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8 Tips to Effectively Close a Facilitated Session

Posted by Steve Flanagan on 7/25/13 4:00 AM
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A very important, but often overlooked, part of a facilitated session is the closing. In some cases, session time runs out causing the facilitator to abruptly close the session. When this happens participants can be unclear as to whether the session objectives have been met and are left wondering, “What’s next?”


Here are eight tips to effectively close a facilitated session:

1. Review the agenda

Confirm with participants that all agenda items have been covered. Summarize the main points of the session and review key decisions that were made.

2. Deal with parking lot items

Ask the group if each parking lot item has been covered. If no, facilitate the discussion; if yes, move on to the next item.

3. Restate the objective(s)

Confirm the objectives of the session have been met. Participants need to leave the session knowing that the objectives have, or have not, been met.

4. Review action items

Confirm that participants who are responsible for action items are committed to complete the action item. Confirm the date by which each item will be completed.

5. Confirm session documentation

Determine who will provide the session documentation and how it will be provided.

6. Evaluate the session

Conduct a formal or informal evaluation of the session to determine the participants’ level of satisfaction with the process and the facilitator’s skills.

7. Arrange the next meeting

If necessary, determine the next meeting date for follow-up or to address action items.

8. Thank group members for their participation

Make a point of thanking participants for their time and input to the process.

By following these eight simple tips you will be able to effectively close a facilitated session. The participants will leave with a clear understanding of the outcome of the session and your credibility as a skilled facilitator will be enhanced.

If you’re looking to hone your facilitation skills for your next staff meeting, planning session, community-based meeting, brainstorming session, etc. be sure to check out our Facilitation Skills for New Facilitators workshop.

Steve has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education and dreamed of being a pro soccer player. Steve translated his love of soccer and physical performance to the corporate sector and became a trainer. He’s had the pleasure of training within the government, large corporations, and as an independent consultant. Outside of training, Steve’s two biggest passions are his family and guitars, which he collects and plays!

Topics: facilitation, meetings, tips-for-trainers

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