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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0121 | October 7, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers

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picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.From the Publisher: 

Dear friends,

This week's article explores things you can do to start facilitating your group before you actually meet. We explore the use of media ranging from books, articles, movies, plays, listserves, and music.

Upcoming Teleclasses:

We have changed the schedule and format for our next "Random Acts of Facilitation" Teleclass. We will be running a 90-min. class once per week for 4 weeks starting Wednesday, October 22th through Wednesday, November 12th, from 7:00-8:30 PM EDT. Please see details below.

Ask Campaign

We've had a pretty good response to our "Ask Campaign" last week with several people getting answers that helped them. So feel free to give it a try yourself. What's the single most important question you have about facilitation? Click here to just aks and we'll do our best to reply with some helpful comments. Thanks for playing!

If any of you have had interesting experiences with groups as either
a participant or as a facilitator, please tell us about it. We are always on the lookout for great case studies and techniques that will benefit everyone for our future issues.

Thanks for your support!
Steve Davis


Logistics Skill

Setting the Stage for Inspired Workshops
Start facilitating your group before you meet.

The Point

I'm sure many of you have had the experience of an inner shift beginning once you've committed to some important future action. This might be enrolling in a spiritual retreat, an intensive personal growth program, a graduate program, a commitment to counseling or coaching, etc.

This is testament to the fact that whatever we put our attention on grows. When we begin to pay special attention to, be "witness" to our own self-awareness, skills, attitudes, or behaviors, we tend to begin adjusting them to be more aligned with our desires. And, our capacity for change and development around the point of focus intensifies.

I find that there are some relatively easy things we can do with our groups before we actually meet with them. These activities can be as simple as suggesting ways for particpants to begin to shift their attention in the direction of the work they're about to do with their upcoming workshop. We've included some ideas below you might like to consider when setting the stage for your future groups.



1. Suggest certain books or articles to read. Send these suggestions to participants before the workshop giving them enough time to read and digest them. Include short articles, summaries, or key points for those who might not have time to read a lot before hand. You may also pose a couple of questions for them to consider as they reflect on their reading in service to your work together.

2. Create a set of sequential questions, that build upon each other, to evoke thinking about the topic. Send them to the participants using a sequential autoresponder. Either collect the answers and use them as part of the meeting documentation or just pose them as a way to stimulate thinking in preparation for your workshop.

Suggest listening to musical selections. Consider the emotional tone that certain musical pieces might elicit to align participants with the theme of your work together. These pieces can be reused in your workshop to recall and reinforce this tone while you're engaged in the work. Here's a site that offers a good overview of how to use various musical styles in presentations.

4. Suggest viewing a movie or a segment of a movie. Movies can have a powerful impact on us. Imagine assigning movies for participants to watch prior to coming to your workshop. For example, think about the movie, "Mission," and how it spoke to man's ability to creating a sense of purpose and how to forgive one's self. Consider the barn raising scene from "Witness" in support of team-building. Or think about how "Phenomenon" made you feel about what human's are capable of.

5. Prepare your group with a fresh, provocative and inspiring performance work. A close friend of mine and true Master Facilitator, Debbie Phillips, is leading a workshop called, "Igniting The Possibilities Within You" in New York City later this month. In preparation for this workshop she is hosting, the night before, a private performance of a fabulous play called "Women On Fire" by playwright Irene O'Garden.

By doing this, Debbie will have rich context to draw upon with the group the next day. If you live in or around the New York City area Debbie has extended a personal invitation to MFJ readers. Click here if you would like to learn more about this program. If this is anything like Debbie's other programs this should be a great experience!

6. Use technology to begin community building. In many of my classes, I begin to get people engaged about a week before the class starts. I subscribe everyone to a class listserve and invite introductions, query people about what they want out of the class, and inspire interaction so that people get a sense of each other before the official start of the class. This really seems to give the group a headstart in breaking the ice, and gives me a head start in getting to know them and tailoring the class to their needs.

7. Have a series of specific pre-meetings to prepare the group for the main event. These meetings can focus on preparing the group for one specific aspect of the larger overall meeting. For example, you and your participants might find it very useful to know and understand their Myers-Briggs Types prior to engaging in deeper work with the group.

8. Hold pre-event interviews with the participants. By asking the participants specific and probing questions around the meeting subjects, the facilitator can begin stimulating thinking about topics to be covered. This is also a powerful tool for discovering where the group happens to be around the topics to be covered.

Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are free to do so providing you follow these guidelines.


What could you do to more effectively "set the stage" for your future workshops? We'd love to hear from you. Please email us your comments.

Reader Survey

New FacilitatorU.com Teleclass Survey

We've got lots of interesting ideas for new teleclass here at FacilitatorU, but before we charge off to design them, we thought it would be smart to ask you what you're most interested in learning.
Please complete this quick online survey so that we can better build classes to support your unique needs. It's a quick one. You'll be done in just a couple of minutes. And, if you complete the survey, we'll give you instructions to download a Free, two-sided wallet-sized card containing the "Random Acts of Facilitation." Great little reference for your work with groups!

Click here to launch the survey now. Thanks for your help!

What's New?
MFJ "Ask" Campaign

We're trying something new here at MFJ in our efforts to tune into what our readers are up to and what they need to support their facilitation work.

What's the single most important question you have about facilitation?
We'll do our best to reply with some helpful comments. Thanks for playing!

Your Name
Email Address
My single most important questions is...


About the Publisher
Steve Davis helps facilitators, coaches, consultants and leaders who are struggling to
present themselves confidently, empower their groups, enhance their facilitation skills,
and build their businesses on and off line. 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. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. If you'd like to reprint this article in another publication, you are free to do so providing you follow the guidelines here. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight

Teleclassfor facilitators and change agents.

Discrete skills and attitudes for the new and experienced facilitator who wants to get their group into serious motion.

Random Acts of Facilitation Teleclass

This class will meet for four consecutive Wednesday's, October 22nd through November 12th, 2003 at 7:00-8:30 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.

How the Training works...
1. You dial into your class every Wednesday from October 22nd through November 12th for a 90-minute focused training segment using a telephone conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the course (about an hour a week of study and field work).
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 course...

Class 1
Introduction to the Facilitation,Self Facilitation and Relating Skills.

1. Set the Stage.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.
6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.

Class 2
Relating and Group Dynamics

8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.
11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.

Class 3
Group Dynamics, Organizing and Presenting yourself

14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation
17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Be your message

Class 4
Intervening to shift group energy

21. Tame the Tormentors.
22. CareFront.
23. Use the Struggle.
24. Break through barriers.
25. Facilitate from Within.

Benefits to you of participating from the 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.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 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 training.
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 22-November 12, 2003, 7:00-8:30 PM EDT (NY Time)

Please click 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.

About 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.)

Real Audio Testimonials
Click here for a one-minute audio testimonial from several participants on the final day of the teleclass.


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on October 14, 2003.


Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved