It’s ideal to have an experienced facilitator but when there is not one a group must work with what they have. All meetings should be facilitated, even a little facilitation can help make meetings more effective. On the most basic level, the facilitator prepares the agenda together with the secretary, holds the space by keeping to the allotted times for each agenda item, and evaluates the meeting upon closing. Through feedback and evaluation, the facilitator has the opportunity to reflect on the role and make small improvements along the way. If the facilitator is behaving in ways you don’t like, it is important to say so. At the very least speak your concerns in the closing round of the meeting evaluation. Moreover, when a group is unhappy with a facilitator they can call for an early election. If there is a competency deficit then a group might consider investing in training. If there is a time shortage, relieve the facilitator of other work duties so that the focus is placed on the role as facilitator. All formats are known and can be written on a flipchart so that the group can be aware of the steps and help the facilitator. After all, we are all continuously learning and adapt together thanks to feedback.
For more information, check out our handbook Many Voices One Song chapter 4