Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0195, March 15, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..

Dear friends,

I love to improvise. My most tangible experience of this is in playing my guitar with a band or group of fellow musicians. There are times when I feel I'm in a sea of infinite creativity from which I can express endlessly through my instrument. I sometimes feel this when I'm teaching as well. However, fears about performance, content, expectations of others, etc. often get in the way of my truly tapping into this power on a consistent basis. This week's article by my friend and colleague, Sue Walden, is entitled, "Simple Doesn't Always Mean Easy." This article addresses the simple yet powerful skills of improvisation that can be applied to facilitation, training, or any other area of our lives. It also discusses how we take some of the deceptively simple skills for granted and don't fully use them as often as we might. Consequently, we often cheat ourselves of the power they offer.

Sue has also agreed to lead our newest 5-day teleclass offering, "The Improvisational Facilitator." I'm thrilled to be offering this class where we'll present powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class will be very interactive and will use many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. I'm really looking forward to stepping through this process with you and hope to see many of you there. Please see details at the bottom of this issue.

Please join myself and Bill Bauman this Thursday, March 17th at 1:00 PM EST for another Expert Tele-Seminar next, "Facilitators' Secret Power." Details are included below after the article.

Finally, there's still room in another new 5-day teleclass entitled, "Intervene With Confidence" that starts March 28th. Our early registration discount ends today, March 15th. Join this class and learn effective models, strategies, and practices to intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, and protect group process. Click here for details.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Simple Doesn't Always Mean Easy

Expert Tele-Seminar: Facilitators' Secret Power: Three Hidden Levels of Facilitator Influence, with Bill Bauman

New 5-Day Teleclass: The Improvisational Facilitator

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Starts April 4th
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Starts March 28th
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MFJ Archives
190 articles and growing
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Intervention Skill

Simple Doesn't Always Mean Easy
A look at improvisation training's application to facilitation, training, and life

The Point

Over the last twenty years of facilitating groups, both in corporate settings and through public workshops, I am constantly awed by the simplicity, versatility, and fundamental nature of the basic skills of improvisation. Feedback from students and clients keeps reinforcing how many different parts of their lives they use these "improv" skills. Here are just a few.

Being in the Present. How to quiet all the mind-chatter and shut down the often non-supportive judgmental voice/s, allowing us to really listen as well as be totally focused on the here and now--a much more relaxed place to be.

Openness and Acceptance. An attitude of receptivity that allows for differences to co-exist peacefully. This gives us geometrically more options and demonstrates how we can be open and accepting without agreeing. Whew; now that's a tough one!

Awareness. How to take in more or shut out visual, auditory, or body level/kinesthetic information by choice.

Concentration and Focus. Building the muscle that supports us operating from awareness and choice.

Flexibility/Responsiveness. How to mentally turn on a dime. This is the simple secret to always having the appropriate response (eliminates a lot of unnecessary pre-planning/pre-thinking).

Give & Take. Working with a group of people in a way that values and makes room for everyone's contribution.

Thinking on your feet. Never being caught at a loss for words.

"Yes, and..." A process as well as an attitude that combines all of the above. It totally eliminates the negative implications of "mistakes" ("Post-its" are a contemporary example of a "Yes, and..." approach to a glue that didn't work--a failure, a mistake?), and makes everything a possibility. Besides, as my friend, Jim Bronson says: "There are no failures, only feedback."


Even before coming into a workshop, people KNOW about these skills and can even DO them--we really don't teach anything NEW! However, it is also true that we don't always behave consistently with what we know, even with what we know works. We more typically act, react, and respond out of habit or even fear--and THAT is what makes these very simple truths/skills NOT easy.

So, ImprovWorks' workshops and customized training sessions are really only serving as a reminder of how very important these skills are in both real-life and work situations, as well as an improvisational theater setting (which is often a metaphor for real-life anyway).

What improv training offers, are tools, techniques and a safe, accepting practice environment where people can experiment with strengthening these skills in a playful, encouraging, non-competitive way.

It's very curious that often people assume that the skills listed above are supposed to be EASY, just because they are so SIMPLE. Don't' forget: there are many simple things that you do currently, that you once viewed as complicated, multi-leveled and NOT EASY (ie. writing your name, riding a bike, typing, driving a car, speaking a foreign language); yet with commitment and practice they have become instantly and easily accessible--they have become easy and SIMPLE, for YOU. Maybe they are still not easy for someone else.

All of life is a learning lab. We are constantly taking the simple, breaking it down into its parts (making it more complex), learning/practicing each of the parts and then gradually re-combining the parts to create skill with the whole, the seemingly SIMPLE whole. This is the same process ImprovWorks' employs with the skills listed above. Using the skill of Awareness to step over our automatic habits, we move from SIMPLE & HARD to COMPLEX & MORE EASY to JUGGLING the EASIES (with lots of playful practice) to, finally, SIMPLE AND EASY.

About the Author. Sue Walden is the Founder and Director of ImprovWorks, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building Life Skills through Improvisation. Her experience includes a BA in Education and 26 years of teaching, performing and adapting and widely applying the techniques of improvisation. She approaches improv training as a powerful and joyful way to peel away constraints, restraints and inhibitions, allowing the naturally expressive, collaborative and creative self to emerge. Check out her new 5-day teleclass on this subject at the end of this issue.


How can you tap deeper into the basic skills of improv this week to further your life and work?
Please send us your comments.
Expert Tele-Seminar

Facilitators' Secret Power: Three Hidden Levels of Facilitator Influence...

Explore the hidden dynamics available to facilitators to get through” more powerfully to those whom you lead

Featuring Bill Bauman,
Trainer, Speaker, and Motivator

"Just in Time" Learning

Have you led groups, facilitated processes, and/or worked for organizational change … to find your goals only partially realized? “What,” you wonder, “is lacking? How can I improve the depth and quality of my work?” Maybe the improvement needs to be “an inside job” as well as an external, behavioral change. Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Bill Bauman, PhD and Steve Davis and learn to “get through” more powerfully to those whom you lead on Thursday, March 17th at 1:00 PM EST (NY Time). Some of the points we'll discuss are...

Why is it that, even when facilitators do all the theoretically right things, they sometimes don’t get the results they were after?
. Can you explain the three hidden areas of influence and how each of them affects group facilitation?
. Why do you think many of us are unaware of these underlying, hidden dynamics? After all, we’re all well-educated, aware, sensitive, talented professionals. Shouldn’t we know what’s going on in our energetic and subconscious interactions with others?
In your trainings and workshops with facilitators, what ways have you taught them to become more aware of their unconscious “stuff”? In short, how can we as facilitators become more conscious of these powerful internal energies, subconscious beliefs, and soul agreements?
Do you have any workshop techniques that have proven helpful to facilitators in this regard, that have helped them become more aware of their hidden power?
Let’s say that I’m a conscientious facilitator who is dedicated to removing any negative influences or barriers to my effectiveness with my clients. What can I do to remove unwanted or unhelpful “vibes” or subconscious beliefs that I’m giving out to others? How can I “fix” it?
If a facilitator is on the front lines—actively engaged in a group process—and recognizes that some of his or her “inner stuff” is activated and probably drawing resistance, what can he or she do at that moment to change that situation?
We’ve been focusing a fair amount of the “negative” impact of our deeper dynamics. Talk a bit, if you will, about the “positive” side of our hidden influences on others. What happens when my healthy internal energies and thoughts go out to others?
How have you personally come to know these deeper levels of influence and interaction? Share with us somewhat your own path toward this awareness.
If you were going to leave us with a final, perhaps hopeful, thought or recommendation about this hidden power we have as facilitators, what would that be?
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.

Plus Three Free Bonuses!

1. Recorded interview with the legendary Ken Wilbur. In this one-hour interview by Anna Dargitz, Ken discuss the Five "Being" Proficiencies that support advanced communicating and relating skills.

2. Seven Tips for Improving Your Intuition.
This 1-page pdf document lists seven simple things you can do to keep your intuition open, alive, and functioning.

3. Maintaining Open Intuition: A Checklist for the Future. This 2-page pdf document provides helpful reminders about how to keep your intuition working when you become periodically distracted by the chaos of the world.

Click here for details and registration information.

In the Spotlight

The Improvisational Facilitator

5-day Teleclass on the use of improv techniques to enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills

Learning improv techniques to become a more effective facilitator and group leader

The Improvisational Facilitator, 5-Day Teleclass

This dynamic teleclass, led by master trainer, Sue Walden, is for anyone who facilitates, manages, teaches, mediates, coaches, counsels, directs any group. This highly interactive course provides an experiential approach using very novel exercises to help you build the skills to create an environment for participation; one that encourages openness and risk-taking for you and groups.

How 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. During each class we will all leave the bridge line for short 8-12 minute periods to give you the opportunity to engage in short exercises with a partner to practice and deepen your skills.
3. You work through a learning guide during the 5 days which accompanies the class as a resource.
4. 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.
5. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

5-Day Improvisational Facilitator Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Being present to your natural creativity

  • Overview
  • Introducing the Parking Lot
  • Awareness experience
  • What is your default facilitation skill set?
  • Improv Core Skills that support facilitation
  • Exploring 1st Core Skill: Present Time
  • The "Voice Mirror," a simple and powerful listening tool
  • Facilitation Applications

Building the "muscle" that encourages participation

  • Check in on practice assignment
  • Explore 2nd Core Skill: Openness
  • Experiencing the look and feel of openness
  • Building the openness “muscle”
  • The "Yes and..." approach
  • Facilitation Applications

Making flexibility a way of being

  • Check in about practice assignment
  • Explore 3rd Core Skill: Flexibility
  • Combining Being Present and Open to become more flexible
  • Identify unexpected challenges in facilitating
  • Building the options and possibilities “muscle”
  • Facilitation Applications

Witnessing the magic

  • Check in about practice assignment
  • Introduce “The Observer”
  • Apply Core Skills to self
  • Getting present with self
  • Quiet the inner critic
  • Think on your feet
  • Be aware of your language
  • Facilitation Applications

Further applications and applied Improv

  • Check in about practice assignment
  • Explore other applications of Improv Core Skills
  • Emptying the Parking Lot
  • Q & A with the Applied Improv Process

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day
Improv Training...

1. Get a lot more comfortable being "in the moment" with your groups..
2. Learn simple strategies that will help you to be more open and flexible to the specific and dynamic needs of your groups.
3. Come to enjoy dealing with the "unexpected" in your groups.
4. Gain tools that will help you relax and have a lot more fun with your groups.
5. Discover reservoirs of creativity within you that you didn't know existed.
6. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about empowering groups.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Free Learning Guide, ($20 value) to help you drill down deep and master the art of improv for use in facilitation and group work.
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training ($69 value).
3. Free pre-recorded one-hour real audio teleclass, "The Art of Improv in Facilitation, featuring Izzy Gesell, who discusses the use of humor and improvisational theater techniques as facilitation tools.($20 value).
4. Articles and resources around using Improv in leadership and facilitation:
- Collection of humor and improv resources.
__- The Six Paradoxes of Improv. Six paradoxes that will help free you to be a better facilitator
____and trainer.

The full cost of training/access is only $89 including the free items ( worth $109) listed above. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

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.

Early Registration Special: Sign up by 22 March for only $79!

April 4 - April 8, 2005, 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time), 60 minutes each day.

Please click here to register.

One-Day Live Version

Interested in a one-day "live" version of this class offered to your group? Email us to discuss options.

Your instructors

Sue Walden. Sue Walden is the Founder and Director of ImprovWorks, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building Life Skills through Improvisation. Her experience includes a BA in Education and 26 years of teaching, performing and adapting and widely applying the techniques of improvisation. She approaches improv training as a powerful and joyful way to peel away constraints, restraints and inhibitions, allowing the naturally expressive, collaborative and creative self to emerge.

Sue is a skilled teacher in ImprovWorks' public workshop program, a dynamic corporate facilitator, an engaging speaker, an author (Working with Groups to Enhance Relationships, Whole Person Assoc.), the delightful "Playmeister" of both the public and corporate Recess! programs, the director and a regular performer with San Francisco's longest-running improvisational theater company, "Flash Family". She has been a member of the Specialty Staff for the year-long Co-Active Leadership Program since its inception eight years ago.

Her current passion is training trainers and consulting on how to design powerful experiential workshops. Sue promises that, in any of her programs, while the learning may be challenging, it will also be fun!

Steve Davis. Steve Davis, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator's Coach, Infoprenuer, and free-lance human, helping facilitators, organizational leaders, educators, trainers, coaches and consultants present themselves confidently, access their creativity, empower their under-performing groups, enhance their facilitation skills, and build their business online and offline.

Steve spends most of his time building and running He also publishes a weekly ezine for facilitators called, the Master Facilitator Journal, continues to write ebooks, design teleclasses, and maintain a part-time coaching practice. His breadth of experience spans business, corporate management, engineering, teaching, spiritual psychology, and wellness, offering a pragmatic yet creative coaching foundation. To learn more about Steve, visit his website at

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. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.

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