Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0145 | March 23, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

My friend and colleague, Susan Wilson is a master at meeting facilitation, among other things. This week's article, "We've Got to Start Meeting Like This," offers an example of the powerful, creative, yet simple strategies she uses and teaches to help keep groups moving and on course. We also provided information on her latest book,
Gourmet Meetings on a Microwave Schedule below in the resource section. This is an easy read with great strategies that will "stick to your ribs" so to speak, helping you to improve how you conduct meetings and work with groups.

Also, I'm excited to invite you to our next one-hour tele-seminar with Susan Wilson:."Present, But Not Accounted For. During this one-hour tele-seminar, we'll talk about some of the most challenging aspects of facilitating groups, such as managing commitment, dealing with difficult people and situations, and optimizing participation. Note that we offer recordings and notes, together with several nice bonuses that will offer you nearly the same value as if you were there. Please see details below.

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please email them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis

Facilitator News

Interested in joining our Facilitation Blog? Share ideas, questions, and advice on group facilitation with your peers. If you'd like to join, please click here view and subscribe to updates.

Next Learning Facilitator Teleclass. Please see details at the end of this issue. Also, click here to view our schedule of teleclasses or click here to view our other resources offered at

New Master Worker Ebooklet.
Check out this ebooklet and bonuses that address the foundational skills or "core competencies" that enable one to excel in the 21st century workplace. Click here for details
. Facilitator Profiles ebook is in progress. If you're interested in being featured in this book, please send us a blank email to receive details.

Group Awareness and Management Skill
Weíve Got To Start Meeting Like This
The Point

Hereís a riddle to consider before you read any further. What is often boring, too long, lacking participation and expensive?

According to a multitude of clients, the answer is...(the envelope please)...meetings!

Repeatedly, clients bemoan the lack of value in meetings. In a business climate that seeks to add value to nearly everything that is done, meetings are prime targets for evaluation. Consider this. If you are in a meeting of ten people where salaries range from $50,000- $150,000, the average expense of a one hour and eighteen minute meeting (after all, how many meetings actually stay within their one hour designated time frame?) is about $691.00. Most of us agree that, for the money, we would rather have an investment with a real value of return. There are an array of strategies for improving the effectiveness of and enthusiasm for meetings. Getting focused participation from those whose contribution is valuable will reap the rate of return that you desire. If you use the strategies outlined here in your next meetings, improved results are guaranteed.


1. Find ways to position the need for contribution. Here are ideas to do this. When sending information about a meeting, reference that participants need to come prepared to contribute. If useful, even take a few moments to call or e-mail notes that let specific people know that you are counting on their input on particular issues.

2. When opening the meeting, establish guidelines for its success that include the need for participation and how participation is honored. The subtlety of this is recognized and appreciated by your attendees. For example, I often remind participants of the need to honor the time and energy dedicated to the meeting by the following: Start/end on time, Contribute proactively, Confront issues honestly, but respectfully, and Listen with care. We then hold each other accountable and even reward participation (my first choice is with chocolate!) In the hundreds of meetings Iíve facilitated, there has rarely been a miss on great participation when guidelines acceptable to the group are used.

3. Let participants know at the beginning of your meeting that you will ask questions during the meeting. Reduce potential discomfort by saying, "I may call on you, but if you prefer not to respond, just call on someone else." Then responding or calling on someone else becomes their choice.

4. When confusion or misunderstanding occurs in the group, "own" it as yours. Regardless of why something gets misunderstood, take responsibility for it by saying something like, "I donít think I was clear enough on that. What questions do you have?" or "I think one of you could help restate that point better than I did. Jody, would you take a shot at that?" or "What did I just do to cause misunderstanding?" By owning the mistake, we reduce potential defensiveness in others, and direct their energy to helping resolve the confusion.

5. Just as a professional speaker "plants questions" in an audience for the Q and A segment at times, you might consider "planting responses." But what I mean by that is to let specific people know ahead of time that you will be calling on them for their response to particular issues. You are not telling them what to say, you are just ensuring that there are participants who will contribute.

6. When asking a question of a group, give enough of a pause to let people think. Too often, we ask a question, and then get nervous with the subsequent silence. Stop, breathe, and allow your participants to think. Iíve even found it useful to sit down if Iím standing or relax more in my chair if Iím already sitting after asking a question. Itís a visual cue to participants that I really do want to hear from them. Invite the silence to work for you.

7. Affirm people for their contributions right after they occur. Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated. A simple, but sincere "thank you" goes a long way to raising the probability that participants will contribute again...and again. At the end of a meeting, take a moment to express appreciation for contributions and what they meant to the results of the meeting.

Once again, as we consider these ideas, it is obvious that they are simple to understand. The much more difficult issue is to make habits of these good and simple ideas. Read on for one more reminder of the need to take action.

There is a short math problem that goes like this: Three frogs were sitting on a lily pad. One decided to jump. How many were left?

Ready for the answer? Three. One frog decided to jump; he didnít actually make the leap. And our challenge is the same-- to take the leap from the decision to the action. Take the actions that raise participation in your meetings whether you are the leader or in a ring-side seat. Youíll be a major part of turning an expense into a valuable investment.

About the Author. Susan B. Wilson, MBA, CSP is the owner and lead facilitator of Executive Strategies, Inc., a firm that specializes in providing specific creative strategies that motivate people to accomplish extraordinary goals. She is also the president of Fast Team Solutions, providing valuable products and resources for teams in the areas of meetings management, team building, facilitation, strategic planning, and conflict resolution. Visit or call Deanne at (641) 792-2041 for more information.


Pick a tip above and try it out this week in one of your group meetings. Please
email us to tell us how it worked for you.
Facilitation Expert Series

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar: "Present, But Not Accounted For," featuring Susan Wilson, Facilitator, Speaker, Author and Founder of Executive Strategies, Inc.

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Susan Wilson and Steve Davis and learn...Specific Strategies to Build Curiosity, Commitment and Collaboration. Some of the points we discuss are...

How do you deal with the participant who have all the answers?
How do you handle participants who continue side conversations and disrupt the flow?
How do you deal with group members who don't believe in the team process, but who remain on the team?
How do you shift a group who's settled for the status quo and just tell you, "Well that's just the way things are," or "That's just the way he is"?
How do you handle group members who sabotage the good work done by others through bad mouthing and other negative behaviors?
What do you do with team members who don't prepare before meetings?
How do you assure that participants take away something of value from each meeting?
How do you handle participants with personal and/or political agendas who have no intention of shifting their ground for the greater good of the group?
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.

Four Free Bonuses!

1.GOMO® Audit. Get Over it and Move On (GOMO) is a proven 5-step system for acknowledging the issues that create obstacles in our lives…and for overcoming them!

2. Great Meeting Quiz. Do your meetings leave you fully satisfied or are you starving for results? Offer this brief quiz to your clients to help them discover the changes that need to be made to make their meetings more appetizing (and effective)!

3. Random Acts of Facilitation Wallet Card. This handy little tidbit is the size of a business card and lists 25 Random Acts of Facilitation anyone can commit to further the results of a group. Great little resource to have handy at meetings.

4. Icebreakers. Three nice icebreakers exercises with a dozen or so variations that can be used to start a variety of meetings.

Click here to access this interview and bonuses..


Gourmet Meetings on a Microwave Schedule, by Susan B. Wilson, Deanne R. Herr

Gourmet Meetings on a Microwave Schedule is A Feast of more than 150 Smart Meeting Strategies Guaranteed to Save You Time,Energy & Lotsa Dough! Whether in the name of volunteer duty or in the workplace, the great majority of us are required to attend meetings. And most of us believe that meeting time is often wasted time. Fortunately, you don't have to leave your next meeting with a bad taste in your mouth...and you don't have to slave all day to cook up a meeting that is both profitable and enjoyable. Gourmet Meetings on a Microwave Schedule is written with your busy schedule in mind. The 28 short, easy-to-read chapters are packed with more than 150 timeless strategies and brand-new ideas for immediately improving the effectiveness of, and enthusiasm for, your meetings.

In the Spotlight

Quit Teaching...Inspire Learning
-- Become a Learning Facilitator --
Learn strategies, tools, and techniques to make the shift from Teaching to "Learning Facilitation."

Join us for this 5-day experiential TeleClass with founder Steve Davis.

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

I became inspired and awakened to a new possibility. Itís a possibility that instead of being a teacher, I discovered that I am very passionate about facilitating learning. This is what I am fundamentally all about, and I was turned on by the conversation, the facilitation, the tools and the community of learners who were present. -- Annie Hammond, Business Coach

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...

1. You dial into your class via a telephone bridge line for five consecutive weekdays, April 12-16, at 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a telephone conferencing bridge.
2. You work through a 50-page learning guide during the course (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday, 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

Changing the Paradigm
- Shift from Director to Guide
- "Ability to do" vs. Info delivery
- Shifts for students and for teachers
- Relating to shifts in worldviews
- 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
- Brain-Based Learning
- Communities of Practice
- KOLB Learning Cycle
- Instructional 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.
- 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 your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.


The cost of this training is $89. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. MFJ readers who register by March 31st can register for $79.


April 12-16, at 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time)

Also included with your training...

In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
- Content rich 50-page Student Learning Guide
- Free access to the participant-only website
- Free access to the RealAudio version of the training.

This teleclass held my attention, kept me thinking, and gave me inspiring ideas and tools
that I look forward to using in my next workshop.

--Sherry Leblanc, Executive Life Coach--


Just click on the link below to register and you'll Immediately receive an email with instructions to access the course along with a 50-page learning guide. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served. If you have any questions about this course, please don't hesitate to email us.

Please click here to register by 31 March
for discounted fee of $79.

Self-Guided 5-Day Real Audio Version
If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. You'll be provided with access to recorded offerings of the five-hour teleclass (5 hours total) that you can listen to online and follow along in the learning guide is used in the live class.


Please click here
to purchase for $69.

Self-Guided 5-Day CD Version
The Compact Disk (CD) version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with 5 CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen to anywhere you have access to a CD player.


Please click here
to purchase for $79 plus
$4 Shipping and Handling

Interested in training for your whole group?

Just email or call 805-489-4130 and we'll customize a program for your staff or workgroup.

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.)

©2001-2017. Powered by, Madison, WI.. All Rights Reserved.