Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0208, June 14, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..
 

Dear friends,

This morning I led a teleclass called, "Not Just Another Meeting," for a group of 10 UN/AIDS workers out of Geneva. I designed and led this class for the first time in January of this year. It didn't go all that well. I had a difficult time at first teasing out their issues and challenges. I prepared a great guidebook with everything I knew and could find on meeting facilitation. Each class led to an increasing level of confusion and self-doubt on my part. The more I got to know the group's challenges, the more I realized what a nearly impossible situation they faced everyday, and the less confident I felt that I could help them. This week's article, "Facilitate the Voices in Your Head," speaks to a breakthrough I had in facilitating this class today that was really all about my own self-facilitation. I look forward to your comments on this one.

Stay tuned for an exciting new announcement in next week's journal...the culmination of a three year vision is about to come into reality and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you!

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Facilitate the Voices in Your Head

Book Resource:
Listening to Your Inner Voice

Self-Guided Teleclass Programs and Workbooks: Improv, Workshop Design, and Intervention


Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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Self-Facilitation Skill


Facilitate the Voices in Your Head
Self-facilitation is key to your success in facilitating others

The Point


This morning I led a teleclass called, "Not Just Another Meeting," for a group of 10 UN/AIDS workers out of Geneva. I designed and led this class for the first time in January of this year. It didn't go all that well. I had a difficult time at first teasing out their issues and challenges. I prepared a great guidebook with everything I knew and could find on meeting facilitation. Each class led to an increasing level of confusion and self-doubt on my part. The more I got to know the group's challenges, the more I realized what a nearly impossible situation they faced everyday, and the less confident I felt that I could help them. The less confident I felt, the more information I prepared. The more information I prepared, the more I talked. The more I talked, the less they talked. The less they talked, the lower the energy and the more lifeless and pointless the sessions felt. I completed the class feeling it was among the worst I had ever led. Still, evaluations came back indicating that enough value was gleaned that another class was warranted.

So we began the first session last Tuesday. I had this feeling again of impending doom. Participants are spread all over the globe. Many are in under-developed countries with poor
phone connections that echo. This, coupled with their accents, make understanding each other difficult. Further, many of them have difficulty getting connected to the bridge and often show up very late if at all. They are all very busy and work very hard, making pre-class preparation a challenge. Finally, as facilitators, most of them are good at being silent or "neutral," the last thing you want from the students in any class.

Given my history with this group, I felt anxiety and frustration every time I thought about it. I spent hours preparing content, feeling stumped on how to create processes and experiences I could conduct over the phone that would engage the group. As a big believer in experiential training, I felt stifled to create experiences around this "boring" subject of meeting facilitation--everyone hates meetings, how can I make this interesting? The whole thing just felt like a struggle and I was beginning to wonder whether it was worth the effort--mine or theirs.

But this morning, something shifted, inside me. And it didn't happen by accident, I decided to make the shift. As I attempt to sort out what happened, I realize that I finally facilitated my "inner group" in a way that got them all on the same page. I got my inner voices on task and kept them there. I effectively self-facilitated this morning and created one of my best teleclass experiences ever. And believe me, I am a perpetual self-critic. I very, very seldom say I am really happy with anything I do or have done. Today, I can honestly say that I did an awesome job with this group. And, I have the feeling that they might say the same. Here's what happened...I think.


Application


Psychologists tell us that our personalities are made up of quite a collection of sub-personalities, which are pretty well defined, but integrated (that is under our control (and whoever "I" am in this context is a whole other, and very deep subject) to varying degrees depending on the level of our individual consciousness. Most of us have the inner critic or judge who points out what's wrong; the inner child, who can be the playful child, the wounded child, the problem child, etc.; the adventurer, the lover, the friend, the companion, the intellectual, the teacher, the student, etc.

Imagine all of these personalities in a meeting room all vying for their own agendas, some of them overt, some hidden and unknown. As facilitators, how do we manage such a mess? This is the question we ask everyday when we're in front of such groups. Today, prior to the start of my teleclass, knowing that my outer group is very well-behaved and open and eager to learn, I believe that my inner group had other ideas. There was the doubter who didn't think I had the skills to succeed with this group. There was the critic who felt everything I did or thought was wrong. There was the shy little boy afraid to really speak up. There was the intellectual eager to share all he knows and to show how smart he is. There was the frustrated and confused adult who just didn't know what to do. And there were probably a lot of others hiding under the table.

But there was someone else I met in this group this morning. Or perhaps, to spin an old but relevant cliche, I should say that he was in the group but not of it. He could feel and experience the thoughts and feelings of this inner group, but he also could stand separately from it. As the teleclass began to unfold, he began to facilitate and lead this group. He raised his voice, increased his energy and decided that this group (both his inner group and the outer teleclass) could do this work. He kept his energy high. He challenged the group with clear, succinct questions. He remained silent and waited for them to respond. He pushed them gently in the direction of their purpose, and they pushed back, putting their energy and experience into this purpose. They began to mirror his energy and intention. We began to become of one mind, walking together, on course and on purpose.

How did this happen? For one thing, I released the hold on my far too complicated agenda. I decided that the experience we were all creating as a group was more important than the information I had to share on paper. I trusted that I could have a conversation with them about what was important to them that still related to the theme of the day. I believed in their own ability and desire to do the work and gave them the space to do it. I trusted and believed in my own ability to respond appropriately and creatively in the moment. But most of all, I showed up as the kind of facilitator I wanted to be. I saw all the personalities I could identify with in my inner group, yet decided to identify with none of them. I decided to be who and how I wanted to be, the kind of facilitator who would have my students leaving the class thinking, "Wow, that was the best class I ever attended!" Now I'm not sure what they're saying right now, but I can tell you this, it was one of the best classes I ever attended!

Action


What can you do this week to practice taking dominion over your "inner" group.
Please send us your comments.

Resource

Listening to Your Inner Voice: Discover The Truth Within You And Let It Guide Your Way - A New Collection Of Affirmations And Meditations, by Douglas Bloch

The author offers insights that can help readers grow spiritually and find a deeper sense of purpose in their lives. This book
was very helpful, it opened my eyes to believe in my inner voice. I've always second guessed my inner voice, this made me more aware and helped me make wiser decisions that came from the heart and soul.--anonymous reader

In the Spotlight


Self-Guided Real Audio and CD versions of our two latest teleclasses
are now available.

Each course comes with recordings of lives teleclasses that you can listen to over your computer (real audio versions) or on your stereo (CD version) and a workbook that you can follow along with at your own pace, together with other bonuses. See details below.


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
The inner attitudes of facilitators is the key to their success with groups. However, very few trainings address the development of those inner qualities that can make a good facilitator 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.


Click here for details and purchase information


Intervene with Confidence!

Pre-Recorded 5-day Teleclass for facilitators, trainers, and change agents

Learn effective models, strategies, and practices to intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, or protect group process

Intervene With Confidence, 5-Day Teleclass
Group "Intervention" is one of the most challenging skills to master as a facilitator. So, we are especially pleased to finally announce the first time offering of this teleclass which will explore the art and science of group process intervention. This class for anyone who plays a facilitative or leadership role in a group and will explore practical ways to effectively intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, or protect group process. In particular, this class will benefit group facilitators, trainers, life coaches, teachers, business and community leaders, and managers, whatever level of skill they have in group facilitation.

Click here for details and purchase information



Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch

Pre-Recorded 5-day teleclass for facilitators, trainers, and coaches

with Steve Davis and Marion Franklin
Available in Real Audio and CD Formats


Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch, 5-Day Teleclass

This class covers all the elements of workshop design using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. This course, that you can take from the comfort of your own home or office, is for facilitators, trainers, coaches, who want to design relevant, engaging, experiential workshops for groups using a simple, proven formula that's easy to apply to any workshop topic.

Many thanks for a great experience. I received enough value before the first class to justify all of my costs – and it just kept getting better! I am now really looking forward to creating and delivering my upcoming workshop on retirement success -- can't honestly say that was true before the workshop. -- Doug Leland, Executive Coach & Retirement Specialist


Click here for details and purchase information



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