Facilitator Journal | Issue #0387, Mar 31, 2009
and facilitating meetings and relationships online has become something
many of us are now accustomed to. We spend a great deal of time
online these days dealing with email, responding to and making requests,
building collaborations, learning new skills, etc.; time that we
once had available for other things! It's no wonder that we sometimes
use shorthand in our communication with others in this media. But
at what price? In this week's article, "Making it Personal, Virtually"
we discuss keys of netiquette to facilitate better team relationships
in virtual environments.
New Format: Experiential Modules! In an effort to dig deeper and offer more of a participatory experience, We're experimenting with a new format in my teleclass delivery. We'll begin offering a series of short, focused, and experiential modules on very specific skills for facilitators and trainers. Our first one is entitled:
Facilitating Offline Partner Activities, to be conducted Thursday, April 16th. This concise, one-hour module will offer you the opportunity to experience an Offline Partner Activity (OFA) and learn the pitfalls and procedures for effectively setting up and facilitating one yourself. See full details after the article below.
Our Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop scheduled for June is filling up fast...check out this opportunity to learn an Integrally Informed Approach to Facilitation and Leadership. Click here for details and registration.
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it Personal, Virtually
Don't short your emotional bank account in the virtual arena
Group Dynamics Skill
and facilitating meetings and relationships online has become something
many of us are now accustomed to. We spend a great deal of time online these
days dealing with email, responding to and making requests, building collaborations,
learning new skills, etc.; time that we once had available for other things!
It's no wonder that we sometimes use shorthand in our communication with
others in this media. But at what price?
Have you ever walked into a room and just started talking to someone with
out at least first greeting them with a, "Hi Jill."? Or left a
conversation without say goodbye? We wouldn't think of doing this in
person but often do so in our emails with others. Granted, it may be a small
point, but I notice it when I receive emails like this. I even wonder sometimes,
are they talking to me or someone else?
Perhaps we're facilitating a project among a group of peers and just blast
off an email to the group when only a fraction of the whole group needs
to hear it. This is like being in conversation with someone at a party and
yelling out to everyone, "Hey! Let me have your attention please! I
want you all to hear about the topic of a lunch meeting Barbara and I are
planning." Huh? Who cares!
As facilitators, we pay particular attention to relationships, processes,
and tasks and how best to balance these to our group's benefit. Review the
following reminders to help you bring your common sense to relating, communicating,
and facilitating in virtual environments.
Salutation. Start each email with the name of the person you are addressing.
We all like to hear our names and it helps to know who the message is
actually intended for. Though this isn't always successful. Twice in the
past, I received emails from people intended for someone else, also
Email Valediction. How often have you had a conversation with someone
and just walked away when you were done? Close each email at least with
some sign that you're done and preferably, with your name. It's an easy
and simple courtesy.
Who really needs to read this email? We all have way too much email
to wade through each day. Pause before sending an email that you're
copying to others. Address emails only to those they directly concern. By
omitting an email to six people in a group for whom the information is
irrelevant saves the time spent reading and considering that email times
six! Think how much time is wasted by senders not properly filtering their content.
Don't use email
to resolve conflict or disagreements. Emails are a great means of
communication, but when you move into the terrain of conflict or disagreement,
they often do more harm than good. It's just too easy to lose the
intended meaning of the writer in this one dimensional media. I've learned
the hard way that once emotions get involved, communication via email
normally deteriorates with each subsequent message. When you feel disagreement
or negative emotion of any kind in response to an email, it's best to
just pick up the phone or go visit this person to seek understanding.
Encourage online contributions. Online groups like listserves, blogs, electronic forums are used to enhance group learning, cohesion, and
collaboration, and are used by coaches, trainers, managers, and other
group leaders. When facilitating online groups, acknowledge and respond
to all the posts you can until the group begins to take off on its own.
Just as in live groups, more leadership, encouragement, and acknowledgment
is required up front to get people self-facilitating.
Be responsive. How often have you sent an email asking for a response
from a friend or colleague and not heard anything back for days or weeks?
Perhaps some people feel they can't respond until they have time to complete
the task inherent in the email. But this leaves the sender wondering what
happened. It takes little time to reply to an email within a day or two
letting the sender know that their message was received and when they
can expect a response. With all the spam today, it's easy to miss important
emails. This courtesy of acknowledgment helps assure lines of online communication
are open and working.
can you improve the facilitation of your own communication in the virtual realm ? I'd love to hear from you. Send me your experiences and ideas by replying to this email.
This Week's Offer
Experiential Module Course
Facilitating Offline Partner Activities
One of the benefits of live meetings and workshops is the ability to have small groups working at the same time with one another to explore ideas, problems, solutions, learning, and more. This approach not only allows groups to go deeper into collaborative possibilities, it also tends to build intimacy throughout the entire group as participants have one-on-one time with each other. Virtual environments don’t generally lend themselves to asynchronous activities like small group activities. However, we’ve found a way to incorporate them.
We’ve had great success pairing people up into groups of two in many of our teleclasses. Participants often comment that this is one of the most useful things they learn in our classes and are often surprised at how easy and effective these activities can be if you know how to set them up and run them.
What to expect during this session. This concise, one-hour module offers you the opportunity to experience an Offline Partner Activity (OFA), and learn the pitfalls and procedures for effectively setting up and facilitating one yourself. This succinct one-hour laser session will cover the following:
- Benefits of Partner Activities. The value that can be achieved by a virtual group participating in OFA's.
Activity Preparation. Learn what needs to be done before the meeting to ensure that the activity comes off without a hitch.
Initiating Activity. How to set the stage for a successful OFA.
- Large Group Debrief. What to do after the activity to harvest the greatest value from it.
- Activity Type. Types of activities that lend themselves to this format.
Do An Activity. Actually participate in an OFA watching how we execute all the steps.
- Lessons Learned. Review the lessons you learned from the module and get answers to any questions you have about moving forward with your own activity.
What do you get? Here's what comes with the cost of this module:
- Active participation in the course above.
- Viewgraphs used during the presentation.
- Summary sheet that lists all the steps you need to take to set up and conduct your own flawless Offline Partner Activity.
- A recording of the call and webinar.
Format. This course is conducted over a telephone bridge line and webinar platform. The webinar connection is optional as view graphs will be provided prior to the call that can be printed as a backup option.
When? This class will be held on Thursday, April 16th from 10am-11am Pacific (1pm Eastern).
Cost. The cost of the above course is $39. If you are a FaciliatorU member, the cost is $29. If you are a member, contact us for the coupon code if you haven't already received it.
Click below to register and full details for class participation will arrive in your inbox.
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