Leadership

Find help for trainers and consultants at TheFacilitator.com

While it's certainly not perfect, The Facilitator.com Web site does offer some good ideas and solid resources for trainers, making it well worth a visit.

In my last review, I introduced you to a fine site on facilitation, (FacilitationFactory.com). Because many training professionals also facilitate groups for purposes other than purely training—and since many of those skills are used by trainers and consultants—I figure you can’t bookmark enough quality sites for finding tips and resources for being a better facilitator. This week’s featured site has a name that makes its mission perfectly clear: TheFacilitator.com.

Overview
This site's front page works like a site map, with all the main information listed on the home page. This is refreshing! The site is divided into five major areas:
  1. Newsletter
  2. Articles
  3. Try This!
  4. Happenings
  5. Resources

Newsletter
The site supports a paper-based paid newsletter called The Facilitator. For $35 (U.S. subscriptions, $40 elsewhere), you can receive this quarterly newsletter. The site allows you to subscribe, submit an article of your own, view outlines of back issues, and request a sample issue for free (which I did!). You can also purchase back issues, which is why they haven’t posted the full articles in their archive. All of this information is clear and easy to navigate.

Articles
The “Articles” section allays my concern about not being able to see the full content of the back issues. Articles included in this section are from past issues, and several of them are very good. As of my review, there were a total of eleven articles available. Five articles are one click away from the home page, as their titles are listed. Six more are under the “more articles” link and are prefaced by a nice summary.

When I read several of these articles, I noticed that they were of a high quality. Their variety of content was also quite good. Any facilitator—from green to highly experienced—should find useful material here.

Try This!
The “Try This!” section contains tips and techniques. The ideas here are short, to the point, and immediately applicable. This section is well worth a quick visit. My only wish is that there were more of them.

Happenings
The “Happenings” section contains links and Conference information—pretty standard stuff. While it is useful, it isn’t really anything new. The User Group link is something I haven’t seen before (on a site relating to facilitation). The site lists a number of local and regional facilitation groups with links and contact information. (It also lists groups that failed to respond to inquiries for updated information.) These groups are listed by continent, and the number is impressive. If you live in a major metropolitan area, don’t be surprised if you find a group you could join locally.

Resources
This is mostly a link section with vendors and information in the areas of:
  • Training. Here you’ll find listing and contact information of companies that provide training in facilitation tools and techniques.
  • Electronic Meeting Support. This area is growing quickly, and it’s nice to have this list of vendors available.
  • Book Reviews. I found five book reviews on books in the facilitation area. This area could be greatly expanded.
  • Buy Books. This was simply a link to Amazon.com, which was disappointing, as the home page showed a graphic that led me to believe there would be a large list of recommended facilitation books.
  • Other Resources. Here’s the usual hodgepodge of links and information of interest to trainers and consultants.

Final impressions
While the entire site is helpful, I found myself lingering in the “Articles” and “Try This!” sections. This is a good sign. I came to the site with the express intent of reviewing it, and when I found myself reading item after item, I realized the content is good—and I read much more than was needed to write this review. In twenty minutes, I got three good ideas that I will use with clients in the next week.

Facilitation is an important skills set for us. This site, while not as “full” as I would like, does have many great resources. I encourage you to take a look—and be ready to take notes!

Table A
Here’s Kevin’s summary of his review of TheFacilitator.com.

To comment on this review or to recommend a great Web site for trainers for a future review, please post a comment below or send Kevin a note.