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Co-Facilitation: It Ain’t as Easy as It Looks

Co-Facilitation Takes Planning and Practice

Co-facilitation is challenging. I’d suggest more difficult that making a presentation or teaching a lesson on your own. But when you prepare well, it has many benefits for you and the audience. Here are strategies for doing co-facilitating well:

Before Co-Facilitation 

  • Assign roles to each activity (facilitating, scribe, handout distribution, etc.)
  • Get to know each other
  • Discuss the audience and potential challenges
  • Decide together how and under what circumstances to interrupt
  • Practice together

During Co-Facilitation

  • Take centre stage when you present. Stand off to the side not speaking, and pay attention to the speaker
  • Avoid speaking over each other
  • Interrupt only when it is absolutely vital. Interrupt by saying, Excuse me, Jane. Could I add something to that? Accept that your co-facilitator has something important to say, and step back. When the co-facilitator is done, thank him or her, and continue with your part
  • Check in with your partner during breaks, if any
  • Stay on time

After Co-Facilitation

  • Clean up the meeting space together
  • Meet immediately after the presentation if possible
  • Ask your partner(s) what you think went well and what could be improved
  • Use I statements for constructive feedback. I felt annoyed when you interrupted me and started answering all the questions. I felt disrespected when you were chatting with friends on the side while I presented.
  • Be open to feedback so you can improve your skills

What is your best tip for co-facilitation? I’d love to hear from you.

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C. Doucette Training and Communications Inc.