Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0246, March 7, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

A few months ago, I published an article in this ezine entitled, "Be an Authentic Performer." It explored the apparent paradox between authenticity and performing well in front of groups. This week's article takes this concept further with 10 questions to ask yourself to bring you closer to "Becoming an Authentic Performer."
Read these, try them on, and let us know how they resonate with you.

Walking Your Talk. Sue Walden and I are hosting a live four-day version of the Improvisational Facilitator class called "Walking Your Talk" in San Francisco from March 15th - 18th. It will provide a multi-dimensional approach helping you build the skills to create an environment for participative learning; one that encourages openness and risk-taking for you and groups. See details after the article. I'd love to meet you there in person where we will take our skills to the next level!

Need a Telephone Bridge Line? Two fellow coaches and I are looking for a fourth, and possibly a fifth person to share the yearly lease of our telephone bridge line which renews April 1st. If you or someone you know is interested in this, please contact me for details.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


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The Point

Be an Authentic Performer II
10 Questions to Discovering Your 'Authentic Performer'

Self-Facilitation Skill

As facilitators, trainers, and group leaders, our role includes many of the challenges of public speaking. We must, by definition, be in front of the room addressing our groups as leaders to help align and serve their collective purpose. This role requires that we get and command attention, motivate and inspire, and garner the respect required for us to effectively lead.

With that said, most of us dread speaking in public. But this is true only to the degree we believe that we have to be somebody we're not. When we operate from our authentic selves, we discover magical connections to our audience and ourselves, and we express ourselves effortlessly.

The following 10 questions take the concept of "Becoming an Authentic Performer" to a deeper, more practical level. Read these, try them on, and let us know how they resonate with you.


10 Questions to Discovering Your 'Authentic Performer.' So how do you become an authentic performer? Ask yourself the following 10 questions - when you can say 'yes' to each of these, public speaking will become one of your greatest joys.

1. Do I feel good in front of an audience? When you're "on," it feels good. It feels right. You're at your best when you feel good, and being at your best makes you and others feel good. It's a feedback loop provided by your biology to let you know that you're in the flow of life. Any struggle, pushing, or forcing goes against the flow and is off course.

2. Is my audience feeling good? The same rule in #1 above, applies to your audience. If you're having fun and feeling good, it's contagious. You're audience will pick up on this. When you are connected to your audience and they feel your positive feelings, your energies converge and you grow together.

3. Am I rediscovering myself as I speak? Speaking in public, and hearing your own voice and words, is a process of self-discovery. When we slow down and speak from our passionate heart, we are in touch with ourselves, and what we say is often quite surprising. This is very different from the fast-paced, mind-chatter that we are used to hearing inside our heads. The heart is always more revealing. Speaking from our heart before an audience is a high-speed personal growth experience.

4. Are my words coming through as if they were from another source? The excitement of being on stage, the energy of your audience, and the group consciousness is all directed to and through you. Maintaining the observer position allows you to witness the flow of energy, emotions and thoughts, and with this, your soul is presented with an opportunity to speak. Take it. When you relax and speak from the "witness," you will be surprised to see that your soul shows up. And what your soul says is always perfect for you and for your audience in the moment.

5. Is my speech almost poetic or prose-like? When your soul is speaking, your voice tone, cadence, and rhythm will be different than your usual dialogue. This deeper self is in service to delivering your message. And the message is from a higher source. No wonder it sounds like poetry. Your energetic self communicates with fewer words more efficiently. Your audience "gets it" and so do you.

6. Is my voice peaceful, direct, harmonic, and clear? When you're speaking from an authentic place, you feel no fear. You speak from deep in your belly, from your natural soul voice, without the distraction of "filler" words. You speak your truth as it occurs to you in the moment without apology. You are the conductor and your words the symphony.

7. Do new creative ideas of the "group mind" arise from nowhere? When you operate from your authentic presence, every performance will be different, even when presenting the same information. We are all different people every day, at least in subtle ways, and our different audiences bring a unique blend of energy to the room. When we are attuned to our environment, and ourselves, we will express new creative ideas and insights that are even new to us. You are at the source of creation.

8. Are most of the participants onboard? When you're speaking, you can tell when your audience is with you and when they're not. There are of course non-verbal cues and there are subtle energetic cues. When you are attuned to your audience, you feel their support, you know they are getting what the came for.

9. Are the silences powerful and synchronistic? The use of silence in your presentations is a powerful tool. Without space between the notes, music just isn't possible. When you stop at appropriate times, there is a quality to the silence between your words--a fullness--that let's you know what you say is resonating with your audience.

10. Do I feel my energy expanding beyond previous boundaries, including others in the group? There are times when people align, open, and unite in such a way as to experience the "group mind". This is a tangible and accessible entity. Learn to be open to, appreciate, and create this in your relationships. Let the universal group mind lead your energy and awareness beyond your perceived boundaries. When this happens, your authentic presence is bigger than life!

These are subtle questions - you obviously can't stop and think about the answers in the midst of a group session, but you can get into the habit of using these questions to evaluate each group situation. The more you do this, the more conscious you'll become of what distracts you from being an authentic performer, allowing you to improve the next time around. Soon, there will be nothing in the way - your authenticity will simply be a part of who you are as a public speaker.


Which of the questions above do you resonate with? Which ones do you have resistance to? Take a minute to jot down some thoughts on what you can do to apply at least one of these perspectives this week. I look forward to your comments, insights or feedback about this article - just click reply and type them directly into this email.

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In the Spotlight

Walking the Talk

An interactive "train the trainer" experience in facilitating interactive learning

Learn improv techniques to revitalize your "inner" leader and put you in the master's class of group facilitators, trainers, and leaders

March 15th-18th, 2006, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm daily.

I attended Sue Walden's 4-Day Train the Trainer and wanted to tell you about my experience.
This wonderful, insightful seminar helped me become even more aware of my impact. Using videotape and group feedback, I was able to see where I accomplished my desired impact and when I'd get in my own way. It was fun, delightful and very beneficial. This class helped me be more aware of when I show up in my strength.

Sue provided lots of materials from her extensive experience in improv work and I walked away feeling it was well worth my time. Sue is a Pro and a bright light in the industry. Feel free to call or email me if you want more information or encouragement to attend.
Marti Bolton, (503) 694-6165,

Do you encounter any of these problems when working with groups?

1. Do you take your work with groups way too seriously? So seriously that sometimes you get uptight and afraid about what might happen. In this class, you'll learn and practice tools that will help you relax and have a lot more fun with your groups.
2. Are you afraid of encountering the unexpected? Learn simple strategies that will help you to be more open and flexible to the specific and dynamic needs of your groups.
. Are you bothered when participants try to take the group off on a tangent? Be able to connect whatever people share to the group purpose or theme.
4. Do you have a tough time being "present" with your groups, trying to juggle all that needs to be done? Learn and practice strategies that will let you take a breath and get comfortable being "in the moment" with your groups..
5. Do you ever fear that you'll "lose your place" in your workshop? In this class, you'll learn exactly what to do in that circumstance.
6. Is "speaker's block" a problem? You'll learn a tool so that you never have speaker's block again.
7. Do you sometimes question your creative abilities? Discover reservoirs of creativity within you that you didn't know existed.
8. Do you often feel like you're doing this group leadership thing all alone? Come collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about empowering groups.

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then read on. You'll find help overcoming these issues and more in this dynamic 4-day workshop.

The Improvisational Facilitator Workshop...
The inner attitudes of facilitators, trainers, and leaders is the key to their success with groups. However, very few trainings address the development of those inner qualities that can make a good leader great. In this workshop, you'll learn, practice, and receive video feedback on powerful, practical improv techniques you'll put to work with your group of fellow students. Through this experience, you'll not only learn to apply improv skills to solve the problems listed above, but you'll get real clear about how you affect others positively and negatively as a group leader.

This dynamic workshop, led by master trainer, Sue Walden, is for anyone who facilitates, manages, teaches, mediates, coaches, counsels, directs any group. This highly interactive workshop 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.

March 15th-18th, 2006, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm daily.

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

  • Crucial core skills for working with groups of any size. Do you tend to fall into lecture mode for fear of losing control? Facilitating experiential learning is a lot different that lecture-format learning. There is less control because there are more surprises; and this only increases with greater numbers of people involved. In this workshop, we'll practice the skills of presence, openness, and flexibility and how to use them to consistently embrace the big picture (the learning) while flowing with what happens in the room.

  • Environmental dynamics that set the stage for interactive learning. It can be tough to get strangers to trust one another enough to take the risks required to learn new behaviors. Come to know the environmental dynamics that set the stage for interactive learning. Learn to manage and adjust the many factors that contribute or detract from an environment that encourages experimentation and exploration.

  • Verbal and non-verbal communications skills. Our unconscious behaviors get in our way without our consent! Whatever we're thinking and/or feeling "leaks" out in our non-verbal behaviors, our tone of voice, and our choice of words. The more aware we are of our unconscious behaviors, both the ones that work for us and those that don't, the more "at choice" we become in the message that's received.

  • Giving and receiving objective, constructive and encouraging feedback. Do you have a hard time giving and receiving objective, constructive and encouraging feedback? Negative feedback only increases inhibition. We use the "Positive Feedback Model" to guide our feedback sessions. We focus on "what works" so that we can continue to grow in that direction. You'll learn and practice this model throughout the workshop so that it becomes second nature.

  • Video-feedback of facilitating group exercises. Wouldn't you love to know how you really "show up" in your groups? Participants get daily practice in leading activities that are video-taped and debriefed for an objective view of your unconscious competencies. The truth is, we all are coming across much better than we are thinking. Wouldn't you like to see that and know it in your gut?

  • Generous number of energizers, exercises and resources. How would you like to feel comfortable facilitating, and even designing, your own experiential exercises? You'll receive extensive resources and practice in conducting and "tweaking" energizers and interactive exercises throughout this workshop.

  • Special Treat: Your attendance includes a ticket to see "Sue & Friends," Sue's one-woman [sorta] improv show on Sunday, March 19th.

Sue Walden's Train the Trainer workshop gave me an invaluable opportunity to try out leading some exercises, get immediate feedback from Sue and the other participants on my impact, and see myself improving everyday (on video!) That was well worth the price of admission!
Marj Plumb, (415) 492-8692

The full cost of training/access is $850 and this is the last time Sue will not be offering the training at this price again as she plans to raise the fee to $1,200 on future offerings of this program.


Contact Sue Walden at 415-863-9500 or to discuss your goals, your objectives and to register. To hold your spot, send a $100.00 non-refundable deposit by check or money order made out to ImprovWorks, 1801 Franklin St. Suite 404, San Francisco, CA 94109. Limited space.

I took the Train the Trainer program with Sue Walden and my skills in leading grew exponentially, as well as increasing the number of icebreakers and other exercises available to me. The class got my creative juices going and I even created some of my own exercises.
-- Chris Pepper-Wong, (702) 562-0886

Your instructor

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!


Please contact us with your comments. Thanks for your help!


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