Excellent Facilitation: Create Safe Space

It is vital to create, foster, and support safe spaces where participants can learn together. In a society that is openly hostile towards critical perspectives, participants in any activity need support when they make their voices heard. Establishing a safe space is powerful, positive, and hopeful, and hope is a requirement for excellent facilitation.
 Seven Ways to Create Safe Space


1.     Acknowledge that everyone has preconceived ideas about others– or prejudices– that can damage others and ourselves.

2.     Ask participants, “Who should be in this group but is not?”

3.     Focus and limit our conversations until trust increases (sometimes it is better to agree not to talk about specific issue/problem right away.

4.     As the facilitator, seek true dialogue and ask real questions.

5.     Encourage participants to examine their personal assumptions by checking in with others rather than hiding or defending them.

6.     Speak from personal experience by using I statements and do not generalize about others.

7.     Be open to a change of heart as well as a change in thinking. 

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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