Roles of a Meeting Facilitator

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Any successful co-op meeting will have a strong facilitator, whose purpose should be to keep the group on task, make sure the discussion is taking place in a democratic fashion, ensure that every voice is heard, the co-op sticks to their allotted meeting time, and more. Below are a list of roles that a facilitator (or facilitators) should play in a co-op meeting.

Note that it's fine for some of these pieces, such as Timekeeper, to be officially delegated to others in the meeting, and participants can assist informally in many other roles. The one piece that should probably always be reserved to the Facilitator, in order to avoid confusion, is the responsibility for choosing whose turn it is to speak.

Summarizer & Integrater

  • State the sense of the group as best you can discern it
  • Reflect back what you are hearing verbally and/or visually
  • Weave together diverse input
  • List out sub-topics so each can be examined
  • State clearly any agreements for the record


  • Awareness of emotional undercurrents, gleaned from tones, body language, intuition
  • Ask deeper questions
  • Call for breaks

Process Steward

  • Help group follow any process agreements or ground rules that are in place
  • Consider formats other than the default large-group discussion
  • Focus and safeguard the process so that others can mainly focus on the content


  • If a conflict emerges, help each person feel heard, and seek common ground
  • Help people understand each other by translating information from a participant into terms that the other participants can also grasp

Keeper of the Stack

Main article: Taking Stack

  • Keep track of whose turn it is to speak


  • Write information up front large enough for everyone in the room to read it
  • Ensure someone is taking minutes for the record


  • Keep an eye on the clock
  • Warn the group well ahead of any deadlines
  • Note again as the deadline draws near

Physical Preparation

  • Seating
  • Lighting
  • Airflow and heating/cooling
  • Supplies: markers, tape, easel, flip chart, chime

See Also


This page originally adapted with permission from Tree Bressen's Group Facilitation Site.[1]