of the Week
Journal | Issue #0119 | September 23, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers
Intro to Appreciative Inquiry.
New 4-week Teleclass Starts Oct 7th at 2PM EDT. Click
here for info.
out this basic teleclass for Facilitators. Starts October 20th at
here for details.
to learn more
about our new Virtual University for Facilitators.
This week's article, "Spellbound," was inspired
by a strange email I received last week containing a
paragraph that appeared to be gibberish. In my unceasing
efforts to squeeze MFJ article ideas from my everyday
experiences, I found some interesting principles I could
glean from this email that I believe apply directly
to facilitating groups. Check it out and let me know
what you think.
also excited to announce the launch of our new MFJ blog!
For those of you not familiar with Blogs, they're like
web diaries where owners post regular content that visitors
can respond and comment on. They're similar to discussion
boards but a little more topic focused and directed
by the publisher. I plan to post to it several times
a week to share ideas for articles and facilitation
in general, and would love for you to visit and enter
a dialogue with me on these subjects. Your inputs will
help us improve the quality and relevance of this journal.
Read more below or click here to check it out: http://facilitatoru.blogs.com/mfj_topics.
visit. It gets lonely staring at this little box all
1) Our next "Appreciative Inquiry "
Teleclass starts October 7th and runs four consecutive
Tuesdays through October
28th, from 2:00-3:00 PM EDT.
Our next "Random Acts of Facilitation"
Teleclass runs for five consecutive weekdays from Monday,
October 20th through Friday, October 24th, from 8:00-9:00
We're running this one a little later in the day than
usual for our friends "down under" who don't
like the idea of getting up at 4:00 AM for a teleclass...who
can blame them! And for our east coast friends who would
rather not interrupt their workday.
on the relevant banners to the right for further info
and registration for these classes.
If any of you have had interesting experiences with
groups as either a
participant or as a facilitator, please tell us about
it. We may invite you to interview with us to highlight
your story as a case study for a future issue.
Thanks for your support!
the power of the container, context, and expectations.
received the following paragraph in an email the other
day. Please read it first, then we'll talk about it...
According to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it
deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are,
the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer
be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and
you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae
the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but
the wrod as a wlohe.
Interesting isn't it? What's it got to do with facilitation?
Good question. My commitment to write and publish useful
content on this subject every week is a strong inspiration
for me to look for connections anywhere and everywhere.
Fortunately, with everything in the universe ultimately
connected, you can always find them. Here's what I see.
The paragraph I ask you to read above has three striking
characteristics that I believe are connected to facilitation
and how groups function.
1) Each word in the paragraph is contained in a consensual
manner. By that I mean, the first and last letter
of each word are "correct." By correct, I mean
that each of us who can read the English language and
can spell, agree on the the proper characters that begin
and end each word. Without that agreement, the words would
2) The words form a coherent paragraph that define
a clear context. If the words were randomly joined
without conveying something that made sense, it would
become gibberish. Consider this sentence:
Wrod rset porbelm tihs taht iprmoetnt frist is ltteer
be the wouthit mses huamn bcuseae lteter.
This is a random selection of some of the same words
in the above paragraph that aren't arranged to convey
any meaning. Without the context of coherent speech, it's
far more difficult to decipher the meaning of the individual
3) We all experience life through filters. Declaring
expectations is like "tuning your filters" to
my particular station. In this case, I set up an expectation
that you might learn something from reading this paragraph.
If you were to have found it in your email without an
explanation in the midst of a seemingly normal message,
you might not have given it enough consideration to figure
out it's meaning.
me, the above exercise underscores three important elements
1) Build a consensual container. Defining and
agreeing upon which behaviors are "functional"
is "analogous to building a container" within
which your groups will function. This container is made
up largely of the groundrules and the external environment.
If the container is comprehensive, relevant, and supported
by the group, then they can pretty much do anything
inside of it without sacrificing the meaning they seek.
Just as the jumbled words in our paragraph still work
within their functional boundaries.
2) Define a clear and relevant context for your work.
If a group is clear about why they've come together,
what they're there to accomplish, and engage in processes
designed to get them what they want, then the "who,"
"what," and "how" of the group is
congruent. They form and reinforce the context for their
being together and will therefore present fewer barriers
to getting what they want.
Again, just as our gibberish words were understandable
when woven together into a cohesive paragraph with clear
meaning, connecting people with agreed upon objectives
and processes to get there will bring meaning and progress
to their work.
Clarify and agree upon group expectations. When
the early work in our groups entails exploration of
individual and collective expectations, we can chart
a much clearer course to realize them. Thus minimizing
the many tangents, disagreements, and general confusion
that often accompanies people working together toward
an "uncommon" goal.
Evoking and managing expectations can help people remove
blinders, barriers, and judgements, to better focus
on the work at hand. This makes everyone's work easier
and helps us chart a more direct course to our destination.
I hpoe you ejnyeod tihs atrclie!
can you do with your groups to better design their container,
context, and expectations? We'd
love to hear from you. Please email
us your comments.
New MFJ Blog
we just launched a new blog for MFJ. How exciting! It
will be especially exciting for me if I can get many
of you--my dear, bright readers--to come and get involved
with me in this new article-building brain trust.
I'm basically using this to put ideas out around prospective
MFJ articles before they're fully written and published
in the hopes of getting more perspectives and examples
from you, my readers. Using this approach, I hope to
improve the quality and relevance of what we publish.
here to have a look and make a comment or two!
Steve Davis is "The 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!
for facilitators and change agents.
skills and attitudes for the new and experienced
facilitator who wants to get their group into
Random Acts of Facilitation, 5-Day Teleclass
This class will meet for five consecutive weekdays
October 20-24, 2003 at 8:00 PM EDT (NY Time) to
cover 25+ discrete facilitative actions you can
take to empower and move groups forward. This course
is for facilitators at any level or group members
that simply want to know more about facilitation
so that they can make the groups they are a part
of more effective. Being discrete acts of facilitation,
they also lend themselves to being taught to your
group members who desire to become more self-facilitative.
the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days
(Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment
using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the 5 days
(about an hour a day of study and field work) which
you complete by Friday afternoon, or sooner if you
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues
on the subject matter with the instructor and your
classmates via an online listserve during the course.
4. During the week, you may access the instructor
via email for help or situational questions.
Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during
the 5-Day course...
Introduction to the
Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.
1. Set the Stage.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
5. Me First.
Relating with compassion
6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.
Dynamics and Facilitation
11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation
and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally,
17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message
Intervening to shift
22. Tame the Tormentors.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path
to you of participating from the 5-Day Random Acts
of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice
of facilitation skills if you are contemplating
becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member,
manager, mediator, etc.
2. Learn some "easy to remember," discrete
tools you can use to empower any group.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group
you come in contact with.
4. Learn to appreciate and use surprises by getting
comfortable dealing with the "unexpected"
in your groups.
5. Gain reinforcement for the facilitative work
you're already doing and learn some language and
theory to back it up.
6. Collaborate and learn from a community of your
peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.
with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above,
you also receive:
1. Free access to the participant-only website (lots
of resources, forms, etc.).
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day
3. Free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).
The full cost of training/access is only $79 for
MFJ readers ($89 for the general public) including
a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).
Everything you read about above is included. And,
we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.
October 20-24, 2003, 8:00-9:00 PM EDT (NY Time)
here to register. Immediately upon
completion of your registration, you will receive
an email with instructions to access the course
and free article bank.
This course is limited to 20 individuals, first
come, first served.
the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this
package, 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.)
here for a one-minute audio testimonial
from several participants on the final day of
you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look
for your next issue on September 30, 2003.
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