Formal talk as a speech genre can come in all different forms including facilitation. According to Roger Schwartz1 facilitation is,
‘A process in which a person whose selection is acceptable to all members of the group, who is substantively neutral, and who has no substantive decision-making authority diagnoses and intervenes to help a group improve how it identifies and solves problems and makes decisions, to increase the group’s effectiveness.2’
In regards to the article, it made evident various elements that align with facilitation being formal talk. Firstly, facilitation is not scripted; however, the order is which the take place is3. For example, a facilitation session includes a beginning (encouraging exploration), middle (engaging with the subject) and end (enabling people to move on) 4. This generally is rules-based because the outcome is driven5.. Secondly, although a facilitation session is aimed at a particular purpose, conversation does tend to go with the flow as it opens the barrier to greater possibilities6. The third aspect that aligns facilitation with formal talk is the way in which the facilitator directs the conversation to encourage reflection and experience6.
Many people can argue that ‘facilitation’ can be both informal and formal due to different situations. For example, if I were to have an ideas session facilitated by the CEO of the company it would be a referred to as formal talk as all talk within the structure of the meeting would be formal. One the other hand, if I were to undertake a training session facilitated by a work colleague on time management there is a chance that some of the talk would become informal. Despite this, the talk is still overcome driven. Therefore, is does not matter what situation a facilitating group discussion takes place is still classed as formal talk.
1Rodger, S, The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches, 2nd edn, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002), 52.
3Mark, S, “Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions”, 2012 http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-facil.htm (accessed August 15, 2012).
Schwartz, R, 2002, The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches, 2nd edn, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Smith, M, “Facilitating learning and change in groups and group sessions”, 2012 http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-facil.htm (accessed August 15, 2012)