Master Facilitator Journal


Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0387, Mar 31, 2009

Dear Friends,
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Communicating 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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A Free Ecourse: Five Inner Secrets of Facilitative Leadership. This 5-day ecourse addresses the essential attitudes and perspectives you need to be an effective facilitator, trainer, or group leader.

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Blessings,

Steve
Founder, FacilitatorU.com

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experiential module

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The Point

Making it Personal, Virtually

Don't short your emotional bank account in the virtual arena


Group Dynamics Skill


Communicating 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.



Application

 

Email 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 named "Steve"!

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.
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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.



Action


How 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 moduleExperiential 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.


FacilitatorU.com Membership Option

Become a member of FacilitatorU.com and receive option 1 and a host of other items and benefits at an incredibly discounted price. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

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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. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.
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