Besides facilitating group discussions, as a group leader, you are also responsible for:
Preparing a written agenda. Make sure each member receives it before the meeting. Bring extra copies to the meeting for those who forget them.
Making sure the room is comfortable. Ensure adequate seating, lighting, temperature control, and ventilation.
Providing all the necessary materials. Place as many materials at each seat as is sensible in order to save distribution time later.
Ensuring that the meeting starts on time. Reward those who arrive on schedule. As you start the meeting, preview the agenda with the group. Create a clear mental image of the specific outcome desired on each item so you’ll all be working toward the same outcome. Then move through the agenda in the sequence specified.
Monitor nonverbal communication. Besides facilitating verbal discussion, look at body language. This will tell you, even more than people’s words, how members are feeling about the group’s progress. If you read boredom or hostility or conflict in people’s body language, you may want to interrupt the discussion to address these feelings openly.
Provide interim summaries. During lengthy discussions, summarize the group’s progress to that point.
Create a positive climate for members to communicate openly and honestly. Your actions may speak much more than your words. So model the behavior you expect to see in your group members.
Conclude by summarizing the next steps. Make sure that everyone agrees on what was decided and who has what responsibility for follow-up. Document the meeting and distribute minutes as soon after the meeting as possible.