Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0206, May 31, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..

Dear friends,

Sitting here on Memorial Day contemplating what to present to you this week, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the importance of managing and maintaining group memory as a facilitator. One of the most valuable gifts a facilitator gives his/her group is a running record, in real time, of all the important contributions and decisions the group makes for all to see. Given that the average human memory can only recall 6 or 7 things at any given time, keeping a visible written record of what is said in a group is an enormous benefit to its progress. In this week's article, "Manage Group Memory," we look at what constitutes group memory, why is it important to maintain, and how to effectively manage it in your groups.

Due to the great reception we received on "The Improvisational Facilitator" teleclass, we've scheduled two additional sessions of this class in June. One in a five-day format and the other in a 4-week format. This class presents powerful, practical improv techniques that are actually inner attitudes and practices that you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class is very interactive and uses 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 and register by today, May 31st to take advantage of our early registration discount.

If you are involved or plan to be involved facilitating or managing virtual teams, you'll want to attend our upcoming 5-day teleclass starting June 13th called
Managing People You Rarely See. This teleclass will be of interest to facilitators and leaders working with virtual groups. Click here to check out the details on this class, and if you're interested, register now to take advantage of our early registration discount by May 20th.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Manage Group Memory

5-Day Teleclass: The Improvisational Facilitator

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Starts June 13th
Click here for details

Starts June 6th
Click here for details

Self-Guided Version
Click here for details

Self-Facilitation Skill

Manage Group Memory
 Maintaining accurate group memory is essential for effective group work.

The Point

Group memory is the ongoing record of the work of a group recorded on flip charts or some other recording media, made visible to all participants, and later transcribed to serve as an ongoing record for the group. This approach differs from individual meetings notes often taken in typical meetings where selective memory and an individual focus miss the benefits of an established "shared" group memory.

What are the benefits to maintaining group memory?

- To provide an ongoing record of meetings.
- To keep the whole team on the same track.
- To encourage equality of participation by recording key data offered by all group members.

What are the risks of not maintaining group memory?

- Groups can become confused, particularly during complex problem-solving work.
- Varying interpretations crop up between members.
- Resolution is difficult or poor solutions are begrudgingly agreed upon.

Facilitators are responsible for managing the accuracy of group memory, whether they do the recording themselves or assign a recorder for this function.


The following are guidelines for recording and managing group memory effectively.

- Before the meeting starts, identify who will be responsible for maintaining group memory. This person should have some basic knowledge of the subject matter. Revolving this task throughout the group can have its benefits. Besides sharing the responsibility, the recorder may receive a fringe benefit of hearing more deeply that they ever have in the past.

- Make sure your meeting location has adequate space to display flipcharts unless you are using a laptop and overhead arrangement to record data. If neither of these is possible, label Post-it notes with agenda topics and stick them to the side of each relevant chart on the easel for quick access to desired data.

- Explain how group memory will be used when the meeting starts--to accurately record member responses. You may even want to include a ground rule such as, "Everything goes up on the flip charts."

- Create a heading at the top of each flip chart that summarizes the agenda item you're working on.

- Number each flip chart before moving on to the next agenda item. Mount each chart on the wall as they are completed, but remove those that aren't necessary for work to be completed to minimize confusion.

- At the end of the meeting, collect the flipcharts and have them transcribed and distributed to all members. Limit embellishments to the transcription process. The group memory is not intended to be an official meeting record but should be used as "working notes."

Adapted from "The Facilitator's FieldBook," Justice and Jamieson.


This week, refine your management of group memory in accordance with the tips in this issue.  We'd love to hear you're perspectives and experiences. Please send us your comments.


In the Spotlight

The Improvisational Facilitator

It's easier than you think...your life is already an improv!

Learn improv techniques to become a more effective facilitator, trainer, and group leader

The Improvisational Facilitator Teleclass

The inner attitudes of facilitators, trainers, and leaders are keys to their success with groups. However, very few trainings address the development of those inner qualities that can make a good leader great. That's why I'm thrilled to be offering this class where we'll present powerful, practical improv techniques that are actually inner attitudes and practices that you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills.

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.

Benefits to you of participating from this Improv Training...
1. Gain tools that will help you relax and have a lot more fun 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.
. Be able to connect whatever people share to the group purpose or theme.
4. Get a lot more comfortable being "in the moment" with your groups..
5. You won't panic when you "lose your place."
6. Come to enjoy dealing with the "unexpected" in your groups.
7. Never have speaker's block again.
8. Discover reservoirs of creativity within you that you didn't know existed.
9. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about empowering groups.

Comments from past participants...

I've been to lots of teleclasses but have never done offline partner exercises like this and they worked great, they really heightened the learning. Excellent resource book.

How the Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for a 75-90 minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. Several times we will 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/resource workbook which accompanies the class including practice assignments after each session.
4. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructors and your classmates via an online listserve during the course.
5. During the course, you may access the instructors via email for help or situational questions.

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

Also included with your training...
In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
1. Free Learning/Resource Workbook ($20 value) to help you drill down deep and master the art of improv for use in facilitation, training, leadership, and group work.
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 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.
__- Leadership Through Improv. Article on how Improv techniques can be applied to leadership.

The full cost of training/access is only $99 including the free items ( worth $109) listed above. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

Early Registration Discount: Sign up by May 31st for $89

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 on a first come basis.

I really enjoyed the Improv class. Great material, excellent delivery including the opportunities to "try it out" in partner settings. --Sandy Brown, Facilitator, Intel Corporation--

This teleclass will be offered in two separate formats. A 5-day, 75-minute class, starting June 6th, and a four-week, 90-minute class starting June 9th. Each session contains the same material simply offered in different time formats based on your preference.

Session 1:
5-Day Teleclass, meets 75 minutes everyday from 1:00PM to 2:15 PM EDT (NY Time), Monday through Friday, June 6-10th

Please click here to register for 5-Day Teleclass
June 6-10th

Session 2: Four-week Teleclass, meets 90 minutes every Thursday from 4:00PM to 5:30 PM EDT (NY Time), June 9th through June 30th

Please click here to register for 4 week Teleclass
Starting Thursday, June 9th

Self-Guided 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. Click here to purchase for $69.

(Real Audio Only)

Click here to purchase the
Real Audio Version 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. Click here to purchase for $79.

(CD's and Real Audio Only)

Click here to purchase the CD Version for $79
plus $4 Shipping and Handling

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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