and facilitating group dynamic in a way that is conducive to different ways of learning
#Dentifies changing factors and different stages of group processes
#Adjusts group processes according to any identified change in factors
#Empathises with learners
#Respects different ways of learning and shows flexibility
Facilitating learning processes
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