Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0417, November 10, 2009

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Dear Friends,








Each week after sending out this ezine, I sometimes receive a grateful response to the ideas I share, or a personal story or situation that relates to them. With many issues, I'll not receive any responses. I'm not complaining. I know we're all inundated with Internet information and can't read and respond to everything, nor should we. What I do want to do is share a discovery with you that I believe has some ramifications to facilitation and training.

Let me tell you what I've discovered to be the number one action I can take in my writing and in my training that generates the most response, like clockwork. Are you ready? Here it is: make mistakes. Yes, other people's mistakes get us engaged. Something as simple as a spelling or grammatical error generates a flood of emails to point out my faux pas.

So, I dedicate this issue Using Mistakes as Tools, to explore how we can reframe mistakes as opportunities for learning and engagement in groups. I look forward to your feedback, ideas, and corrections!

Facilitating at a Distance coming December 7th : 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. Register by November 24th at a discount.

Two New Blogs.
I recently started two new blogs. One is on the topic facilitation and allied disciplines at http://facilitatoru.com/blog. Please go there and sign up to receive updates and post your comments and questions. I also started a new blog on health and wellness with a close friend at http://integralongevity.com. We look forward to your comments, questions, and postings there as well.

I'm now a serious LinkedIn Networker!
I'm finally jumping on the bandwagon and diving into the social networking craze. I'm beginning to see the value in it, focusing primarily on LinkedIn for business purposes. If you are a serious open networker and would like to connect, please click here to join my network. Also, if you feel so inclined to leave a recommendation based on my work with this ezine and/or FacilitatorU, I would very much appreciate that!

Blessings,

Steve

Founder, FacilitatorU.com


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facilitator questions
The Point


Using Mistakes as Tools
Embracing mistakes transforms them from problems into solutions.


Self-Facilitation Skill


Each week after sending out this ezine, I sometimes receive a grateful response to the ideas I share, or a personal story or situation that relates to them. With many issues, I'll not receive any responses. I'm not complaining. I know we're all inundated with Internet information and can't read and respond to everything, nor should we. What I do want to do is share a discovery with you that I believe has some ramifications to facilitation and training.

Let me tell you what I've discovered to be the number one action I can take in my writing and in my training that generates the most response, like clockwork. Are you ready? Here it is: make mistakes. Yes, other people's mistakes get us engaged. Something as simple as a spelling or grammatical error generates a flood of emails to point out my faux pas. Why is this so?

It seems to me that we're all trained to seek out and correct mistakes. Look at the way we were educated. Most of us spent nearly the first twenty years of our lives identifying and solving problems. Math classes were all about solving problems. English classes were all about critiquing other's work and correcting mistakes in your own. Every other class was about memorizing information and feeding it back while teachers pointed out our errors. Our news media is all about identifying what's wrong in the world. In fact, I'd venture to guess that nearly 99% of the "news" is about crisis, problems, and mistakes. In business, we're paid for solving problems and penalized for making mistakes. So is it any wonder why we're hyper vigilant about avoiding mistakes and hyper focused on seeking them out and correcting them?

Let's explore how we can use sensitivity to mistakes to our advantage. The following are some tips on how we can use mistakes as opportunities for learning and engagement in groups.


Application


Embrace mistakes and problems as learning opportunities.
To best illustrate this point, I'm going to share a personal story.

It was the mid-90's and I was co-facilitating the first weekend workshop in a workplace development program at our local community college. We had a stiff ground rule during our first all-day session that basically said if you weren’t present at the agreed upon start time, then you were out of the class and the succeeding 16-month program. A student showed up about 30 minutes late for our morning session. He was adamant about attending and seemed to have had an emergency which made him late.

As facilitators we were struggling with what to do, thinking that maybe we were being too strict with our rules, yet wanting to be fair to the rest of the class who showed up on time. It finally occurred to us that, hey, this is a class about life mastery, about leadership, teamwork, and decision-making. We realized that this was a real problem facing us as leaders, so decided to bring it to the class to solve. We facilitated a class discussion and solution of the problem. It turned into a fantastic real life learning experience. It brought the class closer together. It gave them real world practice in collaborative decision-making. The solution they came up with was their solution. It brought the tardy student a great deal of learning and clarity about what the class was about...a heavy duty makeup session if you will…as the center of attention around this dilemma, and to pleading his case to the class cemented his commitment to them and to the program.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. I now preface all of my training programs with the declaration that I will do my best to model good facilitation skills but that I will also make mistakes. I encourage my participants to point out my mistakes and call me on any that they see. I've learned from experience that each time I made a mistake in my trainings and owned up to it, it usually created a great deal of learning for the students. Again, people love to jump in to correct someone else's error and most people love to help people who are sincerely open to receiving it.

Mistakes aren't always about you.
Sometimes what looks like a mistake is actually life having another agenda. Look for clues in mistakes. They may be creating the time, space, or opening for someone to share something, for something more appropriate to happen that will support where the group needs to go.

Embrace "mistakes" as learning opportunities. Earlier this year I had a technical "mistake" that occurred that actually served to bring my group closer together in a way I certainly hadn't planned. Since my stated objective for the session was to build a learning community, I went with what was happening and used the "problem" as an opportunity.

The confluence of problems that showed during this event showed participants how they can be handled in the real world. Many students commented that being party to this problem as it unfolded and my willingness to share my reactions and decision-making process in realtime helped them see that an event like this is survivable. So this glitch had great instructional value, independent of my curriculum design! You can read the full story here.

Mistakes are a normal occurrence. When they show up unexpectedly, which of course by definition they always do, they can present some of the richest learning or barrier removing opportunities available. In unplanned situations, people tend to be more real and react in way that they normally react in the world. These behaviors can give you clues as a facilitator to patterns that might be the true source of some of the problems you've been called in to solve! So watch how your participants respond to mistakes. Both yours and theirs.


Action


How do you typically view mistakes? Is there a shift around mistakes that you'd like to experiment with this week. I'd love to hear your comments on this perspective or experiences you have to share. Please share them 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!

Remove the fear and uncertainty of teleclass/virtual meeting design and facilitation with this 5-day teleclass series: Leading at a Distance: The Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation, led by Steve Davis, Founder of FacilitatorU.com,
December 7th-11th, 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.
  • And much more...

Click here for full details and registration
.


FacilitatorU.com Membership Option

Become a FacilitatorU.com Premium member and purchase for these teleclasses for 30% off the regular 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. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.

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