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September 26, 2020
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Fine-Tune Your Facilitation Skills
Advanced level training
Hosted by U.S. EPA, Community Involvement and Program Initiatives Branch
Community Involvement University (CIU)

What is the course overview?
EPA employees often are called upon to facilitate community, interagency, and other stakeholder meetings and encounters. Often these meetings involve complex and contentious issues and it’s the facilitator’s job to make sure that the meeting stays focused on the goals of the meeting, remains civil, provides an opportunity for all to have a say within the framework of the meeting’s timeline and agenda, and that the final objectives of the meeting are achieved. This two-day advanced facilitation workshop is designed to help participants enhance and further refine their facilitation skills to be prepared for any situation that may arise at a stakeholder meeting--no matter how challenging.

Who should take this course?
This two-day advanced facilitation workshop is for EPA staffers, such as community engagement and community liaison specialists and project managers, who regularly facilitate community and other stakeholder meetings. The course is limited to 12-15 participants.

What are the course learning objectives?
Participants will come away from this two-day advanced workshop with the tools they need to facilitate their next stakeholder meeting with enhanced skill and confidence. Participants will gain skills to be prepared for any situation that may arise at a stakeholder meeting. Participants will:

  • Briefly review facilitation basics, including facilitation tools and techniques and best practices for designing stakeholder meetings.
  • Learn how to recognize and manage various types of meeting dynamics.
  • Prepare strategies to maximize effective public participation, minimize conflict and hostility, and, when appropriate, build consensus.
  • Develop proficiency in handling on-the-spot challenging situations or difficult meeting participants and regain control of the meeting.
  • Gain tools to effectively use body language and vocal presence.
  • Learn how to remain comfortable and look and feel confident while facilitating a meeting.

What are the logistics?
Workshop participants must be committed to actively participating in the full two-day course. A few weeks prior to the workshop, participants will be sent an email asking them to describe their experience as meeting facilitators and to provide examples of challenges they have faced and want to address at the workshop. They will be asked to bring a case study to practice on-camera during the workshop. During Day #1 of the workshop, participants will review best practices for effective stakeholder meeting design and facilitation as they review and critique video examples of meetings gone awry. They will also participate in a group exercise involving a relevant stakeholder meeting case study. Each participant will practice facilitating the meeting while their colleagues role-play as meeting participants. The sessions will be videotaped and group critiques will follow. Day #2 will include a brief review the previous day’s lessons and then each participant will practice, on-camera, his or her individualized case study, again followed by a group critique. Throughout the workshop, the trainers will deliver tips on body language, maintaining a vocal presence and stress-reduction, including relaxation and breathing exercises to help participants look and feel confident, even under pressure.

A Fine Tune Your Facilitation Skills training manual will be provided at the workshop and a password- protected link to each participant’s uploaded, on-camera exercises will be provided a few weeks following the workshop.

About the Trainers
Pamela Avery has conducted spokesperson, presentation, news media/social media and facilitation training workshops and coaching sessions for the EPA for nearly 20 years, including workshops in all 10 EPA regions and at annual NARPM, CIC and OSC conferences. A certified public participation/conflict resolution professional, she has facilitated more than two dozen challenging EPA-hosted public and government stakeholder meetings in recent years, including those involving complex and contentious issues. She also has researched and helped produce three documentary style informational videos for the EPA including "Our Land, Our Legacy" profiling the success of RCRA program.

Dominic Frederico has conducted spokesperson, presentation, news media/social media and facilitation training workshops and coaching sessions with Pamela Avery for the EPA for the past 13 years, including workshops at annual NARPM, CIC and OSC conferences. He also has conducted training for FEMA and the U.S. Armed Services. A professional TV photojournalist and videographer, he has produced, with Pam Avery, two documentary-style videos for the EPA--a 2015 video celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Brownfields Program and a 2016 video marking the success of a large, contentious Superfund site in the Coeur d’ Alene Basin in Idaho.

For additional information visit www.averymassey.com

For general information contact Tina Conley by telephone at 703-603-0696 or via e-mail at conley.tina@epa.gov

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