Preparing for a facilitated discussion
A facilitated discussion is an informal meeting where willing participants are assisted by a neutral third party in a discussion about the issue that has come between them. Participants discuss interests and barriers, and collaboratively create a mutually acceptable outcome.
It is important to think about what key messages you want to deliver to the others, and how you want to deliver them. Remember, this is your discussion. You have the ability to influence the outcome by adopting a problem-solving attitude toward the situation.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
1. Prepare a brief explanation to highlight the issue
- What is the issue?
- What do you hope will improve?
- What are the barriers to improving the issue?
2. Gather relevant documents
- Identify and gather documents on objective criteria such as industry practice, regulations, policies and precedents to provide a neutral backdrop to analyze options
3. Assess your options
- What is your best alternative to a facilitated discussion and negotiation?
- What is your worst alternative?
4. Ensure proper decision-making authority
- Decide who will be at the facilitated discussion, and ensure they have the authority to make decisions regarding outcomes
5. Prepare questions
- Prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask the other participants at the facilitated discussion
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