In a recent blog we explored roles and facilitation contexts and often along with questions about this we also get asked about managing the dichotomy of having to deal with and manage both the workshop/meeting process versus content.

Let us quickly review what we mean by each?

Content – The ‘what’ being discussed.

  • Topics/themes etc. for discussion
  • The task at hand
  • The problems being solved
  • The opportunities being explored
  • The decisions to be made
  • Agenda items
  • Goals and objectives

A good content Facilitator can;

  • Be the acknowledged expert in the room and may input large pieces of relevant and applicable content, data, information and thinking
  • Lead the group in a specific direction and provide opinion etc. with the intent of influencing the outcome

Process – The ‘how’ things are being discussed and dealt with.

  • The methods and processes being used
  • The tools and techniques used
  • Workshop/meeting design
  • Group dynamics
  • Rules, norms and guidelines that are set
  • Managing and maintaining¬†relationships
  • Managing the environment and ‘climate’

A good process Facilitator can;

  • Design and develop process(es) to use in a workshop/meeting environment
  • Support, guide and ‘orchestrate’ the group using structured tools, techniques, methods and appropriate interventions to enable the group to achieve the stated purpose and outcomes

People often ask “can I be both?” and how do I balance process versus content? The answer is of course yes you can. What we believe is that you can do both but always be explicit with the group, stating you will operate in both roles, and clearly outlining when you are moving between process and content and back again.¬† This could even be a ‘physical’ move, by sitting down with or amongst the group when sharing content.

This is all about managing the expectations of the group and it’s definitely about an appropriate balance of ‘process versus content’.