Facilitation Roles: MFTGRS

Roles and Responsibilities of Facilitators

1. Clearly understood and executed roles and responsibilities are the heart and soul of effective meetings. There are key roles that are critical for every meeting but each meeting attendee also has a critical role to participate and to help the meeting to succeed.

2. Successful facilitation is critical to keeping a meeting on track and flowing smoothly. Facilitators can make the difference between a meeting where issues are discussed, proposals considered, decisions made and people leave committed to actions or a chaotic meeting where frustrated participants leave wondering whether their time was well spent attending at all.

3. To assist in remembering the critical roles in facilitating a successful meeting, Occupy Reno has adopted the following acronym: MFTGRS: (M – Moderator, F – Facilitator, T – Timekeeper, G – Greeter, R – Ranger, S – Scribe). These roles can be adapted and applied generically to all meetings. Some of the MFTGRS roles can be performed concurrently by one person but the specific responsibilities under each role must still be covered. Descriptions of the MFTGRS roles are provided below.

4. Moderator

a)   In the context of Occupy Reno, the Moderator schedules, organizes and leads meetings (General Assemblies, Working Groups, Committees, etc.).

b)   The Moderator, in consultation with all appropriate individuals, sets the meeting time, date, and location and insures that all necessary arrangements are made, notices sent, invitations extended, etc.

c)    The Moderator, working with other appropriate individuals, drafts the meeting agenda and determines the approximate time required for each item. Typically a meeting should last about an hour.

d)   The Moderator ensures the agenda is posted and publicized at least 2 hours in advance of the meeting.

e)   The Moderator calls the meeting to order as close as possible to the scheduled start time of the meeting and introduces and welcomes any guests.

f)     The Moderator briefly reviews the agenda for the meeting, points out the time set aside for each agenda item, agenda items that might need extra time, agenda items that require decisions, and agenda items where guests will be presenting.

g)   The Moderator asks if there are any agenda items to be added and adds them if necessary.

h)   The Moderator introduces the Facilitator, the Timekeeper, the Greeters, the Rangers and the Scribe and makes a few brief comments on the role of each.

i)     The Moderator briefly reviews the meeting ground rules and points out that even though it is the Facilitator’s role to ensure ground rules are adhered to, it is also the responsibility of all meeting attendees to observe ground rules and ensure they are followed.

j)     The Moderator follows the meeting agenda until the conclusion of the meeting.

5. Facilitator

a)   During the meeting, the Facilitator monitors the interpersonal dynamics of the meeting and the overall meeting environment.

b)   As a rule, the Facilitator only intervenes when necessary, when participants of the group do not take the opportunity to do so themselves.

c)    Any interventions are conducted with maximum courtesy to the individual and minimum interruption to the meeting. The watchwords for facilitator interventions are quick, clear, and courteous.

d)   The Facilitator ensures adherence to the ground rules, and redirects group discussion when it deviates from the agenda.

e)   The Facilitator asks for additional clarification when an item under discussion seems to be generating confusion and/or asks for someone to paraphrase the item in order to check for understanding.

f)     The Facilitator makes note of individuals indicating a desire to speak in a discussion and ensures that they have an opportunity to do so.

g)   When the “Stack” protocol is being used, the Facilitator manages the “Stack.”

h)   As appropriate, the Facilitator may ask individuals who have not been participating in discussion to share their thoughts.

i)     The Facilitator notes the tone and sentiments of participants and assesses when group discussion is moving toward consensus. At the appropriate time the Facilitator asks for a clear proposal to be framed so that participants can either approve or reject it.

j)     The Facilitator attends to the physical environment (temperature, light, distracting noise, etc.), ensures that speakers’ voices are loud enough to be heard, and that speakers are visible to all attendees.

k)   When feasible the Facilitator tries to establish and maintain a circular shaped meeting structure in order to give everyone equal visual access and to equalize spatial influence during deliberations.

6. Timekeeper

a)   The Timekeeper’s function during the meeting is to keep track of the time allotted to each portion of the agenda, to provide 5 and 2 minute warnings when allotted.

b)   The Timekeeper helps the Moderator and Facilitator to track time spent on items and to help keep the meeting moving.

7. Greeter

a)   The role of the Greeter is to identify people who are new to the meeting, welcome them, give them a brief background on what is taking place and introduce them to others as appropriate.

b)   At the conclusion of the meeting, the Greeter asks the new people for their perceptions of the meeting, if there was anything they would like clarified, and asks them to please feel free to come back.

c)    An additional role of the Greeter is to keep an eye out for any possible troublemakers and to alert a Ranger if necessary.

d)   Ranger(s) and Greeter(s) work as a team to support the other Facilitators to keep control of the meeting.

e)   The number of Greeters may vary; normally one per 20 people at a meeting is advisable.

8. Ranger

a)   The role of the Ranger is to provide immediate assistance in the case of exceptional circumstances such as medical or other emergencies, verbal or physical hostility, vandalism, etc.

b)   The communicated with the Greeter and help to handle any behavioral hot spots.

c)    Ranger(s) and Greeter(s) work as a team to support the other Facilitators to keep control of the meeting.

d)   The number of Rangers may vary; normally one per 20 people at a meeting is advisable.

9. Scribe

a)   During the meeting, the Scribe makes brief notes about what is discussed in the meeting. Notes follow the agenda. They need not be formal “minutes” or a direct transcription but rather are a brief summary with particular attention to timely announcements, decisions that are made, outcomes, and when appropriate, commitments to action items.

b)   At the end of the formal meeting the Scribe quickly reads back their notes to the G.A. to confirm their accuracy.

c) Following the meeting, the Scribe types up the minutes from their notes using a format that parallels the agenda emphasizing announcements, decisions and action items. These minutes are then posted on the Occupy Reno webpage.