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Some speakers ask themselves if presenting is the same skill as facilitating. According to Merriam Webster, the definition of facilitating is to make an action or process easy or easier. Going with that definition, then facilitating is clearly not the same as presenting.
Think of the difference between presenting vs. facilitating which includes:
- During facilitation, the audience becomes the “star” and does the majority of the speaking. In contrast, presenters are the “star” of the show and do the bulk of the speaking.
- Facilitators focus on the process and making it easier for the audience. Presenters place most of the emphasis on content and typically know where the audience needs to end up.
- Facilitators ask open-ended questions throughout the allotted time. Presenters may ask open-ended or close-ended questions usually at the conclusion of their presentation.
- Facilitators often ask for examples of what they hear from attendees in an effort to learn from them.
- Facilitators listen to the differing opinions of the attendees as they voice them. Presenters usually end with time for questions.
- Facilitators often use a whiteboard, or they may opt to use data placemats to document what the audience shares. Conversely, some presenters use PowerPoint slides to illustrate provided information.
Facilitation is certainly not easy and requires that the facilitator opens up meaningful discussion. As part of doing that the facilitator is skilled at audience engagement and ensuring participation. That’s why effective facilitation is all about process as well as perspectives.
The next time you’re asked to speak, I recommend you inquire about whether you’re expected to present or facilitate since they’re unique skills. Understanding that is a key factor in determining the approach you will ultimately take. It also helps you to check the boxes.
You’re welcome to either call me at 518-664-6004 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to prepare you for the optimal outcome you’re seeking.