Facilitator resources –facilitation skills during the pandemic

May 26, 2020
  • Misc. Resources

Good facilitation skills are always useful, but especially during the pandemic.

While we may not be able to facilitate groups of members in USW courses, Steelworker facilitators can offer to help our local unions and committees.

Many local unions are experimenting with video meeting platforms, and these are a safe alternative to in-person meetings. But it can be frustrating for members and local officers to figure out new methods to manage discussions. How can we make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, while not talking over one another?

USW member-facilitators have experience managing group discussions and maximizing participation. If you have the time, you could volunteer to:

  • Manage the meeting’s speaker’s list. Our Tips for Doing Effective Virtual Meetings provide some ideas for keeping a speaker’s list. You could also invent another process to meet the local’s needs.
  • Design and facilitate a short discussion period. Think about what the local or committee wants to get out of the discussion, then use our Tool for Asking Strategic Questions.
  • Lead a brainstorming session. If the local or committee is trying to generate creative, new ideas, brainstorming is one way to do it. Follow these steps:
    • Clearly define the question.
    • Ask participants to call out as many ideas as possible. Write down every idea, without any judgement or criticism.
      • (If brainstorming takes place during an online meeting, make sure you can share your screen as you type the ideas in a list.)
    • When there is silence for the first time or two, just wait. Let the pressure build to produce more ideas.
    • When there are really no more ideas, begin evaluating the items on your list. Eliminate any that everyone agrees are illegal, too expensive or too risky.
    • Keep evaluating until a reasonable number of possible options remain.
Effective virtual meetings A Tool for Asking Strategic Questions

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