Facilitating Meetings

The process that is outlined in this guide for arts education planning is based on a method developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) called “Group Facilitation Methods.”  This highly participatory method incorporates a number of tools and techniques that encourage full engagement by team members. It develops an atmosphere of mutual respect that allows the flow of creative ideas and innovation. The method has been applied to a number of different fields with demonstrated success all over the world.
For more information on ICA and their workshops, please visit http://www.ica-usa.org.

The important underlying assumptions of this approach to planning are:

  • Each person who is key to implementation of the plan is represented on the planning team.
  • Every voice will be heard and is honored.
  • The methods are very flexible and can be combined with most other approaches to group decision making or learning.

If you anticipate that a group is going to be challenging to facilitate, it is a good idea to either have them create group norms or offer some for their adoption. The list below gives a brief introduction to the participatory values that are the foundation of the methods used in this guide. Often this introduction provides the safety a group needs, especially when they know each voice will be honored.

  • Slow down
  • Trust the process
  • Stay with the question
  • Honor and welcome each voice
  • Let others talk before you speak again
  • Limit cross talk
  • Discuss programs and concepts, not people
  • Listen with respect and assume good intent
  • The outcome will be greater than the sum of the parts

Materials Checklist for Meeting Facilitation

box 1 Flip Chart Pad and Easel
box Dark colored broad tip markers – 1 per person plus 3 or 4 for the Facilitator
box Light colored broad tip markers for Facilitator to use as highlighters
box Baskets to hold pens and other supplies on participant tables
box 2 Sticky Walls*
box Repositionable spray mount adhesive (for preparing Sticky Walls)
box Wide painter’s tape (for hanging the Sticky Walls)
boxTransparent tape (for connecting completed columns of half-sheets and title sheets)
box 200+ half-sheets of 8 1/2 x 11” paper (at least 50 each of 4 pastel colors)
box 50 full-sheets of 8 1/2 x 11” (white or pastel colors)
box Scissors
box Name tags
box Decorative touches to make room more inviting (e.g., plants, art objects, colorful table covers)

*A Sticky Wall is a 5’ x 12’ piece of rip-stop nylon fabric sprayed with repositionable spray mount adhesive. Spraying the fabric with repositionable adhesive creates a reusable surface on which sheets of paper can be posted and moved around during your planning sessions. To purchase a Sticky Wall online, visit: http://www.ica-usa.org/index.php?pr=products. Alternatively, you can spray craft paper cut from a large roll for one-time use. Repositionable spray mount adhesive is available at art supply stores in standard spray cans.