A facilitators checklist
From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 95 11:31 CST
Thanks to all for all who sent me ideas. The goal is a one page 
document of "reminders" for the facilitator.  Here is draft 1 of:

A facilitators checklist


Before the meeting:

Check the environment. Do you have the key, enough chairs, is there 
food or snacks available, does the lighting set the right mood, is it 
stuffy, warm enough, is there space to do what I want to do?
Check supplies. Do you have everything you need? Paper, pens? etc.
Write the agenda for all to see using action words to describe outcomes.
Check the agenda. Has it been well thought out?  Is it realistic for 
the time allotted?  Are there any issues or concerns missing?
Review outstanding old decisions or discussions from the last 2 
meetings.  Is there a follow-up needed?
Check yourself.  Are you feeling well and have the energy to facilitate 
today?  Do you have any hidden agendas you need to put in front of the 
group or realize within yourself?  Take time to silently prepare yourself.
Set a goal for the meeting and write it down so all can see.
Think about how to approach the agenda items. Are there any specific 
agenda items which may need a special format for discussion or resolution?

At the beginning of the meeting:

As people first come into the room do a check of the body language of 
each person.  Is there tension in the room.  Does someone have an 
obvious vibe that you might need to tap before the meeting starts?  Are 
people generally normal or is their some dynamic happening as they 
greet and talk with each other before the meeting?

As the meeting begins

Check in yourself to the group. Explain how you are feeling, any 
special things happening today, the tone.  Ask for feedback and help 
making the meeting work well.  Share your goal(s) for the meeting with 
the group.
Check in with the agenda.
        Review the agenda and prioritize. Ask for any additions or deletions.
        Set times for discussions and assign each item an owner.
        Be sure that items on the agenda are appropriate for large group 
discussion rather than small group work.
Assign whatever other roles are needed: note taker, time keeper, etc.

As the meeting runs

For each item on the agenda summarize previous discussions or decisions 
about the agenda item to bring everyone up to date.
Watch for dominance of speaking time and ask those who are quiet for 
ideas and thoughts
Summarize points and clarify discussion.  If an agreement is being 
sought, grab elements as they emerge in discussion and trial test them. 
 It helps to write down the topic or issue under discussion so everyone 
can see and refer to it.
Catch any items which have not been resolved, or come up in a 
discussion and ask the group what to do with them.
Note digressions and remind members to stay on task.
Make sure you have eye contact with the people you speak to.
Listen for and watch body language to catch any unexpressed issues or feelings.
Watch for comments which create a negative environment where people are 
afraid to speak and point it to the group.
Guide members who speak much to be briefer.
Watch time assigned for items and let group decide whether to continue 
or to move on.
Watch for restlessness and take breaks when you sense the need for one.
Be sure any tasks generated are assigned to specific individuals or groups.

As the meeting ends

Run through all task assignments and list any decisions made so any 
misunderstandings can be cleared before people leave.
Debrief the meeting with yourself at least, or with the group. What 
went well, what could be improved.
Be sure next meeting details, clean up and lock up tasks are assigned.

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