Facilitation Skills Training

BUILDING YOUR VIRTUAL FACILITATION SKILLS

A pilot of a new training series that adapts Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills Level 1 for virtual facilitation

A collaboration of
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Sea Grant
University of New Hampshire Extension University of Vermont Extension
Virginia Cooperative Extension

Pilot Training Series Registration:

The pilot training series is being offered at no cost.
Sign up for one session, multiple sessions, or the entire series. Sessions 1 – 4 will be limited to 18 participants.

Session 1: Virtual Facilitation Essentials, April 6, 1 – 3 pm

We will launch the pilot series by introducing the essential virtual facilitation concepts and skills on which the series will build. These include the development of norms and working agreements, understanding the role of the facilitator, applying the facilitation road map, and appreciating the mental models of others.

Session 2: Setting the Stage for Success, April 20, 1-3 pm

In this session we explore how to set up your virtual environment and introduce some commonly available tools that engage participants and get results. We will also touch on group stages, how they impact facilitation and explore hindering and helping behaviors common to groups in a virtual setting.

Session 3: Facilitation Practice: Putting your skills to work, May 11, 1-3 pm

Facilitation skills require practice and application to master. In this session we will focus on applying strategies for brainstorming, narrowing, decision making, and action planning to virtual meetings. Participants will have the opportunity to practice planning and facilitating small groups using a variety of virtual tools. Small groups will use different techniques so that participants can become familiar with varied tools and methods.

Session 4: Facilitation Challenges and Opportunities, May 25, 1-3 pm

While facilitation can be challenging, there is great opportunity for success with a well-managed group. In this session, we will learn tools for guiding a group to desired outcomes, as well as develop an understanding of how unspoken assumptions and inferences can impact group dynamic and results.

Session 5: Celebrating Facilitation Success, June 1, 1-2 pm

All participants in sessions 1 through 4 are invited to join us for this final session which will focus on the importance of recognizing and celebrating accomplishments in groups, including ours! We’ll also invite participants’ feedback to process and evaluate the content and format of the pilot series.

Virtual – the new normal

The global pandemic has impacted our daily routines in innumerable ways, including the transition of in-person meetings to virtual platforms. Are you involved with groups which need to produce results through virtual interactions?

How can I work effectively with virtual groups?

Are you looking for ways to:

  • engage your virtual group members?
  • manage the group’s virtual process and challenges?
  • handle multiple aspects of virtual technology?
  • adapt facilitation techniques and tools for virtual environments?

An adapted curriculum based on Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills

This pilot training series uses the Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills (SYFS) Level 1
curriculum as a starting point. SYFS is designed to teach best practices in facilitation. In most
cases, these essential practices are consistent whether the group is in-person or virtual. Other
times, an adapted approach or tool is needed to work effectively with virtual groups. While this
training will focus on building virtual facilitation skills, resources for in-person facilitation will
also be provided.

Training series objectives

By joining the pilot training series, participants will:

  • build competence in virtual facilitation skills and knowledge
  • actively engage and collaborate with other participants
  • become familiar with a variety of different approaches for interacting and for
    peer-to-peer learning in virtual groups
  • practice facilitating and receiving feedback in a safe environment.

This is a PILOT training, offered at no cost

An adapted curriculum has been developed and this pilot is an opportunity to test it. Your participation in and evaluation of the sessions will enable the planning team to revise and improve the series before it is officially launched. Because you will be helping us to develop the training, the session are being offered at no cost and we’re grateful for your contribution.

Join one session, multiple sessions, or the entire series

Please participate in the pilot in whatever way best serves your needs and schedule. You can sign up to join us for a single session, multiple sessions, or all five. Because participants are free to choose, the participants in each session will vary. Please note that if you join a session or sessions in the middle of the series, we will provide information from the prior session(s) but the experience will be less cohesive that participation in the entire series would be.

For more information

Please contact Kristen Grant, Maine Sea Grant and UMCE at kngrant@maine.edu

Please note:  The training will use the Zoom platform. Basic familiarity with the platform is highly recommended. Zoom tutorials will not be a feature of this training. An introduction to the platform can be found at Getting Started with Zoom Meetings


two women, one with a microphone, standing among flipchartsCustomized Facilitation Training designed with you to meet your group’s needs

Facilitating groups successfully is a field of study as well as a skill set that requires dedicated training and practice. Whether your group has identified the need to increase awareness of key concepts and practice basic skills, or seeks to hone advanced skills in addressing difficult group situations, a training can be designed and delivered to help you meet your goals.

Depending on the needs, interests, and availability of your group, instructor Kristen Grant is available to work with you to develop training in formats ranging from a few hours to multiple days.

Aligned Missions

As a program of Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension, these services are offered to organizations whose missions align with that of our own, as determined by Kristen Grant and the organization’s representative.

Minimum Number

A minimum of 12 participants are needed for any customized training.

Rates

The standard rate for customized training design and delivery is $125. Sliding scale available as appropriate.

Contact

Email Kristen Grant for more information


a woman standing before a flipchartFacilitation Peer Group

Led by Group Members

The Facilitation Peer Group is a professional and personal skill development series for graduates of the Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills Level 1 in Maine and New Hampshire. These opportunities are designed and implemented in cooperation with UNH Cooperative Extension and with the participants of the peer group.

Learning from Each Other

The primary purpose for the Peer Group is to provide Level 1 graduates with on-going education and training opportunities that encourage peer-to-peer learning, engaging participants as teachers AND students. The group also promotes practicing facilitation in a supportive environment, sharing ideas and challenges with other facilitators, volunteering as community-based facilitators, and building network connections with other facilitators.

Working Together In-person and Virtually

The Peer Group meets in-person roughly twice a year in locations around New Hampshire and Maine, as selected by the group members. Virtual gatherings are also held several times per year as a way to forge connections between group members who may live/work in opposite corners of the region.


several people standing around flipchartsCommunity Facilitator Services

Graduates of Facilitation Training

Graduates of Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills Level 1 training are available to offer facilitation services to assist local government, nonprofit, and community groups working in your area.

Skilled Volunteers

Community Facilitators are volunteers interested in offering support to help groups achieve their goals. Community Facilitators have completed 20 hours of training with instructor Kristen Grant and have developed skills including:

  • assessing group needs and goal setting
  • establishing agreements for working together
  • designing effective meetings
  • generating and narrowing ideas
  • using a variety of decision-making options
  • planning actions
  • addressing disruptive behaviors
  • intervening in difficult group situations

Contact Kristen Grant for more information.