My kids used to tell me that they used to have a lot of problems to explain to their colleagues what exactly their mother did and do. What's to be a facilitator? I just recall another story: a person working for the German Development Bank looked at my business card and said: "oh, I would never hire you with this title: social development facilitator? What's that? I would hire an economist, for instance".
I think a facilitator has one major role: to link. To marry. What? People, processes, procedures, instructions, orientations. Funders with funded. Plan and budget. Data producers and data users. Writers and readers. Central and decentralized level.
In facilitation events, the facilitator has to be very good in three things:
1. To do a thorough preparation, getting ready to promote varying moments of opening up, and consensus making, opening up, and consensus making...
2. To calculate well the time. The time needed for people to read, to listen, to reflect, to talk, to share. Start on time, finish on time. No pressure. Fun. And mission accomplished in the end.
3. To link and marry, as I said. How? Paying attention to the people. Listening. Connecting. Deconstructing individual discourses to cook a collective understanding. Relating the local and the global.
So, that was my quick recipe for good facilitation.
One more picture of our group last week.