It’s About Expectations

Facilitation SkillsThis was the first time I had facilitated a meeting that wasn’t an internal Omaha Public Library group or a FIT Team pilot project.  I thought the June 11th Heartland 2050 meeting would be a good opportunity to practice my facilitation skills.  I wouldn’t have to worry about details like inviting participants, planning the agenda, and other tasks.

Although we received the instructions and agenda a little late (the day before the event), the organizers did a pretty good job of laying out their expectations.  I didn’t realize until the meeting day that each of us would be facilitating and note taking.  For some reason, I was under the impression that we’d work in pairs for these conversations.  However, there were too many people and small groups to let us work in pairs.

ExpectationsThe amount of information the organizers hoped to get out of the conversations seemed more than could be done in 40 minutes.  Their agenda included making introductions; setting ground rules; reviewing public input information; developing a set of outcomes; choosing the top 5 outcomes; and selecting a group member to report back to the entire room.  Fortunately, after realizing the work would take longer than originally planned, the organizers were flexible and gave us extra time.

The room set up also made the work a little difficult.  It was hard to hear at times.  It was also hard to keep a smaller group focused and engaged with multiple groups having discussions in all four corners.

Overall, the organizers’ instructions were clear and easy to follow.   It was a good opportunity to use my facilitation skills with a setting and people that weren’t familiar to me.

Posted by Melanie Schultz, Facilitator-in-Training

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