Beltane Public Engagement Network

Facilitation Skills

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June 5, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
1.18 Paterson's Land
Holyrood Rd
Edinburgh EH8 8AQ
Sarah Anderson (Beltane)
0131 650 4874

Do you need facilitation skills to do your job? Probably: good facilitation skills are critical to team working, collaborating with other teams and organisations, planning and holding meetings, and small group teaching.

If you’d like to improve the communication and inter-personal skills needed to facilitate well, this course may be for you!

Skills You’ll Develop

– Enabling everyone to speak openly about their views, interests and needs

– Thinking together to tackle difficult problems or get a job done

– Fostering creativity and realise the potential for ‘group intelligence’

– Handling dominant voices and ensure all participants are heard

– Working through conflict without confrontation

– Recognising different patterns of communication and encourage ‘authentic’ communication

Using your power as a facilitator constructively

Training Approach

Our training approach integrates some ‘theory’ with a lot of opportunities to practice. Specifically, we will:

– Introduce key concepts – about different forms of communication and styles of facilitation, and about collaboration

– Work on key skills and common challenges, giving you experience of some different techniques and approaches

– Make this relevant to your circumstances and needs, and encourage your reflective practice.

What this Course Does Not Cover

Facilitation involves two skill sets: thinking strategically (for planning and evaluation); and attending to communication and inter-personal dynamics in these critical conversations. This one-day course aims to build capacity in the latter skill set only.

While this course is extremely useful for people wishing to engage others with their research, this won;t be a specific focus on the day.


This course is intended for people who already do some facilitation and want the opportunity to reflect on and deepen their practice in this area. Postgraduate researchers, and others new to faciltation and dialogue, are encouraged to attend Public Engagement Beyond Public Lectures instead.

This course is strictly limited to 16 participants.


This course is free of charge to staff (academic, professional and support) from universities in Edinburgh. Individuals from other organisations are welcome to attend, but the cost is £95, payable here.

Your Trainers

Dr Wendy Faulkner is a freelance dialogue practitioner. Working largely with Oliver Escobar, she has trained some 300 people looking to build facilitation skills – for public engagement in research, community empowerment and collaboration with stakeholders. Wendy also designs and facilitates engagement processes for academic, public and third sector organisations.


Dr Oliver Escobar is Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of What Works Scotland, a large research programme to improve public services and policy innovation. His areas of research, teaching and practice are democracy, politics, policy, participation and collaboration. He coordinates the Citizen Participation Network, has trained and worked with hundreds of public engagement practitioners, and is involved in developing democratic innovations across various policy arenas in Scotland and beyond.

What Works Scotland:

Oliver’s blog:

Twitter: @OliverEscobar

Contact Us

The Beltane Public Engagement Network
The Institute for Academic Development
1 Morgan Lane, Edinburgh, EH8 8FP

Phone: 0131 650 4874/4875

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