In this day and age of “highest and best use,” many facilitators are finding that documenting the results of a session is NOT the “highest and best use” of their time NOR in the best financial interest of their client. Sometimes, these facilitators off-load this work to one of their own less expensive resources or simply have the client take responsibility for the documentation.
In both of these cases, we find that having a standard flip chart protocol will save you and your documenters hours of back-end editing. Here is a sample of what a flip chart protocol might look like.
- First, the facilitator will assign an outline letter to each facilitation process in the order that the process is performed based on the agenda (e.g., A-Getting started, B-How the process works today, C-Problems and root causes).
2. Next, the facilitator will label the top of every chart with the outline letter and name of the facilitation process (underlined) as it appears on the detailed agenda.
3. Then, the facilitator will number each page in the right hand corner with the outline letter and page number (e.g., A-1). Page numbers will restart at 1 for each facilitation process.
4. Finally, the facilitator will number (e.g., 1,2,3) the comments made for each facilitation process. Comment numbers will restart at 1 for each facilitation process. Sub-comments will be lettered (e.g., a, b, c).
5. The red pen will be reserved for corrections.
6. Documenters will record the comments as they appear on the flip charts, making spelling, punctuation and capitalization corrections as needed.
7. For capitalization:
- Process title: Capitalize the first letter of each primary word.
- Comment: Capitalize only the first letter of the first word.
- Sub-comment: Capitalize only the first letter of the first word.
8. For punctuation:
- Place no periods at the end of lines except for full sentences.
- Use semi-colons in the place of periods in the middle of a lengthy comment or sub-comment.
9. Documenters should spell out each abbreviation the first time it appears and place the abbreviation in parenthesis.
To learn more about facilitation skills, consider our course, The Effective Facilitator. The four-day course provides a structured approach for leading teams and facilitating meetings and covers over 100 techniques for getting amazing results from groups.
About the Author
Michael Wilkinson is the CEO and Managing Director of Leadership Strategies, the largest provider of professional facilitators and facilitation training in the country. Michael is a much sought after trainer, facilitator and speaker. He is a Certified Master Facilitator and a Certified Professional Facilitator. As a past president of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, the creator of the FindaFacilitator.com database and a board member of the International Institute of Facilitation, Michael is a national leader in the facilitation industry. You can get more tips from Michael’s books, including The Executive Guide to Facilitating Strategy, The Secrets of Facilitation, The Secrets to Masterful Meetings, and CLICK: The Virtual Meetings Book.