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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0101 | May 20, 2003
7,500 Subscribers

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 

Hello MFJ Readers. 

Our feature article in this issue, "How to Turn Your Wisdom into a Workshop," was submitted by Suzanne Falter-Barns. This article includes a top ten list to help you conceptualize and launch an experiential workshop around your own material.

Also check out our new 4-week telecass on Appreciative Inquiry starting June 11th. Details presented at the end of this issue.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week... 
Steve Davis


How to Turn Your Wisdom Into a Workshop

The Point

The Technical Revolution has done a lot for us -- we merely have to pick up a phone or send an email to conduct business. Yet, there still is no substitute for live, personal appearances when you want your teaching to count, and that's why I love workshops. Your participants benefit from the short-term intensity of the experience, and you benefit from actually seeing your principles and exercises in play.

If you've got the solution to any problem that's out there, you can deliver it in workshop form. I've developed the following ten steps in my years of designing and delivering self-help workshops.


1. Put together a workshop people actually need. What's the biggest problem your target market faces - and what do you know about solving it? This is the key to filling your workshop. Find the problem you are uniquely qualified to solve. Do not rely on vague promises like "improving your life" or "boosting your creativity". Offer us something we can really use, such as "How to Create More Time for Your Dream."

2. Decide Where and How You'll Lead the Workshop. Basically, you have a choice: you find a location and hold the workshop yourself, or you pitch and sell it to a larger venue, such as an adult ed learning center. If you hold the workshop yourself, you will have a bigger job, but you potentially could make much more money. If someone else holds it, your audience may be more certain … or it may not. Also, it may be hard to place your workshop with a larger venue if you don't already have a track record doing such - unless your idea is so 'killer' that learning venue can resist. There is no 'right' answer here. Test the waters to find the best solution.

3. Choose a great location. Nothing is more depressing than a workshop in a dimly lit church basement painted an institutional green. Instead, look for a sunny, fresh environment that makes you (and them) feel good. When holding your own workshop, look for inns or even B&B's that have a meeting room or living room available. Often such places will provide a room for free if they are catering your event. For shorter workshops, look to grand old libraries that have seminar rooms, or churches or temples that have recently renovated or offer more upscale facilities.

4. Plan the day around food. Believe it or not, this is key. A workshop has to have an air of retreat to it, or it won't have nearly the impact you want. That's why I like to hold longer, full-day workshops that include a nice lunch and afternoon tea and cookies. This gives your participants the sense that they're really getting away from everyday life and nurturing themselves, which facilitates breakthroughs. At the same time, you can offer more benefits, and thus a more valuable workshop package.

5. Structure your day with lots of play. Give these folks some things to do that get them out of their usual routine, right off the bat. In my own How Much Joy Can You Stand? workshops, I have people come to the event with a 'no-name' tag - something they can comfortably wear that expresses their essence without using their name. It's a fun way to get everyone on level playing ground. This sort of hands-on exercise can be used at least two or three times during the day to make your points more effectively. To create exercises, simply think about what sorts of activities would really move you to have fun, and think outside of the usual box.

6. Combine teaching with feedback. Don't just preach; ask. During your lecture time, take occasional breaks to ask for their ideas, observations, questions, etc. You can also drive home points by creating front-of-the-room lists on a flip chart, or by having brief writing exercises, which they can share from afterwards. I like timed writing exercises, quick top of the mind lists, and written responses to questions.

7. Don't be afraid of group meditations. If you're doing work that is at all spiritually attuned, guided meditations can be fantastic tools. Most people will give them a try, even if they've never done so before. Be sure to speak clearly throughout the meditation, and urge people to sit on cushions or chairs, but not recline. Some may be willing to share what they observed, which is often quite powerful.

8. Let them guide you. Sometimes you need to put aside your plan for a while, and let a powerful group conversation take over. Be sure to design your day with an extra half-hour to hour (if it's a full day) for such tangents to develop. That way, you won't be a slave to the clock, and can allow for spontaneous insights to occur.

9. Start with a group of friends … and get evaluations. Your very first workshop can always be held with friends, or your R&D group, right in your own living room. Offer it for free, in exchange for detailed feedback on what worked, and what didn't. Then be sure to have the evaluation forms ready to fill out at the end of the workshop - before anyone leaves. In your evaluation, also include a place for enthusiasts to leave glowing testimonials, for use in your promo materials. (Include a request for a signed okay for use of their name and quote in your form.)

10. Experiment. You're going to get a lot further leading workshops if you can view this aspect of your career as a grand experiment. Some things will work; some things won't. Your job is to find out which is which, so your workshop becomes the very best it can be … and that's the best way to fill them up!

About the Author: Suzanne Falter-Barns is the author of Living Your Joy and How Much Joy Can You Stand? You can learn more in her free ezine, The Joy Letter, which brings you a crisp, fresh burst of inspiration for your dream every week or two. Sign up at and receive her valuable report, "Thirty-Five Guaranteed Time Savers". It helps you create time to finally live your dreams.


Is there a workshop idea you've been nursing? What three things can you do this week to move it forward? I'd love to hear what shows up for you. Please email us your comments.

How to Run Seminars and Workshops : Presentation Skills for Consultants, Trainers, and Teachers, by Robert L. Jolles

A revision of its successful predecessor, this book provides the most up-to-date material currently available in the field. An entirely new chapter examines the state-of-the-art technology available to presenters, especially LCD projectors, laptops with PowerPoint, electronic white boards, documents cameras, 8mm players, and the idea-behind-distance learning. Written by a tireless consultant and self-promoter, How to Run Seminars & Workshops is an essential resource for the ever-expanding consultant market.

About the Publisher
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight
Appreciative Inquiry
A Provocative Proposal for Unleashing the Power of What Works...

Join us for this 4-week TeleClass with AI experts, Patricia Clason and Bert Stitt starting June 11th


This four session series on Appreciative Inquiry, is a facilitation strategy for intentional change that identifies the best of "what is" in order to pursue dreams and possibilities of "what could be." Within these classes we will explore the four dynamics of AI, Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery. Plan to bring with you the challenges you have encountered or are experiencing in the group/organizational change process. These sessions will be interactive and we will encourage discussion of specific situations in which Appreciate Inquiry might be applied.

The Eight Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry, Wednesday, June 11th

Explore the nature of assumptions in an organization/group. We will define and discuss the base assumptions of AI, how they affect the change process and how we may have experienced them already in our facilitation practice.

  • Learn to leverage what works
  • There is always something that works… Learn how you find it!
  • Learn how to ask questions that influence change

The Six Core Principles of Appreciative Inquiry, Wednesday, June 18th

Understanding the DNA of Appreciative Inquiry gives us a foundation upon which we can build the infrastructure of a change process that works.

  • Learn how to interpret and re-interpret the "story" of your organization
  • Learn how finding and using what works beats problem solving
  • Learn how to positively infect the vision of your organization
  • Learn how joy and hope trump suffering and loss

The Five Steps to Appreciative Inquiry, Wednesday, June 25th

From creating a provocative proposal to manifesting a destiny, each step is crucial to the process of Appreciative Inquiry. We get to incorporate the "buzzwords" of the last decade, Innovation, Empowerment, Continuous Leaning, Partnership, and Making A Difference, into a process of change that is FUN! Imagine the possibilities!

  • Learn the logic of the AI steps to successful change
  • Learn how to involve everyone in your organization in its success
  • Learn that the secrets of success are already in the everyday work of the people in your organization

Outcomes and Opportunities (one month after the first three classes), Wednesday, July 23rd

This session will be a celebration of learning about what worked and what didn't work for class participants as they applied the concepts of AI in their practice with clients and organizations, as well as discussion on further opportunities for implementing and integrating Appreciative Inquiry.

  • Learn to transfer success from one project or situation to another - self efficacy
  • Learn to "infect" your organization with spreading/creative possibilities
  • Learn how to re-direct the culture of your organization
  • Make your successes work for you time after time
  • Learn how to "harvest" the successes of everyone in your organization
  • Learn how Appreciative Inquiry can be a transforming technique in your personal life

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 4-Week training described above, you also receive:

1. Free access to the RealAudio version of this training.
2. A Bibliography of leading works on AI.
3. A number of web resources to support your work in this field.
4. Summary notes of each class session.
5. List of class participants.

Benefits to you of participating 4-Week Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of Appreciative Inquiry to add to your toolbox as a facilitator, team leader, coach, or leader.
2. Learn to employ a change process that works.
3. Learn how to come from a positive, "what works" perspective when working with individuals and groups.

Leader Bios

Bert Stitt operates a home-based consultancy from Madison, Wisconsin. He provides facilitation services, public engagement consultation, and organizational development for community-building projects, coaching for non-governmental organizations, mediation and facilitation for governmental agencies, and strategic planning processes for associations, foundations, and small businesses. Appreciative Inquiry is a relatively recent tool that Bert is finding very useful as he reaches into the toolbox while helping to build the organizations he works with.

Patricia Clason has traveled across the continent doing speeches, workshops and media appearances as a professional speaker, trainer, consultant and writer, giving over 3,000 presentations for corporations, associations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Now the Director of the Center for Creative Learning which offers programs for personal and professional development and has written many articles, training programs and personal growth seminars and is a sought-after guest for radio and television. Patricia likes to focus on alternative methods of teaching and learning, addressing the psychological perspectives and principles behind the practical tools that she teaches. As a result, audiences are often entranced with her and excited about using these new ideas.

Course Fee and Registration.
The full cost of training is only $64.95 for MFJ readers ($79.95 for the general public). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. The class will meet on the following four Wednesdays at 2:00 PM EDT (NY Time), June 11th, June 18th, June 25th, and one month later on July 23rd.

Please click here and you'll be taken to the teleclass registration page. Register there and you'll see your discount computed and applied as you check out. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course
. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this course, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case. (Why? Because we are sensitive to the fact that you are buying an e-course/product from us and we feel that if this package isn't EXACTLY what you expected or wanted, that you should be able to get 100% of your money back. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.)

Click here to register now!


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on May 27, 2003.


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