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The Facilitation Primer: Strategies, Tools & Considerations to Get You Started

Research Report

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This primer is intended as a basic introduction for those who are called upon to facilitate stakeholder related meetings as part of AHRQ’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program, and who are not professional facilitators or collaboration practitioners.

EHC Program stakeholder related meetings often involve sharing information among a diverse array of decision-makers, who are not used to working with one another, and who may be “meeting” each other for the first time. As such, participants are not members of a cohesive group, nor are they accountable to each other as members of other groups may be (boards of directors, work teams, etc.).

One assumption underlying the involvement of diverse stakeholders is that consideration of multiple stakeholder perspectives will result in research products that are more accurate and applicable in addressing decision-maker needs. A common misconception, however, is that by getting all the important experts or voices together, good results will occur easily and quickly. In reality, getting people together is only the beginning.

No primer can address all potential scenarios. However, this guide presents basic meeting and group facilitation tools intended as a foundation for skills, techniques and competencies.