Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0307, July 10, 2007 ....

Dear friends,
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I hope you're enjoying your summer. As this is the season of vacations, pool parties, and such, I felt the timing was right for an article on facilitating entertainment. In this week's article, I share some of my perspective on facilitating entertainment events and look forward to hearing about your experiences and insights on this subject.

New Meeting Mentor Software Tool. In cooperation with my colleague, Dennis Heidl of, we're offering his popular software tool called the "Meeting Mentor." Offered at a discount this week, this is a great tool for prompting you to move your meetings forward no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher and Founder of

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The Point

Facilitating Entertainment
Good parties require skilled facilitation too!

Group Process Skill

Have you ever been to a party or social gathering where you had the time of your life, and you didn't require a whole lot of alcohol to do so? I'm talking about the kind of gathering where you felt engaged and involved, and where there was something special about the atmosphere that made you feel at ease and connected with everyone there. 

Do these types of events happen by accident or are they carefully orchestrated behind the scenes by some all knowing party wizard? I'm not entirely sure, but I do know from experience that any group event, even social gatherings, can be vastly improved with a little planning and forethought, given not only to the logistics, but to the facilitation of connection and entertainment among your guests. This is an element that many party-givers leave to chance, and many gatherings go flat as a result.

So now you're probably waiting for my sage advice on how to throw a great party, right? Well sorry to disappoint you, but I'm an introverted, cave-dweller, what could I possibly know that could help you here? Let me see if I can make something up.


A couple of summers ago, I was asked by a close friend to do a "roast" for her boyfriend's upcoming birthday gathering. Now I'd never done a roast but I loved the idea. Though shy at times, I do relish the opportunity to be on stage occasionally and to be funny if I can somehow pull that off.

I searched the Internet in hopes of finding tips on party roasting; those that didn't have to do with cooking animal flesh. I came up pretty much empty with the exception of a few one-liners that I could sprinkle in. I realized it would be best if I wrote this myself. But while at times I can be funny, I usually fall into it by accident, so I was unsure how to go about writing and performing in a humorous fashion.

What I do know how to do is to surrender to the creative process while holding a clear intention. Which was, to entertain with uplifting humor, using only minimal insults that truly related to the birthday boy. So, what I did was write a script that I would revisit often to refine with ideas that came to me over a three day period. I also picked up some props at the local thrift shop that not only added spice to the presentation but also inspired new ideas. It all came together an hour before the event and ended up being a big hit and a whole lot of fun to deliver.

So what's the point of this story in light of facilitating entertainment? My point is this. A good party, like any event you might facilitate, takes one part planning, two parts preparation, followed by generous portions of surrender. My roast was only a piece of the overall agenda which my friend thoughtfully compiled, coordinated, and orchestrated. An agenda that was invisible to most but that required planning for location, atmosphere, feeding, timing, etc. Just as my roast required the careful compilation of a script that didn't need to be rigidly adhered to but that contained plenty of material and structure that afforded me the freedom to improvise as desired. Was the preparation all fun and games? Not entirely. Was it free of struggle, like kicking back with a fine glass of wine. Not always. But the end result was well worth the effort, leaving the guests and the honoree something to remember for a long time to come.

This week, think of something you can do to make your next social gathering more rewarding for all concerned. I'd love to hear you're perspectives and experiences. I look forward to your comments, insights or feedback about this article - just click reply and type them directly into this email.


The Big Book of Humorous Training Games,
by Doni Tamblyn and Sharyn Weiss

This book is a must for anyone who is involved with training or in giving presentations. I write and design training materials for a large corporation in which there is a constant need for training on many different levels. I have repeatedly used this book to make even the driest of training materials fun, interesting and interative. The techniques work for all levels of employees from management down to Customer Service Representatives. Now people walk away from training classes retaining far more information than before I found and began using this book. Participation and interest have greatly improved. I highly recommend this book-don't wait another minute longer to buy it! --Karen Tanney--

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In the Spotlight

Meeting Mentor Software

Successful Teams …  Need Successful Meetings. MindSights Meeting Mentor empowers any meeting leader with professional facilitation skills to run successful meetings, every time.    

The Growing Need for Quality Meetings

Patrick Lencioni, author of the popular book Death by Meeting says; “As more of what people do takes place in teams, meetings become the setting in which the really important work gets done. Team and organizational success is becoming more dependant on the quality of its meetings.”

The Meeting Productivity Crisis

The book “How to Make Meeting Work” was written by Michael Doyle over 40 years ago. Yet, current studies still show up to 30% of meetings are unproductive. This equates to over $11 billion dollars of lost US productivity each year.  So what’s the solution?

The Meeting Productivity Solution

Running effective meeting can be very difficult.  But as professional meeting facilitators knows, the critical success factor is NOT about preparing an Agenda but about running the meeting as a Process and elevating meeting participants thinking effectiveness. Skilled meeting leaders do this by using four facilitation skills:

  1. Finding the right 2-3 critical questions to ask meeting participants.
  2. Bringing the right “cognitive” tools to the meeting.
  3. Clearly identifying the meeting purpose and outcomes.
  4. Facilitating meeting process and flow.

The Answer: MindSights Meeting Mentor (MMM)  See Demo

MMM emulates how skilled meeting leaders function and empowers any meeting leader with these same facilitation skills needed to run successful meetings – every time.

This unique self-mentoring software product can benefit you in the following ways.

  1. Help the skilled meeting leader find the right questions to ask and tools to use
  2. Facilitate the novice meeting leader through the entire process to planning and delivering great meetings.
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  4. Use MMM “as is” or customize to fit your meeting.

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