Facilitation Skills for Scientists and Resource Managers

Day 1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Prunedale Grange Hall
Lunch will be provided

Day 2

Thursday, September 16, 2010
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Prunedale Grange Hall
Lunch will be provided

Day 3

Friday, September 17, 2010
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Prunedale Grange Hall
Lunch will be provided

COST: $350.00
Payable by check to Elkhorn Slough Foundation


Instructor Information

Mr. Jim Nelson


Peggy Casper
(831) 274-8700



See also: Coastal Training Network, Sustainable Human Systems

Facilitation skills are used by scientists and resources managers to form productive teams, plan programs and projects, and to implement controversial projects and programs.  Facilitators help groups to communicate productively, honoring diverse points of view and respectfully creating options that provide the richest suite of benefits for all.

The success or failure of programs and projects often depends on the support of a variety of interested parties--staff, management, agencies, environmental groups, the general public, and other stakeholders—with diverse perspectives.    Productive communication among project stakeholders is essential for successful implementation.  In some cases, worthy projects have been blocked by disenchanted stakeholders who felt they had no voice or had been treated badly by public officials. Perhaps as bad is a missed opportunity because of the loss of meaningful participation that could have improved a project’s design and implementation.

This course is intended to be a practical approach to improving group meetings.  It is oriented specifically to the needs of scientists and resource managers.  After core facilitation skills are practiced, the class will be tailored to the students’ development needs.  Participants will be asked to complete a pre-workshop skills profile.  Students are presented with a wide array of tools and opportunities to practice new facilitation skills.

Course topics

Why doesn’t everyone think like me?

Different meetings for different needs

Roles and Responsibilities
Who wears what hat?

Planning Meetings
Assessing needs, objectives, and purpose

Process and Content
The two parts of effective meetings

Logistical considerations
The right room; the right set up

Basic Facilitator Skills
Verbal and nonverbal communication skills
Maintaining rapport
Framing, reframing, and paraphrasing

Basic Facilitation Processes and Their Use
Use the right process
Ground rules
Open participation
Presenting information
Collecting information
Analyzing information
Decision making
Closing the meeting

A facilitator’s tool kit
Tools that make meetings better and easier

Managing Group Dynamics
Tracking and assessing audience needs

Skills practice and feedback
Creating a safe place to explore

Discussion on challenges
How to prevent or deal with problems


Students will be provided an overview of the competencies required for effective meetings. These competencies include:

The ability to assess needs and design meetings to serve the purpose of the meeting and the interests of meeting participants.

Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the facilitator, assist team, meeting leader, participants, etc.

Managing and facilitating meetings.

Information gathering and presentation techniques

Facilitation skills - Verbal skills...Nonverbal skills...Recording skills...Basic visual facilitation techniques...

Decision-making processes

Evaluation processes

Important Information

This 3 day workshop costs $350; the fee includes refreshments, lunch each day, and materials.  Checks should be made out to "Elkhorn Slough Foundation" and mailed to Grey Hayes, c/o ESF; 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville, CA  95076.  Registration and Payment Deadline:  5 p.m. August 25, 2010. 

If you cancel prior to August 25, 2010 5 p.m., any registration fees will be refunded minus a $50 processing fee.  We cannot refund registration fees for cancellation after this date, but please let us know if you cannot attend as soon as you know so we can allow others to attend.  If you pre-register and do not pay by August 25, 5 p.m., we cannot guarantee you a spot as our waiting list tends to be quite long.  You cannot substitute your registration for another, even in your own organization.  We reserve the right to cancel or postpone this event should we receive insufficient registration by September 1, 2010; in that event, full refunds will be remitted. 

Documents and Publications

Contact List
We encourage participants to download the contact list to assist with arranging a rideshare or to get in contact with someone you met at the workshop. Those interested in sharing a ride to the event are marked on the contact list.

Questions and Answers

Submit a question on this subject and we'll provide an answer. coastaltraining@elkhornslough.org