2018 SKILLS SYMPOSIUM: Group Facilitation

  • February 27, 2018
  • (PST)
  • February 28, 2018
  • (PST)
  • Commons Learning Center, 10100 Burnet Road, Bldg 137, Austin, TX 78758
  • 10


  • For members of AICP, registering on or before December 31, 2017.

Registration is closed

This intermediate level two day course explores the skills and knowledge necessary to become comfortable with all the critical elements of facilitation with a special emphasis on public and stakeholder engagement scenarios. Using interactive and participatory exercises, participants will learn facilitation techniques and skills to deal with emotion, expand positive participation, identify and build common ground and move discussion forward. This course emphasizes the planning and designing of facilitated public involvement events and has a practicum component that gives all participants ample opportunity to facilitate in a supportive and constructive environment.

PLEASE NOTE: International IAP2 members require a code to register. Please contact info@iap2.org to obtain it.

Cancellation and Substitution policy

Learning Objectives

List learning objectives below – what participants can expect to learn as a result of completing your course.

  • Participants will understand the specific application of facilitation to public involvement and stakeholder relations
  • Identify and use the skills, behaviours and attitudes required by a facilitator
  • Learns tools and techniques used by a facilitator
  • Create and design effective group process and manage group dynamics
  • Deal with emotionally charged situations and resolve conflict
  • Facilitate a values-based process

Course Agenda

Day 1
8:30 Welcome and Introduction
  • Trainer and participant introductions
  • Session expectations and understanding what people want to achieve
  • Understanding people’s personal experience with the topic
  • Icebreaker exercise
  • Course objectives
What is facilitation?
  • Facilitation warm-up exercise
  • What went well, what could be improved debrief
10:00 Morning Refreshment Break
10:15 Creating a Conducive Space and 3 Factors of a Positive Facilitated Experience
  • Key things a facilitator needs to do to create a good environment for facilitation
  • Physical, emotional and intellectual factors
11:15 Creating a Conducive Space – Establishing Ground Rules
  • Developing a Conversation Checklist
11:30 Competencies of Facilitation – Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes
  • Behaviours and attitudes a facilitator needs to develop
  • Selection of four key concepts group exercise
12:00 Lunch
Con’t: Competencies of Facilitation – Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes
  • Four core skills of a facilitator
  • Asking open ended questions
  • Understanding empathetic response – video and group discussion
2:15 Understanding & Managing Group Dynamics
  • Exercise on group dynamics and the impact on interaction and forward momentum
  • Roles to leverage and roles to intervene
Afternoon Refreshment Break
3:30 Identifying Values and Working to Common Ground
  • Determining the common values, interests and needs that drive difference of opinion
  • Ensuring a values-based conversation
  • Questions to ask
4:15 Closing & Reflection
  • What stands out for you and what would you like to explore further tomorrow?
Day 2
8:30 Welcome back & what do we remember?
  • Focused conversation exercise
  • Agenda review
Identifying & Dealing with Emotionally Charged Situations, Conflict & Controversy
  • Defining conflict
  • Facilitation challenges when dealing with emotion
  • Tools for embracing an emotionally charged conversation or participant
9:45 Morning Refreshment Break
9:45 Facilitating Emotion
  • Facilitation fishbowl exercise
10:45 Planning & Preparation for Facilitated Event: Laying the Foundation
  • Key steps for planning
  • Laying the foundation
  • Project initiation meeting simulation
11:25 Planning & Preparation for Facilitated Event: Preparing the Framework
  • Creating a purpose statement and determining objectives
  • Facilitated event planning template
11:55 Planning & Preparation for Facilitated Event: Build Your Process
  • Flow and meeting elements
  • Process design
12:15 Lunch
1:00 Preparation for Practicum
  • Pulling all the learning together into a comprehensive plan that includes community identification, approaches, goals, objectives, priorities and techniques
  • Creating an approach for community led long-term recovery and increased resilience over time
  • Documenting the plan
2:00 Practicum Group Presentations
4:00 Closing and Reflection
  • Evaluation


Kim Hyshka, has spent significant time working with impacted communities, vulnerable populations and people from all walks of life who care deeply about issues that matter most to them. Experienced in large and small-scale projects, she has facilitated community forums in large urban centers and walked pipelines with Elders in the remote wilderness. Kim has successfully worked with a variety of stakeholders including municipal governments, environmental organizations, rural landowners and Aboriginal and Metis communities. Kim regularily volunteers within the IAP2 and is a licensed IAP2 Foundations trainer and co-develops and trains Dialogue Partners’ courses.

Erin Pote, brings her background as a teacher, along with skills and experience as a facilitator on complex, emotional issues. She is a trainer and developer of Dialogue Partners’ courses and advanced training programs in Public Engagement. She has assisted in the design and delivery of countless client custom courses and regularly supports the creation of new material and exercises for these courses. She specializes in design and implementation techniques for public participation that support a shift from conflict to constructive participation. She regularly teaches courses and workshops on techniques for high emotion public participation, including photo voice and Socratic circle.

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