Master Facilitator Journal


Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0408, September 8, 2009

Dear Friends,
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I enjoy airplane metaphors, perhaps because I'm a private pilot and fly them occasionally. While reflecting the other day on what I believe to be core acts of facilitation, a series of airplane metaphors came to me. One thing I most value about metaphors is that once they are felt and understood they tend to become part of us. They become tools we can rely on to guide us in the future. This week's article Are You Ready to Fly? explores a series of flying metaphors that may help you someday when you and your group are flying through a figurative storm.

Facilitating at a Distance coming September 28th: 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.

Labor Day Special.
In honor of Labor Day in the U.S. we're offering you and your friends the gift of a discounted FacilitatorU Lifetime Membership. Go here to view the features of this offer and enter the coupon code "holiday" to receive your discount.

Blessings,

Steve
Founder, FacilitatorU.com

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The Point


Are You Ready to Fly?
Working in groups is a lot like flying a plane.


Group Dynamics Skill


I enjoy airplane me
taphors, perhaps because I'm a private pilot and fly them occasionally. While reflecting the other day on what I believe to be core acts of facilitation, a series of airplane metaphors came to me. One thing I most value about metaphors is that once they are felt and understood they tend to become part of us. They become tools we can rely on to guide us in the future.

To that end, I share with you a series of flying metaphors that may help you someday when you and your group are flying through a figurative storm.


Application


Just as in flying an airplane, in facilitation...

We need to plot a course to know where we’re going.
This is why we have agendas in meetings and facilitator guides in work groups. Without them, we usually drift aimlessly.

We must continually make course corrections. Just as aircraft are seldom actually on course, if we are clear about where we're trying to go in our groups and we continue to make corrections when we're not heading in that direction, we’ll get to our destination.

We need basic operating rules. Flight attendants tell us to turn off our electronic devices, stay in the plane, and give up our weapons before coming onboard the aircraft to assure we get to our destination safely. Consequently, in group work certain basic operating guidelines or ground rules help us get the job done safely, efficiently, and effectively.

We note but don't divert to appealing destinations. We may find an interesting topic that's not in our plan as we move through our agenda. This is fine, and most of the time it's best to note these issues or ideas in a Parking Lot to be resolved in the near future.

We are kind to our fellow participants. Just as in an aircraft full of passengers, group work can feel confining and unpleasant at times, especially when working with people who may not be our best friends. This is all the more reason to be respectful of one another, owning our feelings and discomforts and not projecting them onto others.

When clouds form, we need instruments to guide us. When flying without visual reference to the ground, a pilot must scan key instruments to keep the plane upright and on course. We need to learn key indicators to watch for in groups and intervene actively when heading into dangerous territory. See last week's article for some basic instruments:

Sometimes we get antsy because we’re not there yet. Relax, and check to see that we're still on course. If so, it will take as long as it takes to get to our destination. Keep the doors closed, stay with the process, and keep moving forward. If you're off course, consult with the pilot.

We don't rush off as soon as we arrive! Please remain seated until the plane comes to a complete stop. We may have reached our end point, but we’re not done yet! Get everything in order for effective follow through. Document and agree to action items, decisions, assign accountable parties, evaluate the meeting process, and set up dates for the next meeting. See our recent article on strategies to facilitate follow through.

We hope you enjoyed your flight...



Action


How can you use the lessons from the airplane metaphor above? Please share your thoughts and experiences with me by replying to this email.


This Week's Offer

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

Virtual Meetings

Have you considered offering a teleclass as a more efficient way to deliver training, enhance group learning and generate more income for your business? Or, are you working with a distributed team that requires you to design and facilitate virtual meetings?

When done right, Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings (T/VM) are very effective and inexpensive ways to train, collaborate, and problem-solve. But if they aren't effectively facilitated, T/VM's can be a boring waste of time!

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September 28th-October 2nd, 2009, 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern (NY Time),
60 minutes each day.


This class covers all the elements of T/VM facilitation using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. This course, that you can take from the comfort of your own home or office, is for facilitators, trainers, coaches, who want to design relevant, engaging, experiential workshops for groups using a simple, proven formula that's easy to apply to any workshop topic.

Learn how to design and run a T/VM that will maximize the use of your group's time and energy.

By the end of the 5 days, you will:

  • Have learned the key skills needed to effectively facilitate a Teleclass/Virtual Meeting.Know how to balance interactivity with meeting purpose.  Become familiar with the 10 modes of delivering learning and information in a virtual environment.Know mistakes to avoid when facilitating your T/VM.Learn the 7 Keys to the Inner Game of T/VM Facilitation.
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