In this blog I am going to talk about some aspects of facilitation. When I first encountered the term ‘facilitation’ and ‘facilitator’, I thought it sounded very fancy and complicated. I could not imagine myself as a facilitator, because I thought it would need some special skills that I do not have. By now, I understand that facilitating is actually pretty easy, basically anyone can do it. Facilitation is being in front of a group of people and leading some group activity. Group activities are very common, we do them in daily life at a language school or a yoga class for example. But facilitation is also commonly used in the areas of (professional) trainings and therapy. In these examples, a facilitator does not have to do too much: give some instructions, listen to the audience members and let the group activity flow. The session participants will learn a lot from being in a group and exchanging ideas.
One big obstacle that I faced when I started facilitating is stage freight. It goes like this: I am in front of a group of people, it suddenly gets quiet, everybody is looking at me. When I start talking, I hear my own voice, I can’t think of what to say. I get nervous, I talk fast, trying to wrap up the conversation quickly. And when I am finished I feel bad about not being able to convey the message the way I wanted. Fortunately, I have found ways to deal with my anxiety. I make my introductions short and simple. I don’t need to be funny or particularly interesting. As long as people have clear instructions, it is fine. And I remind myself that in facilitating, I am doing a giant favor to the audience members. During group activities, people need to be told what to do, they like to be coordinated. Without facilitation, groups become chaotic really fast.