facilitators role

Posted by Barb on July 28, 2017, 3:09 p.m. 6 comments

Is it improper for a facilitator is participate in any way to contribute to the group conversation?  We had a small group and some facilitators shared their thoughts as well with the group.  There was feedback later amongst the facilitators as to how this should be handled?  Your thoughts would be much appreciated


Death Cafe - Fremantle facilitator of 4.5 years

I always share and participate in the conversation! I think it would create an unusual imbalance if facilitators just sat there or made sure the conversation stayed on topic. People sometimes come to Death Cafe's unsure of what to expect and may be fearful of sharing, but if we facilitators model how easy it is to talk about death and dying in a public forum, it leads the way for them to share their own experiences, feelings and stories. We lead the way and allow others to feel safe and supported. It's almost an imperative and very much in line with Jon's intention that it be a group discussion, not a lecture. I hope this helps! ;)

Posted by Ava Reyerson

I will share my personal experiences with death if/when appropriate to the trend of the topic(s) people are talking about. MY role isn't to dominate a conversation but were I to sit idly by I think that people would wonder why I was there and be less inclined to share themselves. One of my roles is to make people comfortable. One way is to be willing to share.

Posted by Sherry Gilles

I tend to participate more at the beginning and during transitions. Once the conversation picks up, I step back and maybe just guide the conversation to make sure those who want to talk can. To not participate at all would be awkward for the others. Plus, I too am a learner and like the give and take of our conversations.

Posted by Mark (Atlanta, GA)

Like Sherry and Mark, I participate but am careful to not dominate the conversation. Section 4 of the Death Cafe Guide provides good guidance on the role of a facilitator -- including the third point, that there are no hierarchies...we all meet simply as people who are going to die...

Posted by Angela

Columbus Host

Hi all,
I think of myself as a host rather than a "facilitator." I want it to be as much of a coffeeshop conversation as possible. My participation is minimal - mostly active listening. People who come generally have something on their mind that they want to talk about. I had a cohost once who talked a lot and we got feedback on the surveys that people felt they didn't get a chance to talk enough.

Posted by Lizzy Miles

When I have facilitated I have shared my stuff if I felt it was appropriate and no one else needed the space. I believe it helps the power differential to be an equal participant rather than silent as the other group members know that you are just like them rather than imagining where you are coming from.

Posted by Susan Barsky Reid

Add a comment