Resources to Improve your Facilitation Skills

Below are dozens of great books and guidebooks to help you gain facilitation skills. Categorized by model (if any) and organized by author.

Facilitation (general)

A Manual for Group Facilitator

Auvine, Brian. 1981. Center for Conflict Resolution.

Building United Judgment: A Handbook for Consensus Decision-Making

Avery, Michael, Brian Auvine, Barbara Streible and Lonnie Weiss. 1981. Center for Conflict Resolution.

Facilitating With Ease: A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Facilitation

Bens, Ingrid. Participative Dynamics.

The Business of Listening: A Practical Guide to Effective Listening (Fifty-Minute Series)

Bone, Diane, Michael Crisp (Editor) and Ralph Mapson (Illustrator). 1995. Crisp Publications.

Un-Strategies for Multicultural Facilitation: Avoiding Twelve Facilitative Pitfall

Gorski, Paul. 2001. Compiled for the Multicultural Pavilion. Click here for the document.

The Complete Facilitator's Handbook

Heron, John. 1999. Kogan Page, Ltd.

The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future

Holman, Peggy and Tom Devane (editors). 1999. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

An introduction to large-group methods for participatory planning and redesign. While many of these methods have originated in corporate settings, they are also applicable to communities.

The Art of Facilitation: How to Create Group Synergy

Hunter, Dale, Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor. 1995. New York: Perseus Books Group.

The Zen of Groups: A Handbook for People Meeting With a Purpose

Hunter, Dale, Anne Bailey and Bill Taylor. 1995. Cambridge: Fisher Books.

Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making

Kaner, Sam, Lenny Lind, Catherine Toldi (Contributor), Sara Fisk (Contributor) and Duane Berge. 1996. New Society Publishers.

The Large Group Facilitator's Manua

Napuk, Kerry and Eddie Palmer. 2003. Gower Publishing.

Covering six processes ? Open Space, Future Search, Giant Mind Maps, Vision Search, Strategy Search and the Perth Process ? Open Futures' Manual provides a collection of tools for understanding, planning and running large group events. A clear step-by-step format takes potential facilitators through every stage of making large group events happen. This is the first manual to offer such detailed guides for so many different processes involving between 20 and 500 people in real-time work on the future. 212 pages in A4 loose leaf. $315. Email .

Opening Doors: A Facilitator's Handbook

Kowalski, Theodore L. 1999. University Press of America.

Sitting in The Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity

Mindell, Arnold. 1995. Portland, Oregon: Lao Tse Press.

An excellent resource for collective work, this book shows how working with power, rank, revenge, and abuse helps build sustainable communities.

Transforming Conflict

Moore, D. and J. McDonald. 2000. Australian Print Group, Maryborough, VIC.

The Facilitator Excellence Handbook: Helping People Work Creatively and Productively Together

Rees, Fran. 1998. Pfeiffer & Company.

The Skilled Facilitator: Practical Wisdom for Developing Effective Groups

Schwarz, Roger M. 1994. Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Can the human being thrive in the work place? Dialogue as a strategy of hope

Wesorick, B. and L. Shiparksi. 1997. Michigan: Practice Field Publishing.

This is an excellent resource for working with groups just beginning with dialogue. It includes strategies and stories that show ways to introduce and deepen into the use of dialogue in the workplace.

Dynamic Facilitation

A Dynamic Facilitation Manual and Reader: Evoking practical group creativity through generative dialogue

Zubizarreta, Rosa and Jim Rough. 2002.

This spiral-bound manual describes a transformational approach for facilitating dialogue in situations where people are highly invested, emotionally charged or polarized, and helping groups arrive at practical and creative breakthroughs. Published by the Center for Wise Democratic Processes, the manual can be ordered from Jim Rough and Associates by emailing .

Future Search

Future Search: An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations and Communities

Weisbord, Marvin and Sandra Janoff. 1995. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

This book describes a step-by-step process for planning and leading a Future Search conference, where diverse community members come together to envision and plan their shared future.


The Mediator's Handbook

Beer, Jennifer and Eileen Stief. 1997. New Society Publishers.

The Promise of Mediation

Bush, Robert A. Baruch and Joseph P. Folger. 1994. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

A participant at the November 2003 Open Space "Practice of Peace" gathering peruses the morning's session offerings.

Open Space Technology

Open Space Technology: A User's Guide

Owen, Harrison. 1997. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Open Space Technology is a simple and accessible way to help groups self-design their own conferences, with a minimum of advance preparation and a maximum of rich interpersonal dialogue and connections.

Study Circles

A Guide for Training Study Circle Facilitators

Study Circles Resource Center. 1998.

Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change

Study Circles Resource Center. 2001.

Download these and many other guides free at or call 860-928-2616 to order.

The Electronic Forum Handbook: Study Circles in Cyberspace

Kleiber, Pamela B., Ed.D., Margaret E. Holt, Ed.D., and Jill Dianne Swenson, Ph.D.

This handbook results from the experience of moderators trained in face-to-face dialogue who experimented with an electronic version on the internet. Two classes - one at Ithaca College in New York and one at the University of Georgia - were paired for an electronic dialogue experience in 1994. The Handbook is based in part on Study Circles Resource Center materials.

World Caf?

The World Cafe - A Resource Guide for Hosting Conversations That Matter

Brown, Juanita, and the World Caf? Community. 2002.

A concise guide to the principles and practices for hosting and convening World Caf? Conversations and meetings in any size group. Includes checklists for meeting preparation. Available for online order through Pegasus Communications at


Return to either the Practicing D&D Introduction or the top of this page...