Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0274, October 17, 2006 ....

Dear friends,

As facilitators, particularly when you're training, have you ever felt compelled to speak fast and spill out the goods in order to keep people interested and engaged? In a world where the McDonald's paradigm often infiltrates our better intentions, how often do you let quantity trump quality and speed overcome depth? I know I've done this before. I get caught up in the moment, loose myself...and the group, in my frantic desire to deliver the agenda! If as a trainer, you tend to show like a broadband dataport, check out this week's article, "Beware of the McDonalds Approach to Group Leadership," for some tips on becoming more of a catalyst for group understanding.

Improv Skills Solve Facilitator's Greatest Fears! A strong statement? Perhaps. And I've found the improv skills taught by Sue Walden in this 5-day teleclass, "The Improvisational Facilitator," to be life changing whether you apply them to facilitation or to any other endeavor that involves relating to others, to yourself, and to your own creativity. This class presents powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. Highly interactive, and using many innovative experiential activities, this class will surely surprise you, and always receives rave reviews. Come join us next week starting Monday, October 23rd.

Are you an executive, manager, or supervisor troubled by high turnover, low morale, and low productivity? We're now offering a two-day workshop providing skills and tools to move organizations forward by developing a new type of leadership--a coaching style of leadership that builds and sustains workplace relationships that yield new levels of productivity. Click here for details.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


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Live Two-Day Workshop
for Facilitative Leaders

The Point

Beware of the McDonalds Approach to Group Leadership
Follow your natural rhythm to stay connected
with yourself and your group

Self-Facilitation Skill

As facilitators, particularly when you're training, have you ever felt compelled to speak fast and spill out the goods in order to keep people interested and engaged? In a world where the McDonalds paradigm often infiltrates our better intentions, do you let quantity trump quality and speed overcome depth? I know I've done this before. I get caught up in the moment, loose myself...and the group, in my frantic desire to deliver the agenda!

Most of us already suffer from information obesity and we're starving for quality, depth, and connection. And though we're conditioned to respond to high speed, broadband relationships, I believe we all yearn for a taste of thoughtful sincerity that touches our souls.


How do we deal with this pervasive expectation to deliver a lot of information quickly, keep it compelling, and still connect with our audience and their needs?

  • Slow down. When we're spilling out information in broadband mode, we're in our heads and it's difficult to connect with ourselves, much less our audience. When you slow down and connect with yourself, you have access to your intuition and to your senses. These tools allow you to tune in to your audience and sense the nuances of their energy and behavior, giving you clues as to whether they're really interested in what you're sharing and how well their connecting with it. Slowing down also gives them space to interact with you so that you can respond to what they want to know in the moment.

  • Less is more. These days, information is cheap and incredibly easy to get. Don't waste your time and that of your participants downloading information. Assume that all of your participants can read and deliver necessary information in an email before or after your meeting. Spend your time instead co-creating knowledge that is first, desired by your participants, and second, practical enough for them to put into immediate action. Just enough knowledge, that's readily useable, is of increasing value today.

  • Be a facilitator of experience and understanding. When we focus on "learning" instead of "training," we have to work at stepping into our client's perspective. Much of this point of view won't be available until we're in the room with them. That means improvising is a given. I find that the more I practice the scales on my guitar, the better improvisor I become. This goes for group work as well. It's paradoxical but true that the better prepared you are with a clear plan, that includes contingencies to deal with what's likely to happen, the better prepared you'll be to flex your agenda and respond to your group's needs in the moment.

  • It's not all about you. How would you feel if you could stand in a group you are training or facilitating for five minutes or more without doing a thing or saying a word? You're not doing or saying anything because your group is self-facilitating a discussion that is right on track. Could you live with that? I find this happens often in my groups and requires setting up a context, and operating with the attitude that I'm at times a catalyst rather than a performer. In a bright group of individuals, it's not you who will always have all the right information, energy, ideas, or support that everyone needs. No one can possibly be that person. But if you build a context for connection, listening, and dialogue, everyone will hear one another and they'll be space for people to meet each other's needs for information and relationship in real time.

Learn more about facilitating learning experiences with our "Becoming a Learning Facilitator" self-guided telecourse and/or learning guide. Click here to learn more.

How can you become more of a catalyst with groups? Please click reply and share your comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Experiential Training & Development Alliance Super Summit

Each year the Experiential Training & Development Alliance (ETDA) hosts the Super Summit, an intimate gathering of the top Experiential Training and Development Professionals in the industry committed to enhancing professional practices, building skills, deepening relationships, learning new ways to think about our work, and having fun. Limited to 50 participants, the 2006 Summit will be held at Sunrise Springs, outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico ( This welcoming, informal atmosphere provides the perfect setting for this group to come together. For more information visit or contact, (866) 733-7607, (919) 732-1784.

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In the Spotlight

The Improvisational Facilitator

It's easier than you think...your life is already an improv!

Learn improv techniques to become a more effective facilitator, trainer, and group leader

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 think 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 5-day teleclass.

October 23rd-27th, 2006, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time), 75 minutes each day.

A week after the course I have found myself talking about and actually using the techniques taught! The experiential based learning really worked for me and I learnt whilst having fun – always a good way to retain new learnings. The course has provided me with a toolkit of great techniques to improve my own facilitation, as well as some enjoyable exercises to use with delegates. I have nothing but praise for both Sue and Steve, who walked their talk with their own facilitation skills – they simply flowed through the course with grace and intelligence. The content, the materials and the facilitators is 5 star stuff and I highly recommend it to any facilitator.
--Amanda Alexander, Coach and Founder of

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