February 1, 2005
News & Opinion: Book Review: The Secrets of Facilitation
When was the last time you attended at a really great meeting? Or put another way, when was the last time you felt deeply listened to at a meeting?
Thats what I thought.
I am a meeting facilitator and a coach (same thing only coaching is one-on-one instead of working with a group.) In this work I strive for three things: clarity, deep listening, and results. I just read a book that teaches the foundation skills necessary to bring these elements into meeting facilitation. The book is The Secrets of Facilitation, by Michael Wilkinson. While the primary audience is meeting facilitators, anyone who leads a meeting (or sits in a meeting and would like to influence from the side) could benefit from this book.
This book provides basic communication skills that encourage others to contribute. The skills are powerful and practical and best yet, actionable. It is written clearly and in a flexible manner. Its easy to pick and choose the sections that make sense to you. It also has checklists at the end of each chapter that you can use as shortcuts.
If youre thinking, "Im not a facilitator," I invite you to consider, facilitation is simply talking to others in a manner that encourages the other person (or people) to open up and contribute. So whether you are involved in large-scale meeting or one-on-one conversations its good to have skills that promote great conversations.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.