improving the product, increasing the quality, or
appealing to a wider audience?
• The facilitator should be focused on gathering
information, not providing information. I.e., during the
meeting “Put your self on the shelf.”
• After the meeting, ask the note taker to send a
follow-up of what was discussed and what are the
• Get in the habit of quick meetings—for instance a
weekly update 30-minute meeting, with perhaps a
longer monthly 60-minute planning meeting.
If you would like to begin working as a facilitator, create a few
sample meeting agendas with facilitation guidelines and post these
on your website. Then let companies in the area know that you are
working on your skills as a facilitator and you can help make their
meetings more effective. Larger organizations, courthouses, religious groups, community-service groups, government offices,
and non-profits are all entities that have hired external facilitators.
Working as a facilitator is a great way for organizations to get to
know you and for you to get to know them. Familiarizing yourself
with their culture and common disputes often makes you an obvious choice to mediate future disputes. As you advance your skills as
a facilitator, consider becoming a trainer and passing on those skills.
Ideally, train someone in every department as a facilitator. Then
they can either be the facilitator for their department, or they can
be loaned out to facilitate meetings for other departments.
What can you do today for a successful commercial
or employment career?
1. How can you help offices improve their Communication:
• Mediate, mediate, mediate! Every opportunity you
have—family, community, non-profit—mediate! Learn
how people communicate, when they become defensive, how to move past impasse, and how to encourage
• Study offices that are known for effective communication policies. Many larger organizations such as HP,
Microsoft, and Google have had the time and resources
to study what works well. Learn from them! Most have
employee handbooks or standards publicly available
on an “About Us” page. Review them and create your
own guidebook of suggested standards. Perhaps even
place an excerpt of this on your website to demonstrate to employees what you can offer. Remember,
though, when working with offices to improve policies
do not promise something that you cannot deliver. You
can develop an agreement where you agree or have
employees agree to suggest new policies to HR or
management, but do not promise to enact a new policy
unless the decision-makers are in the room.
• New technologies exist for improving communication. Spend time studying the latest platforms for
videoconferencing (zoom, Duo, Facetime, hangouts, etc.). This will allow you to suggest the correct
platform for your clients, and also to meet with them
online yourself when convenient. Also look into
instant messaging applications—these are crucial
for traveling, work-from-home and shared-time
employees to stay in touch. There are also a variety of
shared task and document builder softwares that are
free and easy. Make yourself an information resource
for your employees, and be familiar with at least
three different current options for their communication needs. Present the benefits of each to help them
2. To help offices improve Clarity:
• Work in HR departments and study online manuals to
understand typical office set-ups
• Before going into a mediation, learn the titles of those
you are going to be working with. Search similar job
titles so that you can develop a standard job descrip-
tion, and use this as an objective standard when helpful.
• If a union is available, ask to meet with the union
steward or representative. They often know the
expectations of each role better than the employees,
and they can be a great resource to help bring clarity to
3. To help offices Work in Groups
• Facilitate whenever possible. Family meetings, community discussions, volunteer projects all benefit from
facilitators—so volunteer your skills! This will help you
immensely when you are hired to facilitate your own
• Develop a set of standards from your volunteer experience: Everyone speaks. Only one person speaks at
a time. After someone speaks, let another person
summarize what was said. Once you develop a set of
skills that you find to be effective, post these on your
website and explain these guidelines in your marketing package.
• Become trained as a coach. There might be an outlier
in a group that is disrupting the harmony of a well-intentioned group. A few hours of intentional coaching
with this employee often helps to get the group back
on track. The goal of this coaching session should be
finding out what the employee is hoping to get out of
these meetings, and then helping them develop the
skills to get there.