Facilitating Tips#

Share the Code of Conduct#

We have a code of conduct available to use if you would like, but also feel free to develop and use your own. It’s important to remind peeople to be respectful towards one another during the discussion, and for people to know what to do if they feel they have seen or experienced unacceptable behaviour.

Facilitation Do’s and Dont’s#



Start without a knowing who’s on the call.

Begin by opening the floor for people to introduce themselves.

Open the discussion with a generic question (e.g.: “What do you think?”).

Open the discussion by framing questions that you have prepared (e.g.: “I will ask about specific labels” or “I will ask about the ethical implications of the project’s different methods and objectives”).

Allow people to speak over each other or interrupt others.

Point out and challenge those who interrupt or speak over others. Remind the attendees that they agreed to the Code of Conduct.

Dismiss views or be condescending.

Facilitate discussions around new topics that arise from the group. Encourage people to share their views and clarify where necessary.

Come unprepared!

Be ready to explain the Data Hazard Labels, and be open to their different interpretations.

Lose your temper!

Be respectful. As a facilitator, you must champion the Code of Conduct.

Lose control of the session or time-keeping.

Facilitate the session to “flow” through a beginning, middle and end. Whilst the beginning may be slow, the middle should be where most ideas are shared and all attendees given a chance to voice their views. The end is where you summarise what was discussed during the breakout room and bring the discussion to a “natural” close.

Data Hazard labels specials#

There are some aspects of the Data Hazard labels that require some specific focus from the facilitator. These are:

  • Keep project owners to their 5-minute allotted slot.

  • Only allow factual clarification questions from the audience members.

  • Ensure that project owners do not speak after their allotted time during the breakout.

  • Be prepared to prompt discussion about the Data Hazards based on your knowledge of them.

Further resources#

There are other great places to find good training on faciliation that we don’t have the time to cover here.
Feel free to check them out below.

A Handy Guide to Facilitation (2009) was written by the former NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

Michigan State University have a two-part series on effective facilitation:

  • Part 1: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/how_can_i_become_a_more_effective_facilitator

  • Part 2: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/techniques_of_successful_facilitators_minor_yet_major_things_to_remember

MindTools have a general guide for facilitating entire sessions, from planning to delivery.