Examples of Involving Facilitation Skills
Jeff E. Brooks-Harris & Kevin G. Shollenberger

University of Hawai`i at Manoa

Inviting Participation and Interaction
Leadership often involves prompting group members to take action or to interact with one another. This interaction can occur within the present group or in the future. Example: “Let's break down into small groups so that everyone can share their ideas about how to better promote spiritual growth on campus.” (Club / Organization)

Bouncing Back to the Group
The group's attention may naturally gravitate toward you as the leader. However, it is often helpful for you to deflect this attention and “bounce” the focus or energy back to the group itself to keep interaction and involvement high. Example: “That's a really good question. What have other people's experiences been in this situation?” (Peer Mentor)

Recognizing Commonalities and Promoting Consensus
Promoting involvement often involves helping group members find similarities in ideas, interests, values, and plans. Conflicts often arise when the group focuses on differences rather than common ground. Identifying similarities can be used to support common goals. Example: “It sounds like you have different ideas about how clean you need your room to be but you both agree that you want to work this out and maintain a friendship. After hearing from both of you, let's agree on some minimum standards that would be mutually agreeable.” (Resident Advisor)

Supporting Cooperation and Group Cohesion
As the identity of the group continues to form and strengthen, a key leadership skill is to encourage supportive interactions and nurture the ongoing interdependence of the members so that they feel like they can accomplish more as a group than individually. Example: “As we continue to lobby against tuition raises, it is important that we show a united front. We need to make sure that we are supporting each other and communicating the same message. How should we present our collective point of view?” (Student Government)

Experimenting with New Behavior
Group learning often involves encouraging members to try new things. Experimenting can include role plays, work sheets, or other exercises as well as simply suggesting alternate behaviors for members to try. Example: “Now that we've talked about different ways to meet people on campus, I'd like to do some role plays. Who would like to practice some of these skills?” (Peer Educator)

Copyright 1998 Jeff E. Brooks-Harris & Kevin G. Shollenberger. Permission is granted to copy and use this handout provided this copyright notice remains intact.

back | next

Back to Facilitation homepage

Back to Jeff Brooks-Harris' homepage