Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0325, December 18, 2007

Dear friends,
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One of the keys to getting results with groups is creating a safe space for people to express what they might not otherwise share. But in a world where judgment is rampant, most of us have learned to keep our guard up and to be very careful about what we say, especially if it's of a personal nature. In this week's article, "Notice What Works," we explore the use of discernment in favor of judgment to help groups identify their most effective path.

I'm looking for a Site Manager. Just last week I made a major life decision that will take me away from the world for six months starting late in April of 2008. I'm participating in a teacher training around a spiritual discipline called "Ascension." I'll be living in community with 30 other participants and spending most of my waking hours in meditation and reflection. Events have aligned in my life in such a way as to offer me the rare opportunity to undertake such an adventure, one that is sure to change my life significantly and increase the depth of my service upon my return. One major thing that I have left to deal with is how to maintain the business of FacilitatorU while I'm gone. Therefore, I'm seeking a manager to take over the functions of this company in my absence. This presents a great opportunity for an existing facilitator or trainer seeking to build a web presence for themselves. Please see full details after the article and pass the word to anyone whom you think might be a good fit for this opportunity.


Steve Davis
Publisher and Founder of

FacilitatorU membership

Click here for detail

This Meeting Sux
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Random Acts of Facilitation

Click here for details

The Point

Notice What Works
Use discernment in favor of judgment to help
groups identify their most effective path.

Self-Mastery Skill

One of the keys to getting results with groups is creating a safe space for people to express what they might not otherwise share. But in a world where judgment is rampant, most of us have learned to keep our guard up and to be very careful about what we say, especially if it's of a personal nature.

Before we continue, lets draw a distinction between "judgment" and "discernment." By "judgment," I mean placing a label of right or wrong, good or bad on something or someone. I use the term "discernment" to denote the act of simply noticing observable facts.

For example, consider one of your participants, we'll call him "Joe," who continues to take the floor and lead the group on tangents. If we called Joe a troublemaker or a jerk for this behavior, we would be making a judgment of him. However, if we instead used discernment, we might say that every time Joe speaks, he seems to speak about things other than what the rest of the group is talking about.

See the difference? Judgment casts blame, which often inspires guilt. Using discernment, we simply notice what's going on in a factual way.

As facilitators, we want to use discernment and avoid making judgments. To support our groups, we use discernment to help them discover what's working and what isn't. Discernment language comes from a neutral stance, and when directed at an individual, it's difficult for them to take offense. However, when a judgment is made, offense is almost always taken. And judgment tends to make us defensive or withdrawn.

So, mindful facilitators are accepting of all people, they don't make judgments of people's behavior. However, they are adept at discerning functional from dysfunctional behaviors and inquiring into the perceived value of such behaviors.


Using discernment instead of judgment gives you the opportunity to call out questionable behaviors and let the owners of this behavior decide whether they want to continue it or not.

Now I know that most of you are probably well aware of the distinction between judgment and discernment. But what if you were to teach this distinction to your participants, offering them the opportunity to practice it as well? How might that impact their communication and teamwork?

For example, consider a group within which you notice judgment being cast toward particular teammates. Sue tells Bob that he's a procrastinator. Bob snaps back calling Sue an Army sergeant. These of course are judgments, judgments that don't necessarily communicate the true nature of the behaviors.

Suppose you were to coach Sue and Bob to express to one another their observations of the other's behavior instead of making judgments. For instance, you might say something like, "Sue and Bob, how are these perspectives you have of one another working for you? Are they helping you improve your working relationship? Helping you to be more productive?"

They both respond with, "Well no, not really."

You've then created an opening to coach Sue and Bob to move past their judgment and to describe instead, the particular behaviors that caused them to judge in the first place. Once behaviors are defined, help them sort out the feelings that these behaviors trigger, causing them to lash out at one another. After all, if you don't like the color red, do you get mad at apples? Of course not! It's just a color, it's not personal.
Help people separate what is from what they feel about it and you'll be well on your way to helping them use discernment in favor of judgment.


How can you use discernment in your work with groups? Please click reply and share your comments. I'd love to hear from you. Please click reply and share your comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Job Announcement Manager

As manager of, you will be responsible for all administration and sales functions of this web business. We are seeking a person, preferably with a background in facilitation and training, to take this position on a trial basis for six-months. At the end of this term, we will evaluate options to make the position permanent or possibly convert it into a partnership arrangement. This position presents a wonderful opportunity for someone seeking to develop or expand skills in the e-business and virtual training arena

Job Description:

* Duties include day-to-day customer service requests, including responding to email inquiries, correcting problems with orders, filling orders, etc.
* Administration of associated websites and ecommerce systems.
* Publish the weekly Master Facilitator Journal ezine.
* Make improvements to site content and functionality as required.
* You'll set your own hours, but we're assuming around 10 hours/week. There will be a profit-sharing arrangement that allows you to benefit based on your efforts and desires. Options include making contact with leaders in the field to conduct and record interviews to be added to product library, development and delivery of teleclasses in the group leadership arena, and new marketing initiatives, etc.


* Experience and interest in facilitation, training, and leadership.
* Broadband Internet connection.
* Basic computer, Internet and email experience.
* Experience with an html editor.
* Excellent telephone communication skills.
* Excellent writing and editing skills.
* Ability and desire to work independently, self-motivated.
* Familiarity with ecommerce preferred.


* Base salary plus profit sharing.
* The opportunity and foundation to get to know high profile facilitators around the world.
* Opportunity to learn about building, managing, and marketing an online business.
* Grow your personal network.
* Possibility of becoming a partner in the business.
* This position could look really good on a resume.

If this position interests you, please contact me and provide a summary resume, and tell me about your interests and what you would bring to this position.


Note to Publishers
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In the Spotlight

5-day Teleclass
for new facilitators and change agents.

Skills and attitudes for the new facilitator or group member who wants to get their group into serious motion.

25 Actions You Can Take to Empower Any Group

This class will meet for five consecutive weekdays January 28th - February 1st, 2008 to cover 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for beginning facilitators or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the 5 days (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday afternoon, or sooner if you wish.
3. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Relating with compassion and understanding.

6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Organizing and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally, and authentically. 

17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message

Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Never waste another minute in an ineffective meeting again.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in contact with.
4. Learn skills to help groups make quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
5. Be a catalyst for positive change in your community.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
2. Access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
3. F$ree copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

Pricing and Dates...
The full cost of training/access is only $99, which includes a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. Class meets at 1:00-2:00pm Eastern daily, January 28 - February 1, 2008.
Register by January 4th for only $89!

Please click here and you'll be taken to the teleclass registration page. Register there and you'll see your discount computed and applied as you check out. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Register by January 4th for only $89!

Self-Guided Versions of the course...

The Real Audio version
comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with real audio links you'll receive by mail that you can listen to at your leisure.


Click here to purchase the
Real Audio Version for $79

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 $89
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.

About the satisfaction guarantee

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, 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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