What is facilitation? For me, it’s putting together a structured meeting, or series of meetings, that produces a clear outcome, which is understood, and supported, by everyone attending.
I put a lot of preparation work into the process, including briefing meetings with the client, to make sure that I’m putting together something that will deliver on their objectives. I’ve been facilitating for over 30 years, and I’m continually learning through collaborations with fellow facilitators, whose style and ideas I shamelessly plunder, as they do mine!
I also chair meetings for organisations, usually for a once-off situation, where the organisation would like everyone, including the chairperson, to be able to input into a particular decision. Sometimes, when there’s hard decisions to be made by committees, it helps to have an independent chair, someone who will keep everything on track, and ensure that a decision is made (which is, after all, the purpose of a committee meeting!)
Here’s a Testimonial from one of my recent clients, the Irish Forest School Association (IFSA):
IFSA is a newly founded organisation.
Our newly elected Executive of 10 people from quite different backgrounds and levels of experience worked with Deirdre to develop our vision and mission statement. She really knows her stuff.
A preparatory meeting with her really helped us to focus on what we wanted to achieve from the day. At the same time, she understood where we were coming form and the 'ethos' we were trying to create for our Association.
She is highly organised and at the same time has a warm lively style that is very engaging. We came away with a vision statement that people really believe in and refer to and use - a real mark of success.
She also provided a written report that is clear and which we used to help us with other activities during the year.
All of our Executive are volunteers and give a lot of their time and thought to IFSA.
Deirdre really acknowledged that during our work with her, which helped us to bond and work effectively together as a group.