Examples of Planning Facilitation Skills
Jeff E. Brooks-Harris & Kevin G. Shollenberger
University of Hawai`i at Manoa

One of the best ways for a group to start the planning process is by generating lots of ideas in a nonevaluative manner. Brainstorming allows a group to think of a diverse and large number of ideas in a short period of time without rejecting ideas too quickly. Example: “We need to think of some possible fund-raisers for the Spring semester. Let's shout out as many different ideas as possible without criticizing the ideas. We can go back and evaluate how realistic each idea is later.” (Club / Organization)

This skill involves taking a successful behavior from one area and trying it in a new area. Example: “Now that we've all identified strategies that we used to achieve important goals in the past, let's see which of these strategies will help you achieve academic success here at UH.” (Peer Mentor)

After analyzing a problem and brainstorming possible solutions, it is important to make a decision about the best way to solve a problem or approach a challenge. Example: “It seems like there is too much underage drinking in our halls because there aren't any fun alternatives to alcohol on the weekend. Let's think about other things students like to do and see what we can plan.” (Resident Advisor)

Once knowledge has been shared in a group, it should be put into action in a way that directly relates to the experience of the group. In this way, group members can take new learning home with them. Example: “Now that we've talked about the importance of verbally communicating about sex in order to prevent negative consequences like STDs and coercion, I'd like each of you to write down some things a student could actually say to a dating partner to bring up these topics... Does anyone want to share what they've written?” (Peer Educator)

Making Specific Plans
Creating an action plan with specific steps, a time-line, and designation of who is going to take the lead on each section is a crucial skill in helping a group realize its goals. Example: “Now that we have passed legislation to spend money on improving library services, what specific steps are we going to take to accomplish this goal? Let's write them on the board and then assign leaders and a time-line.” (Student Government.)

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

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