Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0239, January 17, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

While we think of facilitation as an advanced skill set used only by thusly initiated group change agents, all of us have the opportunity to use at least the basic elements of this skill set everyday.
Consider your typical group "conversations." Do they always go as smoothly as you'd like? Or what about those small group roundtables you're involved in at luncheons, community gatherings, or at workshops? On these occasions, some basic group process skills come in very handy. In this week's article, "Five Ways to Facilitate Group Conversations," we review a few basic skills anyone can employ in small groups to make the conversation flow. Use them yourself and pass them on to your friends and clients who may be less familiar with these skills than you.

Join us for an "Introduction to Emotional Freedom and Healing"...a teleclass with Richard Ross where you'll learn about and experience this revolutionary approach to transforming and eliminating challenges and blocks for you and your clients. These blocks might include releasing painful memories, allowing abundance and prosperity in your life, healing your relationships with loved ones and others, being a better facilitator, or eliminating any unwanted beliefs that prevent you from becoming a full expression of who you are. It happens this Thursday, January 19th at 1:00 PM Eastern. See details after the article.

Get comfortable redirecting your groups when the going gets tough. Join us in our new
5-day teleclass, "Putting Out Brush Fires," with authors and trainers Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb of Great Meetings! Inc. and improve your ability to dealing with those most difficult situations you face in groups. See details at the end of this issue.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


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The Point

Five Ways to Facilitate Group Conversations
Employ basic group process skills for more rewarding conversations

Group Process Skill

Have you ever felt ‘stuck’ in a conversation with three or more people that just wasn’t going anywhere? People are droning on and on about this and that, leaving you bored and wishing you could just slip away? This is an all too familiar social situation - we’ve all been there and, chances are, we're unaware we can help shape our conversations to be productive and meaningful for all involved.

You can make a difference in group conversations, if you choose. You can “facilitate” them so that they’re rewarding to you and the group as a whole. To do so, you must be willing to take responsibility for the course of the conversation without being pushy or “in charge.” In well “facilitated” conversations, those unfamiliar with facilitation skills will know they’ve had a good experience, but they may not know why.


Here are five guidelines to effectively facilitate group conversations. As a caution, keep in mind when making interventions, to be polite and take a “curious” versus a “commanding” perspective. This is particularly important in those social situations where you have not been granted the role of official group facilitator.

1. Get everyone involved. One problem with group conversations is that they often turn into monologues for the most vocal people in the group. People often politely allow others to monopolize a conversation when they’re obviously uncomfortable. We’ve all felt the awkwardness and read the obvious body language of those tolerating a tirade.

In this situation, validate the speaker, and then ask for input from someone else. This might sound something like, “Wow Bill, I didn’t realize you were so tuned in to the stock market, it reminds me of how important investments are to us all. In fact, it makes me think about you Margie having recently started your own business, how is that paying off for you?”

One important thing to notice is that I connected what Bill was saying to something completely different, but related to another person in the group. Recognize that you can make connections from one thing to anything if you simply put your mind to it for a moment.

2. Know it’s OK to interrupt when appropriate. One thing to consider when redirecting a conversation is that you may have to interrupt people. This is hard for many of us who’ve been trained to listen when others are speaking. The funny thing is, I’ve found “over talkers” actually expect interruptions, as this is the only way they can experience a dialogue.

3. Ensure you are actively listening. Listening is the key to all good conversations. We’re often thinking of our response while others are talking. Good conversations require us to stay present and pay attention when others, and ourselves, are speaking. This means that we don’t entertain other thoughts while we’re listening. Whenever our mind wanders, we bring our attention back to the speaker. When we’re listening closely, we’re better able to respond and also redirect the conversation in the presence of “over talkers.”

4. Stay on track but be willing to leave it.
Some of the best conversations I’ve had moved all over the place. Not in a disjointed fashion, but like a dance, forming a mosaic of meandering patterns that fit together into a coherent whole.

Be flexible and willing to move from one subject to the next, but beware of leaving incomplete ideas hanging. This is particularly common in conversations where poor listening and unconscious interruptions occur. If the conversation shifts to a new subject when an idea hasn’t been brought to completion, politely interrupt and ask the group if they’re complete with the idea, or say something yourself to feel complete about it. The simple act of intervening to get completion often has the effect of drawing others into deeper listening and better dialogue. Staying with a subject long enough to truly express ourselves around it increases our connection to others.

5. Work on cultivating your relationship. We humans are social creatures who sometimes just need to talk. So coming together simply to chat isn’t always a bad thing. However, if we really want to have better conversations, ones where we feel closer to the others in the group, we need to work on relating better to one another.

How do we do this? Start by asking yourself how you like to be related to. For me, it’s about being heard, respected, and having others “be real” with me. In your next conversation notice the following: Do you truly listen to yourself when you speak? Are your words respectful to yourself and others? And most importantly, are you being real in the conversation? Then get ready for others to nearly invite you to facilitate!


Try these skills out in your next conversation or share them with your clients who complain about their small group meetings. Let me know what happens, I'd love to hear from you.

Facilitation Expert Tele-Seminar

Introduction to Emotional Freedom and Healing...
a revolutionary approach to transforming and eliminating challenges and blocks for you and your groups.

Featuring Richard Ross, a transformational mentor, coach, spiritual counselor, and facilitator of personal healing.

"Just-in-Time" Learning

Over the past ten years Richard has developed the "Emotional Freedom & Healing" (EF&H) work as a completely new system for healing and personal transformation that is gentle, fast, and effective, offering nearly immediate and permanent relief.

This call is both a learning and an experiential process, offering both an introduction to Emotional Freedom Modalities, as well as an opportunity to experience the power of this work using your own personal issues. Through a powerful guided session on this call, you may work on releasing old painful memories, allowing abundance and prosperity in your life, healing your relationships with loved ones and others, being a better facilitator, or eliminating any unwanted beliefs that prevent you from becoming a full expression of who you are.

Attend this live, one-hour tele-seminar with Richard Ross and Steve Davis on Thursday, January 19th at 1:00 PM EST (NY Time). Besides the experiential component, some of the points we'll discuss are...

Who are you and what do you do in your Mentoring and Healing Practice?

Where do these healing modalities come from, and how is your work different from coaching, or traditional therapies and other counseling methods?

What kinds of "issues or situations" can be transformed with this work, and typically how long might it take? How can it specifically help Facilitators, Trainers, and Group Leaders?

Is your work more useful or effective with particular kinds of situations, or with clients having certain belief systems?

Are there any other reasons why so many of us often have difficulty healing old negative patterns and/or reaching new goals?

Do I need to know the original cause of the issue (the core belief(s)) in order to heal, release, or clear something?

Will the participants on this call leave the session with any tools or methods that they can then use on their own to further their healing?

A personal experience of EF&H you can apply to any emotional issue that's present for you.

Here's what a recent participant said:

Last nights' class was awesome for me. You touched directly on the issues I brought with, forgiveness & anger. I do not have a number [scale of intensity] I can give those issues now...I feel very peaceful today. I am in a 12-step program & had been working on those issues for 2 yrs now.
---Gayle V.


Free 25-minute MP3 Audio "Releasing Resistance." This is a powerful guided process, that can be used to release resistance in any area of one's life, where one wishes to move ahead. Also included is a preparation email, that tells the you how to get the most out of the process.

This seminar is free to members.
Click here
to view features and benefits of membership.

Click here for details about this interview and registration.
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In the Spotlight

Putting Out Brush Fires...

How to intervene in
difficult group situations

Learn how to effectively
intervene when things
heat up in your groups

January 23rd - 27th, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time),
one hour each day.

The Teleclass...

Do non-stop talkers, silent groups or dramatic conflicts ever knock your meetings off track? These meeting situations take a toll on a group’s ability to work together and cost time and money. This 5 hour teleclass, taught by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings! Great Results, will increase your ability to know when and how to intervene effectively in difficult situations to get your meetings back on track. You will find the course Putting out Brush Fires: Intervening in Difficult Situations to be highly interactive. Each class includes a short content presentation, discussion, demonstration, participant exercise, debrief, and discussion of application. This course if for anyone who facilitates, manages, teaches, mediates, coaches, counsels, directs any group.

Benefits to you for participating in this Training...

Increase your ability to know when and how to intervene in difficult situations.
2. Get practice and coaching on your intervention skills to internalize your ability to intervene.
3. Gain confidence to manage challenges with ease so your meetings will be more productive and more fun.
4. A chance to work through the specific kinds of issues you face with the experts
5. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about empowering groups.

How the Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for a 60 minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. 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 your classmates via a listserve during the course.
5. You have access to the instructors via email for help on specific situations.

Putting Out Brushfires Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the course...

Day one: Introduction to each other and the course

  • What is a “brush fire”?
  • Why does intervention matter?
  • What are our values for framing interventions?

Day two: Know yourself and assess the situation

  • Staying grounded in the face of difficult situations
    • Gaining insight into your personal reactions to brush fires
    • Knowing how to get and stay grounded
  • Assessing the situation
    • Introduction of the Great Meetings! Intervention model
    • What to look for when considering an intervention
    • What questions to ask to determine if an intervention is needed

Day three: Step into the situation: interrupting

  • Different ways to intervene
  • Interrupting as one key tool
    • Cultural and personal frames on interrupting
    • The Art of interrupting
  • Application of the technique to your own situations

Day Four: Step into the situation: other intervention options

  • Review of Intervention model
  • Examples of other interventions
  • Choosing the right intervention
  • Choosing the right level of intervention
  • Application of the techniques to your own situations

Day Five: Help the group move on and prepare to prevent difficulties

  • Moving on from the intervention
    • Understanding what the group needs
    • Choosing tools
  • Good preparation: essential to preventing difficulties
  • Parking lot issues
  • Questions and answers
  • Wrap up and final evaluation

Also included with your training...
In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
1. A downloadable version of the book, Great Meetings! ($25 value) and a 20-page workbook to serve as resources in the future ($15 value)
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the training ($69 value).
3. Articles and resources around using Improv in leadership and facilitation:

- Steps for negotiating conflict in a group.
- Meeting Assessment checklist: Questions to ask during the client interview.

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.


January 23-27, 2006, One hour each day, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time).

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.

Early registration discount.
Register by January 15th for only $89

Click here to register Membership Option

Become a member of premium member and register for this teleclass at half price in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.


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

About Dee Kelsey. Dee has been facilitating groups since her teenage years. She turned her early interests into more formal work both as a trainer and personnel representative at Hewlett Packard and as a mediator and trainer of mediators for the city of Palo Alto, California. In addition to her work with Great Meetings! Inc, she has been principal of Dee Kelsey and Associates since 1985. She has worked nationally to provide organizational development, facilitation, process consultation, mediation, and training services to hundreds of clients ranging from small work groups to large corporations.

About Pam Plumb.
Pam discovered during her years as a City Councilor and Mayor of Portland that effective meeting planning and facilitation made a big difference in meeting outcomes In 1991, she created Pamela Plumb & Associates which serves a wide range of non-profit organizations, businesses and government organizations with process design, facilitation, training and organizational development. She is known internationally for her process work and training in municipal governance.

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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