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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0128 | November 25, 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, "Assimilation vs. Accumulation," was inspired and informed by my close friend and coach, Rob Berkley. Rob has helped me see the value in balancing the act of "going for more" with the practice of fully assimilating existing information, experiences, and relationships. This article explores
the challenges we all face in dealing with an overabundance of material and information. It also proposes some strategies for accumulating less and assimilating more. We hope you find this concept applicable, particular during this week where those of us in the US are celebrating gratitude for what we have.

FacilitatorU News

In an effort to minimize FacilitatorU.com news in this ezine, I'm starting a new publication called "FacilitatorU.com News" to keep interested readers apprised of developments, new classes, tools, resources, ideas, etc. at FacilitatorU. Please click here and send a blank email to subscribe. The "News" will go out no more an once per week.

1. The Learning Facilitator Teleclass. We are also happy to announce the development of our new Learning Facilitator teleclass. This class will help teachers and trainers develop and nurture "learning environments" for their students. Please see full details at the end of this issue.

. Teleclasses. Please click here to view our schedule of teleclasses offered at FacilitatorU.com.

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, and to my US readers, a great Thanksgiving as well!
Steve Davis


Relating Skill

Assimilation vs. Accumulation
The practice of getting full nourishment from everything in your life.

The Point

Western culture has reached a level of material wealth greater than at any time in history. We include in this material wealth, wealth of information as well. Currently, at the pinnacle of our ability to manipulate our environment and produce all the things we need, and many that we don't, it's entirely possibly that many of our ills are arising as a result of our inability to handle this incredible glut of input, in all of its forms.

Prior to the recent age, when resources and information were scarce and hard to come by, we would never think of turning either of these away. The arrival of this incredible abundance is relatively recent, in the past 50 years or so, with the refinement of industry and the emergence of the information age and the Internet. It has come upon us so quickly that many of us haven't learned or prepared ourselves to handle this new level of abundance. If indeed it is possible to adapt and prepare ourselves for the onslaught at all.

We haven't asked ourselves the questions, "How much is enough?" "What do I value over everything else?" We just cannot say "no" to available "things" and information that meet our fancy. And, in some ways, we crave each new thing with the hope that it will somehow set us free. Consequently, we are literally dying from over consumption in one form or another.

More than half the US population is now considered "obese," while people are starving for renewal of "spirit" and "soul" in their lives and work. People are busier, have less time, and often feel overwhelmed, surrounded by "too much stuff" and stressed out under the growing burden of "too much information."


How do we cope with the temptation to consume ourselves into oblivion? Our proposal is simple. We suggest two things. First, that you begin replacing the habit of "accumulating" with the practice of "assimilating." And second, that you make sure what you ingest in any form is of the highest quality possible. Let's first quickly define these words:

Accumulate: To heap up in a mass; to pile up; to increase; to collect or bring together; to amass; as, to accumulate a sum of money.

Assimilate: To appropriate and transform or incorporate into the substance of the assimilating body; to absorb or appropriate, as nourishment; as food is assimilated and converted into organic tissue.

Proper assimilation and digestion of food, experience, and information will allow us to extract its full benefit and put it to good use. Whereas overstuffing ourselves, in any of these arenas will cause a buildup of unsightly fat, waste, stress, toxicity, confusion, unease, often fueling an unconscious compulsion for more. All of us know how much better we feel when we push ourselves away from the table before we're full, and the satisfied feeling we get when we give ourselves a little time for our systems to "assimilate" what we've taken in. (Hey...this is turning out to be a very appropriate Thanksgiving issue!)

Unconscious compulsions for "more input" seldom satisfy our true needs. Nor will having piles of unread books and magazines ringing our desks reduce the nagging sense that there is some piece of information that will really change everything for us.

Satisfaction comes from fully digesting and extracting the fine nutrients from what we already have, and making choices for new input based on our true values and passions, not our casual likes and vague interests.

Saying yes to only what most serves our needs and resonates with our deepest sense of self, and our chosen mission will go a long way to lessen the burden. So will focusing on what is important to ours and not someone else's sense of self.

How to Facilitate Assimilation

- Of Information. We often spend a great deal of time looking for that special piece of information or that magical answer to our current problem when more often than not, the answer we seek is right in front of us.

But unless we slow down to see, hear, and process what's already in our world, we may miss these gifts. In your groups, model this by inviting your participants to assimilate fully the meaning and consequences of every activity.

As a facilitator, observe closely and resist the desire to pile on just "one more" experience to make sure your groups get their money's worth. Make sure that the desired outcomes of each activity and experience are evident to you and the participants before moving on. And, if you dare, stop before you are faced with a sea of bobbing heads with glazed eyes trying to take that one more step together.

If they seem to need additional information, help them clarify their specific requirements adding just enough to be complete.

- Of Relationships. We rush around so often focused on "getting stuff done" that we sometimes neglect our most precious resources--our friends, associates, coworkers, and family. The benefits in good will, emotional support, new connections and ideas, very often offset the time spent cultivating and maintaining these existing relationships.

- Of Customers. Balance your expenditure of energy on seeking new customers with efforts to deepen and enrich your relationships with existing customers. It takes a whole lot less effort to cultivate these existing relationships where some trust already exists. Share your gratitude for them being in your life, appreciate their trust in you, and seek to deeply understand and respond to their needs.

Become so familiar with their situation that you can act as a trusted advisor and in turn help them assimilate the tidal wave of information bearing down on them as well.

- Of Ideas. If you're anything like us, you're a life long student of personal growth and have hundreds of books on your bookshelves. Just imagine what might happen if instead of picking up yet another new title to read, you were to study the principles from just one chapter of a favorite you've already read and actually apply them for the next 30 days? This, my friends, is called assimilation.

Create a learning plan with specific goals for the next six months. Include both informational and learning goals into this plan. And, only include that which you know you can assimilate with minimum effort so that you have time to really make the information a part of your very being instead of just being a walking index pointing people to this book or that website.

- Of Food. During at least one meal this week...you may even want to experiment with the (big) one this Thursday, try eating slower than usual. Chew your food just a little bit longer. When you're talking or listening to someone, stop eating. Take time to really assimilate your food and experience with family. Try just doing one thing at a time. Enjoy the rainbow of flavors and textures, each bite a miniature world of experience.

- Of Experience. We're all tempted to accelerate our pace of life to match that of our increasingly frenetic culture. But this is a personal choice. Most of the time, we can choose to slow down and carefully select our inputs, experiences, and the speed at which we subject ourselves to them.

There are ways to help make this choice easier. Commit to a practice of "being fully present" for a few minutes each day. Use whatever method appeals to you. Some choices are meditation, yoga, quiet walks, prayer, tai chi, marshal arts, sitting alone quietly, journaling, etc. Or just look out the window with all of your senses. Focus on what is before you and allow it to really enter your being.

These kinds of practices are more and more important as the world accelerates around you. They give our inner selves time catch up with, reconnect with, and properly assimilate with our outer experience.

Now go forth and assimilate!


Pick at least one area of your life, possibly one of those we discuss above, and think about how you can improve your assimilation in that area. We'd love to hear what you come up with. Please email us your comments.

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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

The Learning Facilitator Teleclass

This course will explore how to make the leap from conventional teaching to the skills, attitudes, and practices necessary to create and facilitate a learning environment.

How the 4-Day Format/Training works...

1. You dial into your class every day for 4 days (Mon-Thurs) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a learning guide during the course (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Thursday, or sooner if you wish.
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.

Training Agenda...

Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this course...

Exploring the Landscape of Learning

- What is "Learning?" Who Learns? Who teaches?
- Review distinctions between Teaching, Training, Mentoring, Coaching, and Facilitating
- The Content/Process Paradox
- The medium is the message.

Changing the Paradigm
- Shift from Director to Guide
- "Ability to do" vs. Info delivery
- Students remember their experiences far more than information
- Operating in Full-Duplex: Courting student interest and passion.
- Shifts for students and for teachers
- Relating to shifts in worldviews
- Lessons learned from online communities
- From curriculum development to needs assessment

Becoming a Learning Facilitator
- Characteristics
- Core Values
- Inner Shifts Required
- Methods
- Tools and Tactics

Learning Models
- Temperaments
- VAK Attack
- Learning Cycle
- Multiple Intelligences
- Habit Model
- Instruction Events
- The Art of the Question
- Open Space Technology

Benefits from participating in the training...

- Enhance your love of teaching and training
- Learn new ways to get your students excited about learning again.
- Review 7 different models of teaching and learning.
- Learn to package your material in a way that better relates to your students.
- Learn to connect with your students in a way that's rewarding for you both
- Become a better listener and communicator.
- Release the burden of trying to "make" learning happen in your classroom.
- Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.


This is the first run of this class and will be somewhat of an R&D nature, meaning that we may be experimenting with new ideas and approaches and will be looking for you to be involved in its creation. Therefore, the cost of this training is discounted from our standard fee of $89 to $49. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

This class begins December 8, 2003 from 1:00-2:00PM EST. It will meet daily for 60 minutes from Monday through Thursday, the 11th. Because this is an R&D class, it's possible that we will have an optional meeting on Friday as well depending on our progress and student interests.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
- Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
- Free access to the RealAudio version of the training.

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.

Click here to Register

100% Money-Back 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.)


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on December 2, 2003.


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