What is a facilitator?

As facilitators, our goal is to make it easy for your group to have discussions so you can make decisions confidently and with consensus. Learn more about our process.

Highly collaborative groups are most successful when they’re clear about these four things:


What are we here to accomplish together?


What problems do we need to solve to achieve our purpose?


What is our plan to solve these problems and achieve our purpose?


What are our agreed-to practices for working together?

Identify a shared Purpose

Without a clear purpose, it’s hard to commit. We help your group determine what they want to accomplish and what success looks like. Discover what inspires team mates to show up to work every day and create a future that they’re excited about.

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An unclear purpose can lead to a lack of commitment.

Agree on a Problem

Poorly defined problems lead to uninspired solutions. We help your group figure out their obstacles and frame the problems they’re trying to solve. It’s all a matter of perspective — different members of your team likely see different obstacles.

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Undefined problems can lead to uninspired solutions and a lack of empathy among the team.

Make aPlan

Chaos reigns in the absence of a feasible plan. We help your group create a plan to overcome their biggest obstacles and achieve their most ambitious goals. Your team will assume more responsibility when you work with them to create a plan they can live by.

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The absence of a feasible plan can create a sense of chaos, which may lead to fear and uncertainty.

Lay out thePrinciples

When people don’t agree on principles for collaboration, relationships can get frayed. We help groups decide on norms and values to guide culture and behaviour.

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Unclear principles can create confusion and misunderstanding, leading to frustration and potential conflict.

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Facilitation FAQ's

Wondering if a professional facilitator is right for your organization or what to expect from a professionally facilitated workshop? Explore our FAQ’s to gain a deeper understanding of how group or process facilitation could benefit your team or organization.

What do facilitators do?

We help your group to discuss the things you need to discuss so you can decide the things you need to decide. We use our professional training and skills in group dialogue to keep those discussions fruitful and your relationships healthy.

Can't I do this myself?

Maybe. The more important question is, should you?  

How important is it for you to participate in the discussion? Participating and facilitating at the same time is extremely challenging, especially if the topic is contentious. A neutral and unbiased facilitator can help you and your group navigate complex or difficult topics more effectively. Read our article "What makes a good facilitator".

So are you facilitators, moderators, negotiators, mediators or what?

We’ve done all of these things, and our clients choose us because we offer a blend of these skills.

First and foremost, we plan and facilitate meetings and workshops, but we also bring valuable skills in conflict, strategy, organizational development, and leadership to every engagement. 

As professional facilitators, how do you approach your work?

It’s more involved than just coming to a meeting and facilitating.

We follow professional best practices by designing a deliberate and customized plan for every meeting and workshop we conduct. A well-designed process ensures everyone’s voice is heard and that the group benefits most from the wisdom in the room. 

Our designs always consider your objectives as well as your group’s dynamics, thinking preferences, and learning styles. We work with you to design a process that ensures you and your group will reach a valuable, action-oriented consensus. Check out our resource: "How to Work with a Facilitator".

Are you the right facilitators for my group?

Every group has different needs and expectations, and every facilitator has their strengths and weaknesses. We always encourage you to speak with other professionals to find the right fit for your event.

At Parsons Dialogue, we excel at complex assignments that involve multi-stakeholder dialogue, complex problem-solving and contentious topics. We focus on helping groups find pragmatic, action-oriented solutions to their challenges. 

Read our article “Bad acts of facilitation” for insights about choosing a professional facilitator and for questions you may want to ask when you’re searching for one.

When we’re planning our event, when should we call the facilitator?

As soon as you’re thinking about holding a meeting. 

Good facilitators are often booked weeks or months in advance, so allow enough lead time for your facilitator to help you get really clear on what you’d like to accomplish.

That includes defining your vision of success, and identifying the needs of the group so that we can design the right process.  Read our article “Meeting Organizer: Book the Facilitator First” for insights about the process a professional facilitator will use to help you plan your event.

What if I have more questions?

We’re passionate about good dialogue and we love to talk shop. Please feel welcome to drop us a line or book a call, and we’ll share what we know.

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