Lynn Morrissey leads a classroom discussion.
Your employees smile and nod when you pass them in the hall,
they are quick to agree with you when you make a suggestion,
but when you ask them for their opinions, you bump into
a wall of blank stares. Like a scene from a Dilbertian sci-fi
flick, your employees clam up when you want candour. They
go from chatty to chattering teeth with one simple question.
Facilitating a frank discussion can be difficult and disappointing
if you don’t flesh out the information you need. Developing
effective facilitation skills can help you engage your audience
and get more out of your group discussions.
“Everyone in your organization has an opinion; they
may even have a solution,” said Lynn Morrissey, a
professional facilitator and instructor at the Faculty of
Business Administration. “Finding out what your employees
and stakeholders think is extremely valuable. There’s
no guarantee you’ll get the answers you want to hear,
but you will find out what you need to know.” Learning
how to moderate group discussions and get the most out of
an audience can make you one of your organization’s
most valuable assets.
Ms. Morrissey suggests that if you’re involved in
issue resolution, strategic planning, problem solving, focus
group delivery or process management, sharpening your facilitation
skills could give you an edge on corporate communication.
“Group behaviour is fascinating. There are so many
different personality types and when you put them in the
same room it can be quite interesting. Some people will
want to dominate the discussion while others will try to
blend into the background. Learning how to overcome group
challenges and get input from everyone takes a solid understanding
of the facilitation process and practice.”
This October, Memorial University’s Centre for Management
Development (CMD) is launching a three-module program designed
to meet the need for skilled, effective session leaders
and facilitators. The Professional Facilitator Certification
Program, which Ms. Morrissey is leading, will explore the
facilitation process, offer tools and techniques for overcoming
the challenges of working with groups, and give participants
practical facilitation experience.
The program is being limited to 12 participants to maximize
everyone’s learning potential; however, the CMD has
scheduled a fall and winter offering. To register or find
out more about the program contact the CMD at 709-737-7977
or visit www.mun.ca/cmd.