Building Capacity: Small Group Facilitation and Note-Taking for Dialogue and Deliberation

Mary Pat MacKinnon, Jacquie Dale, Susanna Haas Lyons, and Fiona Cavanagh - 2017

Small group discussions are at the heart of a public deliberation. Participants sit at a table together, express their opinions, hear ideas from other participants, and wrestle together with the issue at hand. Table facilitators and note-takers play an essential supporting role to help each group’s conversation effectively inform and contribute to the deliberations of the whole group. Each table facilitator and note-taker therefore has a signi cant influence on the quality of the deliberation and its outcomes. Yet there is much variation in how these roles are performed. This paper explores causes of and responses to this variation in order to advance the practice of intermediate and expert practitioners and note-takers of deliberative dialogue.