Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0250, April 4, 2006 ....
 

Dear friends,

Upon returning from a government meeting last week, a friend of mine related to me a very grim scenario that I know happens everyday all over the world. Twenty people were invited from around the country to attend a two-day meeting intended to foster understanding and cooperation between organizations. The collective cost for this venture? Around $30,000. The value? She told me she could have gotten as much from a collection of presentations in an email and saved the stress that comes with two days of travel and two days in a high-stress, smog-filled city. She also said that much of the time was used to market the group on an offering that most of them were not interested in or able to take advantage of at this time.

In this week's article, "Ban Status Reporting Meetings," we review a meeting scenario shared by a reader and offer some tips to shift information-sharing meetings to be more collaborative collaborative in nature. I look forward to your comments as always!


FacilitatorU News

The Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch.

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. Join us for this 5-day teleclass starting April 17th. See details at the end of this issue.


Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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The Point


Ban Status Reporting Meetings!
Don't waste people's time to meet for meeting's sake.
Take the time to prepare truly collaborative processes
.

Group Process Skill


Upon returning from a government meeting last week, a friend of mine related to me a very grim scenario that I know happens everyday all over the world. Twenty people were invited from around the country to attend a two-day meeting intended to foster understanding and cooperation between organizations. The collective cost for this venture was around $30,000. The value? She told me she could have gotten as much from a collection of presentations in an email and saved the stress that comes with two days of travel and two days in a high-stress, smog-filled city. She also said that much of the time was used to market the group on an offering that most of them were not interested in or able to take advantage of at this time.

This is not to say that creating events that allow people to get to know each other and create opportunities to collaborate, it's just that most of these meetings are conducted using an old, worn-out, soul-sucking paradigm.

Here's another story I received the other day from one of my readers, Ann Laidlaw, that again fits into the category of "Meetings that Kill"...your time, your energy, and your spirit.

I've "inherited" this project from a full-time facilitator in a hospital who is going on maternity leave. She's already done a lot of agenda building with the team who've decided that prior to any strategy work or planning, they want to get to know each other better. Consequently, the agenda they've agreed upon for this one-day meeting consists of five 45-minute presentations, from each team member recounting their various specialties. From these presentations, they hope to get to know one another's strengths, goals, issues, and begin creating a Commonalities, Uniqueness, Themes workpage. And perhaps to start finding spots where they can leverage each other's work for overall team productivity.

My challenge as a facilitator is to take an already agreed upon agenda and make it interesting and interactive. I am afraid that 45 minute presentations will be very dry and we will lose people by the 3rd presentation. There are also eight very influential group members who refuse to do any "fluffy stuff"!

What I have thought of so far is to challenge this team to form small groups of two to plan presentations that will be creative, unique, such as skits, use of props, drawings, testimonials, and stories. I could create a cheat sheet for them on various things they could do to make the presentations interesting. I thought that those who refuse the fluffy stuff could choose powerpoint to do their presentation and others could choose something else. Do you have any ideas for me here?

As a consultant and coach, Ann was smart in that she knew the process needed to be adjusted and reached out for help in time to make some consultive suggestions to her client. We look forward to hearing how this meeting turns out. Here are some suggestions I sent her and I hope you share these with others who are considering invoking another "Powerpoint Purgatory."

Application


Pure status reporting meetings are a colossal waste of time, yet way too many meetings are still run this way. One of the reasons I believe this happens is because most people are nervous or downright scared about standing up in front of a room to present. So they rely too heavily on a Powerpoint presentation style which far too often means "reading" their powerpoint slides...ARGGGH! I applaud your sensibility that this is off course Ann. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure that the people invited to this meeting clearly know it's purpose, what's expected of them, and what they can expect to leave with. In fact, ask for inputs from these attendees as you craft the meeting agenda so that they have a stake it its design. People invited to a meeting without knowing these things shouldn't have come in the first place. If they do show up, they'll be unprepared, which degrades your meeting's effectiveness from the start!

  • Keep information sharing to an absolute minimum "during" the meeting. Get this information out there "before" the meeting and encourage people to come prepared by already having read the material. Request that all material packages be distributed to attendees well before the meeting with an executive summary of no more than a page or two. Give them a format for this summary so that it includes the pieces of information that people really need and want to know.

    Pure status reporting is redundant. In this age of easy access and sharing of information via fax, email, and the Internet, why are we still status reporting? We can all read, right!? In fact, most of us can read at least five times faster than anyone can talk. So let's not spend time doing that for each other.

  • Ask each "presenter" to design their time to assure "collaboration" from the group rather than presentation (which they've done in written form before the meeting). The opportunity for collaborative work is the most legitimate reason to hold a meeting anyway, so let's use it for that purpose!

  • Offer your help in designing and/or facilitating these sessions. For example, you might suggest participants start by sharing something of their vision and passion for the work they do and then seek input, ideas, feedback on their goals and issues, or whatever serves the particular meeting purpose. Suggest this be done in small groups where inputs are recorded followed by a large group debrief. Collate all inputs on separate flipcharts labeled, for example, Commonalities, Uniqueness, Themes respectively, and perhaps add an "Other" flipchart to catch inputs that don't fit but that might be useful.

  • Provide an uplifting and functional environment. Why are we still serving coffee and donuts and other assorted "junk" foods at presentation meetings? I think because they help anaesthetize us to make the boredom tolerable. If we stop holding boring meetings, we don't need to tranquilize our victims. Have some healthy, hydrating foods at day long meetings like fruit, salads, bottled water, plain yogurt, etc. Scrap the conference tables and set up the room to facilitate communication and collaboration versus lecture and power trips. Assure that the climate controls provide a relatively constant, moderate temperature, or find a venue where this is possible. And finally, please invite people with colds or flu to go home rather than passing it on to everyone else!

  • Ask for help designing the meeting if you need it. If you're not a facilitator, and even if you are, and you feel stumped as to how to design an energetic and collaborative meeting, there's no shame in asking for help. In fact, you show respect for your participants by asking them how they'd like to spend their time in a meeting and by designing sessions that make the most of it, you respect them even more in a way that will inspire their gratitude.

Do you need help designing a meeting and can't find anyone to bounce ideas of off? That's what I'm here for! Send me an email and let me know how I can help.

Action
 
What will you add from the suggestions above to your workshop planning checklist? If you're a participant, offer this article or suggestions from it to the meeting planners to contribute to a more dynamic and collaborative gathering. 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

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..

When...
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...

Monday
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

Tuesday
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

Wednesday
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

Thursday
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
    -
    Timing
    - Adjusting to group specific needs
    - Managing emotional elements
  • JIT Coaching
    - Permission
    - Observe, question, comment

Friday
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.

Pricing...
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.

Dates...
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."

Registration...

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.

Self-Guided

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.

Self-Guided

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

FacilitatorU.com Membership Option

Become a member of FacilitatorU.com 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.

Testimonials

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.


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