What are facilitation skills? (And how to improve them)

What are facilitation skills? (And how to improve them)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 26 June, 2024

Team meetings happen a lot in workplaces. They're where teams work together, make decisions, and solve problems. Good facilitation skills are really important in these meetings. They help everyone talk openly, join in, and agree on things.

In this article, we'll look at facilitation skills and how to improve them. We'll also discuss how to talk about them when applying for a job.

Here's what we'll cover:

What is facilitation? 

Facilitation means leading a group to reach a goal. A good facilitator knows how to guide discussions, get everyone involved, and handle disagreements.

Creating a space where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts is important. Having facilitation skills helps you do this well. These skills are really important at work and can be used in many situations, like brainstorming or training sessions. They're handy whenever people get together to talk about something specific.

The role and importance of facilitation skills 

Having facilitation skills will help you encourage good communication among team members. This makes it easier for everyone to work together towards the same goal. It also helps team members feel like their ideas matter, which leads to better teamwork.

Facilitation skills also let you guide meetings in the right direction. For example, instead of getting stuck on a small problem, you can focus on what the meeting is really about. This helps you get the results you want more quickly.

When you have a skilled facilitator, the whole group works better. And that's good for the organisation too. It means they use their resources well and reach their goals faster.

Core facilitation skills you need to know as a facilitator 

Here are key skills to help you become a great facilitator:

1. Communication mastery 

Good spoken and unspoken communication skills are important when leading a group. This means being able to understand and use different ways of communicating. 

It also means knowing how to change your style depending on the situation and your group. Here are some communication styles you should be aware of:

  • Direct: Communicating straightforwardly and explicitly.
  • Indirect: Communicating in a subtle or roundabout way, often using hints or suggestions.
  • Passive: Being submissive or avoiding conflict in communication.
  • Active: Engaging in communication and showing interest and involvement.
  • Aggressive: Asserting yourself and dominating the conversation.
  • Empathetic: Showing understanding, compassion, and sensitivity towards the feelings and experiences of others.
  • Facial expression: Using your facial muscles to convey emotions and intentions.
  • Eye contact: Looking directly into the eyes of others during communication.
  • Posture: Maintaining a relaxed and upright posture to convey confidence and openness during facilitation. 
  • Gestures: Using hand movements or body actions to express emotions.

When you're talking, make sure your style matches the situation. Pay attention to your body language too.

For instance, if you're discussing a tough topic like Singaporean laws, it might be better to show empathy rather than being too direct. And remember to keep eye contact and use your hands to help you connect with everyone on the team.

2. Questioning techniques

It's really important to know how to ask questions in a way that gets people talking. There are two main types: open-ended and closed.

Open-ended questions allow people to give any answer they want. They're great for situations where you want lots of different ideas, like in a brainstorming session.

Closed questions, on the other hand, only allow specific answers. They're useful when gathering data, like asking if someone prefers to go for a BulletBall or Ninja tag during a team-building exercise.

As a facilitator, you may also find it helpful to use probing questions. These encourage everyone to join in and deepen the conversation. For example, you can ask people to explain their ideas more or give examples to back up what they're saying. This helps everyone think more deeply about the topic and explore it further.

Diverse group in discussion

3. Active listening

Active listening means paying attention to the speakers and focusing on their words. It's not just about hearing their words; it's about understanding them. You also need to notice their body language and the situation they're talking about.

This helps you understand what the participants need, what they're worried about, and what they think. It makes the group feel supported and included so they can speak up. It also helps you spot any problems or challenges that might come up during the talk.

Here are some tips for practising active listening skills:

  • Focus on the speaker. Maintain eye contact with them.
  • Let them finish their thoughts before responding. 
  • Show interest in what they're saying through non-verbal cues. These include nodding and smiling if appropriate.
  • Paraphrase or summarise the speaker's main points to show you understand them.
  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage them to elaborate.
  • Provide feedback and validation to show you heard and understood them. 

4. Conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is the skill of handling disagreements during group talks. A good facilitator must manage conflicts and find solutions that everyone agrees on.

To keep things positive, deal with conflicts right away. Watch out for potential issues and stop them from getting worse. This means paying attention to how the group interacts and making sure everyone gets to share their thoughts.

There are different ways to solve conflicts. One way is to find things everyone involved agrees on. This helps everyone work together. Another way is to have a meeting where people with conflicts talk it out and find a solution they both like.

To keep the group focused and peaceful, encourage everyone to join in and share their thoughts. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak. It helps to have clear goals for the discussion. This gives everyone an idea of what they're working towards.

How to improve your facilitation skills 

To enhance your facilitation skills, consider these tips:

Engage in continuous learning

Keeping your skills up to date is an important part of being a skilled facilitator. Using facilitation helps the group reach its goals. This happens during a meeting or activity.

Continuous learning involves attending workshops, webinars, and other training programs. 

Here are a few training courses on facilitation you could take:

Get feedback

Getting feedback from your facilitation group is crucial for improving. The more you understand what happens, the better you become at facilitating. Ask the group to share their honest thoughts and ideas.

You can do this by clarifying that open and respectful communication is important. Let everyone know that their opinions matter. Tell them that their feedback can help the group work better together.

Assess your skills

You can try self-assessment quizzes to gauge your skills. One such quiz is the Facilitation Skills Self-Assessment from the International Institute for Facilitation. It can tell you if you have important facilitator skills and where you might need to improve to think like a facilitator.

Getting advice from experienced facilitators is also really helpful. It can make you better at facilitating. Think about joining a group like the Facilitators Network Singapore.

Get the right certifications and accreditations 

Enrolling in the courses discussed earlier can help you adopt a facilitation mindset. These courses may also grant you certificates, which you can show to future employers as proof of your skills. 

PDT Global's Advanced Facilitation Skills training is priced at USD 450, approximately SGD 611.44. APMG International provides two facilitation certifications: the Facilitation Foundation and Facilitation Practitioner certificates. You can attend these courses online or in person through accredited training providers.

Tools you can use to improve facilitation skills 

Here are some of the tools that can help you develop your skills:

Visual aids

These tools make complicated ideas easier to understand for everyone involved. This helps people get involved and interested.

 When using pictures or charts, ensure they're easy to see and understand. Pick visuals that match what you're talking about.

Brainstorming tools

Tools for brainstorming are really important for coming up with ideas and being creative in a group. They let everyone share their thoughts and look at things from different angles. 

Use mind maps, sticky notes, and online tools to help everyone brainstorm effectively. These also help to organise and decide which ideas are the best. 

Here are some easy ways to encourage creativity and get everyone involved:

  1. Start with fun activities to help everyone feel comfortable.
  2. Have a plan for brainstorming, like taking turns or using special techniques.
  3. Ask questions that make people think in new ways to get different ideas.
woman working from home in an online meeting

Digital facilitation tools

Digital facilitation tools have become popular for conducting effective meetings and workshops. These tools include platforms and software that make virtual communication and collaboration easier. Examples include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Miro.

Learning the features of digital tools for facilitation involves understanding functions like screen sharing, chat options, and whiteboards. These features can be utilised to effectively involve remote participants, organise discussions, and lead interactive activities.

How to highlight facilitation skills on your resume? 

Here are tips to help you showcase your facilitation skills on your resume:

  • Use real-life scenarios. Provide concrete instances where you applied your facilitation abilities. For instance, discuss workshops or small meetings you led.
  • Describe your impact as a facilitator. For instance, highlight how you boosted team productivity while detailing your accomplishments from a previous position. If applicable, include specific numbers.
  • Look at the job description. Prioritise listing your facilitation skills that align with the job requirements before mentioning your other skills.

How to talk about facilitation skills in a job interview? 

Here are tips to help you highlight your facilitation abilities during an interview:

  • Expect and prepare for questions about facilitation. You might often come across a question like, "What would you do if group members disagree?" Think of other possible questions and prepare answers ahead of time.
  • Use the STAR method when answering. This demonstrates your thought process and problem-solving skills. Here's our article on how to answer tough interview questions with the STAR method.
  • Use keywords in your responses. These include "facilitation", "active listener", "group engagement", "conflict resolution", and similar terms.
  • Quantify your impact. Here are some examples of the good things skilled facilitation can do: maybe your work got 20% more done, or everyone took part fully in your last talk.
  • Be confident and enthusiastic. Answer in a way that showcases your passion for facilitation and your ability to engage and empower groups. Give specific examples of successful facilitation.

Final thoughts 

Facilitation skills are important in modern workplaces as it enables effective leadership discussion, fostering open communication, and driving productive outcomes in team meetings.

Facilitation is not just about guiding discussions; it's about creating an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute, ultimately leading to better decision-making and project outcomes.

Mastering these skills can make you a valuable asset in any professional setting, helping you to grow in your career and reach your goals.


Here are answers to questions about facilitation skills:

  1. What does facilitator mean?
    A facilitator is someone who helps a group reach their goals during a discussion or activity. They do this by giving direction and support.
  2. What facilitation skills training are there in Singapore?
    You can find many facilitation skills training programs in person or online. For example, APMG International offers Facilitation Training and Certification in Singapore through accredited providers. You can also do this training online. 
  3. What is facilitation, and why is it important?
    Facilitation means helping a group work well together to get good results. It's important because it improves the group's work and resource use, which improves their decisions and projects.
  4. What are the four basic facilitation skills?
    There are four main skills for facilitation: talking well, asking good questions, listening carefully, and solving problems when people disagree.
  5. What are the qualities of a good facilitator?
    A good facilitator is empathetic, inclusive, patient, adaptable, and self-aware. They also possess strong interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills
  6. What are the fundamentals of facilitation?
    To understand the fundamentals of facilitation, learn how skilled facilitators lead group discussions and activities. They make sure everyone feels safe and included. They also set clear goals and rules. Good communication and handling conflicts are also important fundamentals, too.

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