First facilitation tip

As promised – my facilitation insights and tips from the International Association of Facilitators conference in Melbourne.

Day 1 – full day workshop on designing processes for complex situations with Dorothy Strachan from Canada.

Big facilitation insights for design:

  • Think about who you’re designing the process for. What is their culture, what language makes sense, what sort of activities and behaviours will make sense to them?
  • Get people engaged early. Be willing to create a sense of discomfort or disquiet in their minds. By this I mean you should be highlighting what they don’t like about their current situation. This will help in getting them to be part of a solution to address this
  • Identify the real issue that needs to be addressed. Often we’re asked to run a ‘planning day.’ We need to ask some critical questions to help unearth just what is really going on, so we can design an appropriate process with the right people in the room
  • This in turn raises the question of who is really the client in all of this? Who do we really need to target to be involved in the process

Looking forward to your thoughts and questions!

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lindy Amos says

    Great summary Andrew. The workshop was refreshing and Dorothy had so much knowledge to share. I assume we only scratched the surface. My main takeaway as I reflect this morning is that as a process designers we have a great responsibility to ensure the process is fit for purpose. For me, this this requires taking up an expert role and an influencing role with greater confidence and clarity. My experience suggests that sometimes as facilitators we may shy away from these roles. Maybe this has to do with some facilitation myths we have believed! Once we have the necessary scoping information we need to advocate strongly for a process that serves the objectives and the purpose in negotitation with the client. Sounds simple right…… But as Dorothy said simple is not easy. I look forward to catching up with you today at the conference

    • Andrew Huffer says

      Thanks Lindy – some very telling comments there – and yes I agree with your insights. My take is that facilitation in some cases is overly PC. We need to get on with a focus on helping people make good decisions. I liked Dorothy’s view on inclusiveness = the smallest number of ppl, bringing the largest number of perspectives and expertise…I’d add experience to that as well. Ready for a great conference, Andrew

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