Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0198, April 5, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..

Dear friends,

No matter how long I've been facilitating, I always love to listen to or read what other facilitators view as the keys to or essence of their success with groups. I found just such a list a couple of months back by my colleague and fellow facilitator, Lynne Goldhammer. She complied a simple and concise lists of lessons learned while focusing intently on several facilitation projects over a six-month period. In this week's article,
"Facilitation Lessons Learned," she summarizes six basic points of effective facilitation inspired by lessons learned from her experiences in the field. We'd love to hear your lessons learned as well. Please send us any that are inspired by this article.

Also, check out one of our new 5-day teleclasses, "
The Business of Facilitation," offered with my business coach, Bev Lutz, which will offer a fresh look at building your business as a service professional in a way that acknowledges your life as integral to your business. If you're seeking a fresh look at the business side of facilitation or to make a new start, this class is for you. Please see details at the end of the article and take advantage of our early bird registration offer.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Facilitation Lessons Learned

Expert Tele-Seminars: Check out our growing collection of pre-recorded expert interviews.

New 5-Day Teleclass: The Business of Facilitation

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Live Teleclass
Starts April 25th

Click here for details

Self-Guided Version
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Self-Guided Version
Seven Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops.
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Self-Facilitation Skill

Facilitation Lessons Learned
It's the simple stuff that usually works the best.

The Point

Whether we're new facilitators or seasoned professionals who have been facilitating for years, it's always helpful to go back and review some of the basics. My colleague and fellow facilitator, Lynne Goldhammer has complied a simple and concise lists of lessons learned while focusing intently on several facilitation projects over a six-month period. Below she summarizes six basic points of effective facilitation inspired by lessons learned from her experiences in the field.


Keep agenda’s simple. One group consistently created very ambitious agenda’s with very specific times for beginning and ending each topic. This often resulted in folks rushing or dragging things out to stay on the time target.

Lesson Learned. Keep the agenda modest, with additional items in mind to expand upon if time permits. Provide the members a list or overview of the agenda, but don’t include the times. And, sometimes there is value in not having an agenda until you get with the group and ask them what they want to address or discuss that day.

Don’t be too quick to go into techniques. With one group we were very quick to jump into using specific techniques (brainstorming, multi-vote, SWOT). This brought out a lot of issues and concerns. But it didn’t necessarily help them identify or choose the biggest and most critical concerns. As a result, as we tried to move forward with what was chosen, the group wouldn’t move. They hadn’t really bought into the issues chosen because they weren't their biggest concerns. (i.e., world hunger seems more important to address than planting your own garden, but which are you more interested in addressing?)

Lesson Learned
. Begin with a conversation that allows participants to tell you their issues or concerns they are interested in addressing. This may be enough. If further tools are used, review those findings vs. the initial findings and see if they match up. If not, have more conversation regarding what concerns they truly wish to address.

Don’t prepare all questions in advance. One consulting group with 5 trainees and a senior consultant would get together before meeting with the client and develop each question they wished to ask.

Lesson Learned
. It’s fine to go into a meeting with some questions you want to ask. But be free enough to listen to the answers and tailor more questions as needed. Some preparation is helpful. Over preparing can bog things down with approaches and questions that may lack effectiveness and leave the facilitator afraid to think on the spot – a needed skill.

Start with simple questions. That same group would often be so over focused on creating just the right questions that the questions they created often became too complicated and complex – often asking more than one question within that one sentence.

Lesson Learned. Start simple. Build up based upon the responses. But always ask one question at a time or answers become muddled and responses get missed.

Keep the process/project as simple as possible. Most folks are too busy to take on huge projects. If it looks too big too soon it will become too overwhelming and hard to get folks to want to take on or to commit to.

Lesson Learned. If a project becomes large, prioritize the issues to be addressed. Keep it manageable. Address one thing at a time, then move on when the first is either completed, or far enough along that there is now time and resources available to focus on the next issue. If there is an adequate number of people more issues can be addressed at one time, but preferably a different group within the team or organization can address each issue.

Know when to use tools, and when not to. I recently facilitated a group utilizing just some questions and techniques to focus conversation, then moving on to “Dynamic Facilitation” to address a specific issue. When done I asked the group what went well and what could be improved upon. One member said, “I’m disappointed that we didn’t use Brainstorming, Multi-voting and Affinity Diagrams.” As I went to capture his input he yelled, “Just kidding! I hate that stuff – don’t do it!”

Lesson Learned. Specific facilitation tools can be effective when used at the right time and place. But no tool is an end all and be all. I utilize these tools more when a group is stuck, but I find I use them less and less all the time. I focus more on getting conversations going between people, ensuring everyone has a say, that no one monopolizes the conversation, that issues are captured, additional questions are asked to keep them focused or get the focus moving, etc. Kind of like a fireman: he needs a hose and an ax and training on how to use them, but there’s much more to his profession than hosing things down or chopping them up, so he needs to know where and when to apply those tools.

About the Author:
LCDR Lynn Goldhammer is on active duty in the U. S. Coast Guard as a Quality Performance Consultant where she performs process improvement, interpersonal conflict resolution, and executive coaching. She can be contacted at


Which of the tips above would you like to brush up on? Any to add that we've missed?
Please send us your comments.
Expert Tele-Seminars

One-Hour Micro-Skills Tele-Seminars

Check out our growing collection of pre-recorded, one-hour teleclasses with experts discussing key skill areas important to group workers. Each recording is available in either real-audio or CD format, comes with class notes, and several relevant bonuses. Click here for titles and details.

In the Spotlight

The Business of Facilitation

5-day Teleclass on the design, marketing, pricing, and relationships that comprise your facilitation business

An excellent opportunity for those seeking to go into business as a facilitator or would simply like to enhance your knowledge and balance in your existing business.

The Business of Facilitation, 5-Day Teleclass

This dynamic teleclass, led by Steve Davis and Bev Lutz, is for anyone who's thinking about starting a personal service business or who is already in business but would like some fresh perspectives and support to move it to the next level. This class will focus on keys to designing your business and marketing strategies, building relationships, and pricing facilitation services and outcomes in service to a balanced life.

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. You work through a learning guide during the 5 days, which accompanies the class as a resource.
3. You will have the opportunity to dialogue with the instructors and your classmates via an online list serve during the course to tap the wisdom of the community.
4. During the week, you may access the instructors via email for help.

5-Day Business of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Setting the context for your business

  • Class Overview
  • Anchoring your life in your work
  • Revisiting your values, vision, and purpose as a Facilitator
  • Clarifying our business goals
  • Developing support systems
  • Redefining Marketing
  • Creating your message

Building and maintaining your business pipeline

  • Marketing: forget plans, think daily action
  • The eight biggest mistakes Facilitators make trying to sell themselves
  • Three keys for successfully marketing Facilitation
  • Where are the customers: getting the work flowing
  • Who wants to talk to us: getting in the door
  • Now we're on stage: delivering the service
  • The parties over: following up and staying in touch
  • Strategies to get unstuck

Exploring the pricing equation

  • Pricing strategies
  • Eight tips on pricing facilitation services
  • Packaging possibilities
  • Value pricing alternative
  • Practicing the value conversation
  • Value pricing application

Having a life while making a living

  • What makes for Life Balance?
  • What are other facilitators doing?
  • How much business is enough for you?
  • What do you need to say yes to/no to?
  • Commitments, action planning, support network, requests

Getting what you give: business karma 101

  • How many “you’s” will it take?
  • The power of connection and community
  • Strategic Alliances
  • Asking for what you most need
  • Reviewing next steps

Benefits to you of participating in the 5-Day Training...
1. Refine how you talk about what you do so that it's easy, natural, and effective.
2. Anchor your marketing and pricing strategies in your life values/vision.
3. Explore pricing strategies and create a personal case study of value pricing in your practice.
4. Learn a simplified marketing process model and a prioritized approach to marketing strategies.
5. Create a personalized plan that takes advantage of the power of persistence and the laws of attraction.
6. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about building their biz.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:

1. Free Learning Guide, ($20 value) to reference and to anchor your learning and facilitate commitment to action.
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training ($69 value).
3. Free Articles and Resources ($25 value):

  • Benchmarks of Facilitator Success. Article by Cheryl Kartes that speaks to expanded definitions of success and includes summarized results of a survey conducted with 116 facilitators looking at their practices in terms of variables such as income, rates, leisure time, work hours, satisfaction, work/life balance, etc.
  • Business of Facilitation Survey. View the results of the survey mentioned above--116 facilitators answers to 15 questions about their business and lifestyle including 97 ideas they offered to improve their ratings.
  • Strategic Marketing For Professionals . This collection of five articles provides an overview of marketing for services professionals. These articles offer ideas that help you design the strategy for your business. Use them to lay a foundation for your marketing effort, to provide an infusion of ideas and energy, or to get a few new hints that will provide a big payoff.
  • Business Building Resource List. 25 books and websites for business building from an authentic perspective.

The full cost of training/access is only $89 including the free items (worth $104) listed above. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free bonuses above. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Early Registration Special: Sign up by 15 April for only $79!

April 25 - April 29, 2005, 10:00 AM PDT, 1:00 PM EDT (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.

Follow up Coaching Available

Please contact us if you're interested in follow up one-on-one or group coaching to help you stay in action on your plan. Free sample sessions available.

Your instructors

Bev Lutz
, MCC, MBA, CPCC is the cofounder of three businesses: The Legacy Center: preserving stories, values and meaning; The Lighthouse Group and Associates; and the new -- Two Heads are Better(tm) - helping bright people with just-in-time unsticking when their natural creativity is stuck. A Master Certified Coach, member of the International Association of Facilitators, the International Coach Federation, former steering committee member of the Minnesota Facilitators Network, and volunteer for the Peace Foundation, Bev also co-leads the Professional Development Team of the Minnesota Coaches Association. She's been privileged to co-facilitate sessions of The Business of Facilitation at four international conferences and several local showcases. And she's grateful for the wisdom and growth garnered from relationships with organizations such as Honeywell, the American Academy of Neurologists, Kroll/Ontrack, ACA International, numerous impassioned individuals, and four very wise cats.

Steve Davis, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator's Coach, Infopreneur, 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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