Simple but Crucial: The Key to High Impact Facilitation

March 29, 2016


You have a great idea how to tackle a pressing challenge, you set up your venture, find a great team and get to work! Congratulations. You have just stepped into the lion’s den. 

Our ideas stand and fall with our ability to make them happen. One of the most important leadership traits is the ability to facilitate different people and situations to enable co-owned problem solving, engagement and a thriving environment for teams and stakeholders alike. High impact facilitation is also needed when the going gets tough to navigate complex situations and resolve conflicts.

We asked our instructor team Henrique and Florentine Versteeg-Vedana teaching ‘High Impact Facilitation’ what their advice would be to anyone interested in deepening this leadership skill.

1. Why are high-impact facilitation skills crucial to social change work?

It may sound simple but is in fact one of the hardest things to master. People don`t understand each other very well, so there is a dramatic lack of empathy. So what you need are people who can facilitate dialogs to create understanding in the world by asking the right questions, creating trust and getting to a holistic approach solving complex problems and creating innovative solutions for those problems.  

2. What is one thing people can do every day but often don’t do enough of?
Again – simple but effective: Talk to other people and practice active listening. Really get to know other people`s reality. Be curious!


3. What is your advice to someone who wants to improve their facilitation skills?
One thing is to take courses but the most crucial aspect is to practice, practice and practice. Depending on your learning style, you might prefer to talk to people, watch videosread, reach out to experienced Facilitators, but above all practice practice and practice.  

Henrique and Florentine are the founders of Manifesto 55 and taught ‘High Impact Facilitation’ at our Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management in Brazil in March 2016.


Skills for Social Innovation – In this series we are sharing insights from our instructors from around the world who teach our Social Innovation Management Fellows professional skills to lead change. 

Read here Robert Wolfe’s insights on communication for change leaders.


Share this article: