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The Art of Facilitating … What is Facilitation and Why Do I Need It?

By September 12, 2022May 3rd, 2023No Comments

Vicki Pozzebon, Rae Miller, and Eileen Everett in action.

What does a gathering with supportive, experienced facilitation look and feel like? This is a question the Prospera Partners facilitation team continuously reflects on. We’d like to shed some light on what we have learned.

Facilitate means to “make (an action or process) easy or easier.” We view our facilitation as a form of easing; of creating spaces that feel productive and efficient, restorative and healing, and that create a sense of belonging for everyone. 

Many think that facilitation is simply meeting hosting. Although serving as a meeting host is necessary to get work done, as it involves creating and sharing an agenda, staying on time, and often calling on people as they raise hands, it is not the same as having a skilled team of facilitators working to ensure everyone has buy-in for the meeting, understands the decision making processes, and feels included. Facilitators are there to notice and address power dynamics that are occurring in the moment with the group, as well.

For our team, facilitation is about designing an agenda that values what everyone can bring to the space and that participants feel invested in, with takeaways and goals that are clear to everyone. It’s about ensuring that everyone in the space understands why they are there and how they can contribute. Although we do keep things on track and on time, we are constantly fostering authentic inclusion and shifting cultures to be anti-oppressive, as well. For example, we continuously evaluate who in the space is sharing and who is not. At times, we may call on people as they raise their hands and at times, we stop and create space for individuals to quietly reflect in order to honor the different ways and pace people have when processing. We will intentionally ask for those who haven’t shared yet to contribute as a way of creating new space for voices that have been historically excluded, and/or those that may be more introverted and/or process differently.


“Our facilitation team is continuously looking below the surface of what is being shared to unearth the unspoken truths.”

Our facilitation team is continuously looking below the surface of what is being shared to unearth the unspoken truths. Often, these are referenced as the “elephant in the room”– the thing that no one wants to say out loud, but that is clearly lurking in the space and can inhibit progress if not addressed. We seek these out and use our experience to find ways to move through any tension it’s causing in a way that is “easier” and often leads to a place of deeper trust and relationship building among participants. It’s a way of countering what often perpetuates inequities and serves to keep those with power in power. Instead, our approach creates new spaces that value difference and lead to larger and longer-lasting change.

Finally, we also view facilitation as a means to collect many forms of information that can lead to better decisions for organizations, businesses, and sectors. Rather than focusing on a few points of data, we harvest information in a variety of ways to capture as much from participants as possible. We then use a whole systems thinking approach to distill the information down and use this to check assumptions. Then we offer recommendations that truly capture the voices of all participants, not just the loud and quick processors in the space. 

In other words, our team doesn’t just host meetings. By offering quality facilitation that creates space for all voices to be heard and respected, we are creating real change for our clients, and for our communities.  

Could your organization or business use an expert facilitator? Reach out to learn more, or subscribe to our enews to stay in touch.