The Impartial Facilitator

Facilitating (all rights reserved)
At it's purest, the facilitator should not have an opinion one way or the other about 'content'.  You are responsible for 'process' and 'recording', and nothing else.  Sometimes this will be the case.  In fact, you might be asked to facilitate a particular session for just this reason.

Do not use impartiality as an excuse not to do your homework.  You are expected to be neutral and unprejudiced, not ignorant.  Make sure you do your homework (see the post 'Do Your Homework').

In many situations you will have a larger interest than this.  For example, you may be facilitating a meeting of your industry colleagues on a topic of interest to you.

So what can you do?
  • Hold off on making a contribution.  Save this until late/last.
  • Ask a question rather than making a statement.  For example, rather than 'I think we need to pay more attention to our competitors'; you might ask 'do you think we know enough about our competitors?'
  • Make your contribution verbally, and look for signs of confirmation or rejection from the group.  If you find confirmation, add it to the recorded input.  If not, be willing to give it up. 
  • When you are recording input, use the words of the inputer, rather than your own words
At all times be aware of the need to demonstrate even-handedness.  If arguing your opinion could reduce your effectiveness as a facilitator, shut up or step aside.