It’s tempting to simply dive right into the facilitation process. But first, let’s step back from it for a moment and look at the bigger picture. Facilitation isn’t just about the process. Two of the most critical elements of success involve what we do before and after our meetings. This is illustrated in the figure to the left as the three “P’s” familiar to most facilitators. These are 1) Preparation, 2) Process, and 3) Progress.
Success of facilitated events tracks closely to the degree you prepare. Just as we wouldn’t conduct a screenplay without a script, we seldom dive into convening a meeting without knowing its purpose and how we’re going to achieve it. And ironically, when careful planning is done, it actually frees us to improvise to meet the immediate needs of our group.
The aim of group meetings is to make some kind of Progress in the world after our meeting. That is, we have a desire to gain new skills, understanding, or solutions we can apply in our lives and work. Otherwise, there’d be little reason to meet.