Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0372, Dec 9, 2008

Dear Friends,
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One of our readers asked for a follow-up to last weeks article, Be a Catalyst for Clarity that offers tips to moves participants into action after the group is over. In a training environment, action might equate to applying what was learned in the group. In an issue resolution or problem-solving session, action would equate to doing what the group agreed to do. This week's article, Facilitate Action, offers some tips to facilitate action in your groups. And as always, I look forward to your ideas and experiences in this arena.

Check out our special discount offer on self-guided teleclasses at the end of this issue.

There are still a couple of slots open in our upcoming Journey of Collaboration and Facilitation workshop coming to Madison Wisconsin the week of January 12th. I would love to meet some of you there in person. The workshop is highly experiential and brings an integral focus to facilitation that we feel is lacking in many trainings of this type. Details, testimonials, and a recorded teleclass explaining this offering can be found here.

We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community. Please continue to send the wonderful feedback.



journey of collaboration

The Point

Facilitate Action
Create an environment where group outcomes are put into practice.

Group Dynamics Skill

As a trainer and facilitator, and someone who often trains trainers and facilitators, I often ask myself this question, "What constitutes success in a group?" Whether the group is seeking to learn something new, or to carry out a plan of action in response to a problem or opportunity, success usually equates to participants getting certain results, results that come from taking action. So what does it take for people to actually do what they learned or decided to do in a group that you're facilitating?

In my opinion, this is one of those questions, that we'll probably always ask. Still, there are some things we can do to pave the way for groups to get the results they're after. I offer a few tips below and look forward to hear your ideas as well.


Clarify the results we want.
Because this is such an obvious point, it's often overlooked. Spend time before, during, and after a group session to find out, specifically, what your group wants to learn or accomplish as a result of coming together. Results will be either tangible or intangible.

Here's an example statement of a tangible result: After we adjourn this communication workshop, we want to see a decrease in problem complaints by 50% as a result of clearer communication. Here's an example statement of an intangible result: Within 30 days after we adjourn this communication workshop, I want to feel more connected with my peers.

Measure desired results. Having a means of measuring results is essential to achieving them. For example, there's no way to tell if customer complaints have decreased unless you measure them before and after implementing a new action. When it comes to intangible results, some subjective measure can be used. Using the above example, have participants rate their feeling of connectedness with their peers before the start of the workshop. Then ask them to do this again 30 days after. Even though a feeling is subjective, the "subject" will have some sense for how they're feeling in the present. But without a baseline to measure against, a change may sometimes go unnoticed.

Get into action in the workshop. It's no accident that most adult training these days are experientially based. When participants are given the opportunity to try out new behaviors real time, they have an opportunity to practice them and get feedback on their performance. Design opportunities for practical application in your workshops and groups. I use the Kolb Learning Cycle to help me keep my workshops experiential. See a past article I wrote on this subject here.

Vary modes of instruction. Research has shown that introducing information and experience via multiple pathways such as through visual, aural, kinesthetic channels, and use of logical linear data in addition to non-linear use of metaphor, stories, etc., can help ground learning.

Focus on head, hand, and heart. While typical education focuses on intellectual information, it doesn't usually move us internally as much as experiences that are emotional or inspirational. Allowing space and providing opportunities to get to the heart of the matter and the hearts of your participants will have a great impact on later action.

Assign action partners. Another strategy is to offer people the opportunity to partner with each other near the end of a group session to work on an action plan. Ask them to develop clear measurable action steps they plan to take to discuss and resolve barriers that might get in the way of this, and a schedule to check in with each other to support the actions being taken.


Try introducing one or more of the above strategies to improve the results your participants get in your groups. Also, please share any strategies not listed that you've found to be effective. Please
send us your questions and comments.

This Week's Offer

This Week's Offer

Check out our selection of self-guided teleclasses below. Each package provides a learning guide, several hours of MP3 recorded class hours and bonus support materials. These trainings are also available for posting on your corporate intranet. Please contact us to discuss this option.

** Purchase any of the sessions below for a 25% discount**

Click on the courses you're interested in below. Purchase the option you wish. Click the back button to continue shopping for additional items. Enter coupon code TELECLASSES. Your discount will be computed at checkout. Offer good until this Saturday, December 13th.

Random Acts of Facilitation

This class covers 25 discrete facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for facilitators at any level 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. Being discrete acts of facilitation, they also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

Facilitating at a Distance: The Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation.

This class is for those of you wanting to offer a teleclass but don't feel you have all the skills and knowledge you need to do so, or for managers working with distributed teams that require you to facilitate virtual meetings. See details at the end of this issue. This class will teach you methods, skills, and processes to employ this inexpensive way to train, collaborate, and problem-solve using Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings. Remove the fear and uncertainty of teleclass/virtual meeting design and facilitation.
Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

conflict resolutionTransforming Conflict in the Workplace

Would you be a more effective facilitator or leader with a more solid base of conflict resolution skills under your belt? All organizations and relationships encounter conflict. It's what we do with it that makes all the difference in the world. In this class you will learn conflict resolution skills for facilitative leaders by exploring and evaluating your own styles and personal responses conflict, learning and practicing conflict resolution strategies in the context of group facilitation, and exploring how you can implement conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

The Improvisational Facilitator

This highly experiential teleclass presents powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class is very interactive and uses many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. You'll learn ways to become a better facilitator by experimenting with improv techniques, and increase your confidence and creativity to make your plan become more flexible and spontaneous. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule.
See details here.

Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch

This 5-hour teleclass will walk you through the building blocks of designing and delivering effective experiential workshops. It will cover all the elements of workshop design using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. You'll have the opportunity in this class to complete the design of your own workshop with the help of fellow students and instructors. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here

Becoming a Learning Facilitator

Make the shift from teaching to "Learning Facilitation." This course explores how to make the leap from conventional teaching approaches to a new perspective based on the learner and incorporating facilitation skills and philosophy into the learning environment. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

Putting Out Brush Fires... How to intervene in difficult group situations
Do nonstop talkers, silent groups or dramatic conflicts ever knock your meetings off track? These meeting situations take a toll on a group’s ability to work together and cost time and money. This 5-hour teleclass, taught by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings! Great Results, will increase your ability to know when and how to intervene effectively in difficult situations to get your meetings back on track. Each session includes a short content presentation, discussion, demonstration, participant exercise, debrief, and discussion of application. This course if for anyone who facilitates, manages, teaches, mediates, coaches, counsels, directs any group. See details here.

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