Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0248, March 21, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

Much of the trouble we encounter with communication lies in unspoken assumptions--ideas that we've accepted as true without verification. When we react to our assumptions, we react to the unreal, and often, to the projections of our worst fears. As facilitators, we provide a great service when we help people get conscious of their assumptions, which often present huge barriers to clear communication and understanding. This week's article, "Turn on Your Crap Detector," offers an exercise for us each to experience our own assumptions and some guidelines for detecting and moving through them in our work with groups.

FacilitatorU News

New Monthly Membership Option

We just added a new monthly membership option for You can now get access to our great collection of resources and teleclasses for $19.95/mo. for the basic membership and $39.95/mo for the premium membership. Please pass this link on to your friends and colleagues who would benefit from these tools and resources.

Business Development Items...

An Online-to-Offline Follow up and Referral System. I recently came across this online system that makes sending out hard copy greeting cards via snail mail as easy as sending an email. It's a brilliant system that's combined print-on-demand with autoresponder technology. I've begun using it in my business for thank you, follow up and referral cards. If you send out cards, you'll want to try this system. Learn more by clicking here and if you'd like to give the system a spin, I'll set you up with a free gift account so that you can send a couple of cards to see how it works. Just email me with your name, phone number, and a couple of good times to call and we'll get you set up.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Click here for detail

Click here for details

Click here for details

The Point

Turn on Your Crap Detector
Cultivate your ability to detect and expose assumptions

Group Process Skill

"In order to be a great writer, a person must have a built-in, shockproof crap detector."
--Ernest Hemingway--

This quote by Hemingway, as a writer for writers, applies equally well to facilitative leaders.

So often we communicate with one another through unspoken assumptions and agendas, often without realizing it. Unconscious assumptions present huge barriers to clear communication and understanding.

As group leaders, one of the most powerful things we can do is to act as detectives in search of assumptions, rout them out, and expose them for what they are, ideas that we've accepted as true without verification. Once our insidious assumptions are discovered and labeled, deeper relationships can be cultivated based on mutual respect and understanding. But when we react to our assumptions, we react to the unreal, and often, to the projections of our worst fears.

Are you operating free of assumptions?

It's possible, but unlikely. Ponder the following story then revisit this question.

What choice would you make?

A group of children are playing near two railway tracks - one set of tracks is still in use while the other isn't. Only one child plays on the disused track, the rest on the operational track. The train comes, and you are beside the track interchange. You realize you could make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the kids.

However, this would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed.

What would you do? Let the train take its predetermined course or intervene to save all but one of the children?

Take a pause to think what kind of decision you would make...

Analyze the situation...

Think and reflect...

Decide on your answer and write down the assumptions you made.

What do your choices say about your assumptions?

Many would choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. To save most of the children at the expense of only one child is a rational decision, morally and emotionally.

But, did you consider that the child playing on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place? And the other children were aware of the risk and are in a better position to be alert and run from the danger when they hear the train?

If the train were diverted, that lone child would likely die because he wouldn't think the train could come over to that track! Moreover, that track was probably not in use because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the other track, the lives of all passengers on board could be at stake as well!

This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society - the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority is, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority is.

There is an unspoken assumption that sacrificing the minority for the majority is the 'right' thing to do, but challenging this assumption with the train story brought to light far more layers to the situation.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right ones. "Remember that what's right isn't always popular... and what's popular isn't always right."


Detecting assumptions

How do we detect assumptions? David Bohm, quoted by Peter Senge in the "Fifth Discipline," identifies three types of incoherence in our thinking that lead to assumptions:

1. Denial that you are a participant (It's not my fault! Look at what they did!)

2. You stop tracking with reality and start running your program (did you run a societal program in the exercise above to make your choice?).

3. You establish your own standard of reference for fixing problems, problems this frame contributed to creating in the first place (e.g. when someone harms us, we have to harm them in return).

Three conditions necessary for true "dialogue

Senge goes on to suggest three conditions necessary for true "dialogue":

1. All participants must "suspend" their assumptions, literally to hold them "as if suspended before us."

2. All participants must regard one another as colleagues.

3. There must be a "facilitator" (that's you!) who "holds the context" of dialogue (i.e. attends to group process).


Think of a task or problem you are working on right now. Chances are, you have some assumptions about the situation or people involved. Use the above criteria for detecting assumptions to figure out what they are. Are you on the defense - placing blame elsewhere? Are you acting out of your usual patterns or habits? Or are you operating in the moment? I look forward to your comments, insights or feedback about this article - just click reply and type them directly into this email.

Note to Publishers
Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are free to do so providing you follow these guidelines.

We grow by recommendation only when you find our material of use! If you enjoyed this issue, we'd love it if you'd spread the word. Click here to use our interactive form to tell your friends about MFJ, and as a thank you, you will receive our free Facilitator's Self Assessment.

In the Spotlight

Calling all facilitators, trainers, coaches
and group leaders...

Have you considered offering a workshop as a more efficient way to deliver training, enhance group learning and generate more income for your business? 

When done right, workshops are very effective ways to deliver top-notch training programs to groups. But this is often overshadowed by the misconception that workshops are complicated to create and deliver.

Remove the fear and uncertainty of workshop design with this 5-day teleclass series: The Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch, led by Steve Davis and Marion Franklin.

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

Learn how to create a workshop that will entice your audience and deliver your message in a way that is impactful and memorable. By the end of the 5 days, you will:

  • Have learned how to chose a compelling topic for a workshop.
  • Have a new tool-belt of exercises and coaching skills to help enhance learning.  
  • Have a simple formula for creating workshops in any topic area.
  • Have completed the design of your own workshop,  following Marion's 7-step approach.
  • Have learned how workshops can led to increased income for your professional practice.
  • And much more..

April 17th-21st, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), one hour each day.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. Dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. Work through a workbook during the 5 days (about an hour a day of study and field work) which will lead you through the design of your own workshop (optional).
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructor and your classmates via an online discussion forum during the course.
4. Access to the instructors via email for specific help.

Course Outline...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to Workshop Design and Framing Your Message

  • Choosing a Great Topic, whether it's chosen for you or not.
  • Designing a Fresh, Memorable Title
  • Developing an Overriding Message
  • Design your own workshop week

Being Prepared: 10 Critical Behind the Scenes Strategies

  • Know Your Audience
  • Resolve Introduction Issues
  • Room Arrangements
  • Presentation Equipment/Accessories
  • Handouts
  • Workshop highlights
  • Practice your presentation
  • Dress professionally
  • Wear your own nametag
  • Eliminate Gaps

Knitting it All Together

  • Managing the three stages of a workshop
  • "The Beginning"
    - Building Trust and Rapport
    - Setting the Stage and Tone
    - Clarifying Objectives and Ground rules
    - Introductions
    - Icebreakers
  • "The Middle"
    - Delivering the content
    - Delivering your overriding message
    - Delivering experiences
    - Leaving them with inspired curiosity
  • "The End"
    - Reinforce learning and overriding message.
    - Clarify additional resources
    - Short promo about your services
  • JIT Coaching

Experiential Exercises and Just-In-Time Coaching. 

  • Creating Experiential Exercises
    - Reflect on your experiences
    - Read about and reflect on the topic
    - Consult Exercise sources
    - Gather supporting material
    - Generalize Observations
  • Delivering Experiential Exercises
    - The Kolb Learning Cycle
    - Adjusting to group specific needs
    - Managing emotional elements
  • JIT Coaching
    - Permission
    - Observe, question, comment

Icing on the Cake

  • 7 Tips to polish your workshop
    - Be yourself
    - Marketing Tips
    - Client relationship building
    - Extended relationships with participants.
    - Join Online Training Networks
    - Manage your time wisely
    - Handle difficult participants
  • Individual Coaching and Q&A

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

1. Free copy of the 7 Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops ($30 value)

2. Free access to audio interview with instructional design expert, Marg Wall for yet another perspective on workshop design in this one-hour session,
"How to Design Winning Workshops and Seminars that Inspire and Engage Your Audience." ($20 value) This comes with 3 additional bonuses.See details here.

3. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.

4. Participation on the class listserve to share questions and opportunities with your peers.

5. Access to Steve and Marion for virtual coaching on this subject throughout the week.

Our price for this class is only $89 including a free copy of the
7 Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops ($30 value) and "How to Design Winning Workshops" package ($20 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

April 17th-21st, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), one hour each day.

"You gave us such great tips on how to organize and run a workshop. I now feel more confident and can't wait to schedule my next workshop."


Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the phone bridge, listserve, and teleclass workbook.


Click here to register
Register by April 1st for only $79

Self-Guided 5-Day 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 workbook and all the other bonuses above. 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 workbook used in the live class.


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 the CD Version for $79
plus $4 Shipping and Handling Membership Option

Become a member of premium member and receive this self-guided 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? Contact us to discuss options.

About Marion

Marion Franklin is a Professional Certified Life Coach who coaches individuals and groups regarding personal and professional change, focus, human relations, and conflict management. Marion has coached managers at major corporations including PepsiCo, ToysíRíUs, and Readerís Digest. She conducts and helps clients design workshops and presentations, has been a featured presenter at meetings, retreats, and an ongoing Womenís Workshop Series, has been cited in The Journal News and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on local Cable Television.


Listen to what others have said about previous classes on workshop design with Marion Franklin...

What a great workshop! I'm looking forward to implementing what I gleaned from this workshop into my own workshops.

The class was packed! I loved it! It was so helpful and moved at a nice clip. I have created workshops for 10 years and this gave me some information that I had missed!! Well delivered and engaging. I learned a lot. It is definitely an art.

Excellent class. I am in the process of developing two different workshops and this class helped me get over a hump with both of them!

Here are what people are saying about Marion's book, "7 Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops" which comes with this course...

7 Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops is a fabulous resource. I have avoided putting a workshop together for over two years, for fear of how to begin, how to put it together, how to be sure it lasts long enough, what to say, and how to not make a complete fool out of myself. After reading this ebook, I feel like I could put together a workshop that I would be proud of by this afternoon.

7 Simple Secrets To Successful Workshops makes it easy for coaches, trainers and facilitators who are new to developing and delivering workshops. I wish this material had been available when I began my own workshops, but this eBook reminds me to stick to the basics when developing new workshops.

About the satisfaction guarantee

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this training, 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.

©2001-2013. Powered by, Madison, WI.. All Rights Reserved.