Dialogue Facilitator

Quality facilitation is critical to the success of Local Dialogues.  Dialogue Facilitators are responsible for ensuring that each participant in a discussion group has an opportunity to contribute meaningfully and have their perspectives listened to by others.

The role of the Facilitator is to ensure that their Discussion Groups address the Discussion Topic and prompt questions, that everyone has an equal voice and (at the end of the discussion) to report briefly to the plenary with key takeaways. The Facilitator may benefit from the appointment of a note-taker. Facilitators are expected to:

  • read and understand the resource materials provided by the Curator;
  • arrive at the discussion group venue before the participants in order to meet and welcome them;
  • request group members introduce themselves to each other briefly;
  • explain to group members the tasks expected of them;
  • observe group members as they initiate their
  • work and explore the Discussion Topic;
  • encourage group members to work towards the expected outcome in a timely manner;
  • stimulate exchanges if this seems necessary, and curbing those who are dominating;
  • help group members to stay focused, inclusive and empathetic;
  • work with the note-taker to complete the Facilitator Discussion Group Template;
  • report back on the work of the discussion group to the plenary in a way that is both concise and fair.

If the Facilitator wishes, and members of the group concur, the report back can be undertaken by another group member.

How do you become a Dialogue Facilitator?

Dialogue Facilitators are identified, approached and appointed by the Dialogue Curator (usually in conjunction with the Convenor). If you would like to be a Facilitator but have not been invited by a Curator or Convenor, you can explore Dialogues that are being planned. In some instances, Dialogue Convenors are able to be contacted on the Dialogue event webpage.

What to do if you have been invited to be a Facilitator

Familiarize yourself with the relevant sections of the Toolkit and any available training.

Remain in close contact with the Convenor to provide them with support and to prepare for the event, especially in relation to the Discussion Topics for the Dialogue.

A recommended rule for open discussion

When a certain level of anonymity can be promised, people speaking are more likely to be open and honest with what is said. This is important for the richness of the discussion and the value of the Dialogue. Therefore, information disclosed during a Dialogue event may be reported by those present, but the source of that information many not be explicitly or implicitly identified.

This rule is sometimes referred to as the “Chatham House Rule”.

The Convenor decides if this rule is in place at their Dialogue event and it should be communicated on the day to all Participants by the Curator.