The qualities of a great facilitator are diverse.
Let me enumerate them for you:
I had a client years ago in pharma who would start his advisory board presentation by saying, “I am an equal opportunity abuser. And I’m going to call on you on any topic at any time, so heads up!”
As a great facilitator, he had a really dominating presence in the room. But, facilitating for others can be pretty tricky.
First, you’ve got to be a host. Also, you’ve got to be a lion tamer. Last, you’ve got to be a diplomat.
Plus, you’ve got to be a badger in order to search out the real attitudes and opinions that the doctors who are sitting around the table have. You see, they have these attitudes and opinions, but they aren’t usually willing to divulge them right away.
Having seen many great facilitators, I would say that the first thing they have is a calm assertiveness. They keep the room balanced, and everything is going smoothly.
However, they also have the ability to play the panel like an orchestra. They can tease one person, but they can also pull the serious people into the discussion. They bring in the quiet people and get them to talk–in fact, they are usually very good at doing that.
In addition, there is one thing that I love the most about a great facilitator. They are actually curious. It’s not fake curiosity–it’s really, truly, vivid curiosity. I guess endless curiosity is what I’m getting at.
I think that’s one of the most beautiful traits that a human being can have. The trait of being endlessly curious, and it works well in an advisory board.
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