Effective group facilitation can increase productivity, effectiveness and enjoyment by group members. Keeping in mind a few key elements of group work can help you be the right facilitator for your group.
Is the point of the group to accomplish a goal, to teach members something or to have fun. It may be a combination, but keeping in the mind the mix of intentions is important. The degree to which you're able to focus the group in the direction of your purpose, the more sucessful the group will feel.
Are members looking for a a time to relax and get to know one another or are they busy people who want to get the job done and move on with their lives? Understanding where the group is a whole, or the group dynamics, can also be helpful. Check the resource below on Stages of Group Development for more detail.
Having a plan of both how you would like to move the group through its business will help you, and the group, stay on task. Group members often feel mor trusting of the process when they have a written agenda or hear the gameplan up front.
*Fran Rees, How to Lead Work Teams, 1991
*Karen Finch, Group Facilitation and Processing Skills, 1996