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In organizational development (OD) and consensus decision-making, facilitation refers to the process of designing and running a successful meeting.

Facilitation concerns itself with all the tasks needed to run a productive and impartial meeting. Facilitation serves the needs of the group in its decision-making. It does not lead the group, nor does it try to distract or to entertain.

Aspects of facilitation

The role of the facilitator

See the facilitator article for details of exactly how a facilitator might run a meeting.

Prior to a meeting, facilitators:

  • research the meeting before it happens
  • find out the purpose and goal (if any) of the meeting
  • establish who needs to attend
  • draw up a draft agenda and design the group processes to attain the necessary results
  • share the agenda with potential attendees, changing it as necessary
  • ensure everyone gets fully briefed for the meeting and that everyone knows the purpose and potential consequences of the meeting

Facilitators then run the meeting, taking care that it stays on the agreed agenda and keeping an eye on the allocated time. They ensure the recording (with an agreed phraseology) of agreements. They may also note unresolved issues for later debate.

The facilitator may write up and publish the results of the meeting to everyone concerned including those who could not attend.

Principles of facilitation


  • Roger Schwarz (Author); The Skilled Facilitator; Jossey-Bass ; ISBN 0-7879-4723-7 (New & Revised July 2002)
  • Thomas Kayser; Mining Group Gold; McGraw Hill - 1995.


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