Master Facilitator Journal

I'm in Chicago this week to attend the International Association of Facilitator's (IAF) Conference. Please email me if you're attending so that we can connect. This week's article, Setting the Stage for Inspired Workshops, explores actions you can take to start facilitating your group before you actually meet. We explore the use of media ranging from books, articles, movies, plays, blogs, and music. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please post them using the link at the end of the article.

Madison! Our Summer session of the JOFC Workshop is meeting the week of June 7th in Madison, Wisconsin. Many participants who have attended this workshop have come away transformed in their view of facilitation and their behavior as leaders, facilitators, and as people in general. Even those with intermediate and advanced skills leave the workshop having been impacted both personally and professionally. I'd love to take this workshop journey with you as well if you feel so inclined. Click here for details and registration.

I can honestly say that this workshop transformed my approach to dealing with myself, group dynamics, teaching, and everyday problem solving. I could sing the course praises that would cover the Skagit River shorelines, but I think the best approach would be to experience it yourself!
--2009 Workshop Participant--

IAF Chicago. My colleagues Darin and Harry and I will be presenting a 90-minute session at the IAF conference this Friday afternoon in Chicago. We'll be offering a primer on the theory of our JOFC workshop as well as the opportunity to experience activities and perspectives that facilitate flow and high performance in groups. Please let me know if you'll be there so we can connect.

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.


Steve Davis



journey of facilitation

The Point

Setting the Stage for Inspired Workshops
Start facilitating your group before you meet.

Logistics Skill

I'm sure many of you have had the experience of an inner shift beginning once you've committed to some important future action. This might be enrolling in a spiritual retreat, an intensive personal growth program, a graduate program, a commitment to counseling or coaching, etc.

This is testament to the fact that whatever we put our attention on grows. When we begin to to be "witness" to our own self-awareness, skills, attitudes, or behaviors, they have a way of self-adjusting. And, our capacity for change and development around the point of focus intensifies.

I find that there are some relatively easy things we can do with our groups before we actually meet with them. These activities can be as simple as suggesting ways for participants to begin to shift their attention in the direction of the work they're about to do with their upcoming workshop. We've included some ideas below you might like to consider when setting the stage for your future groups.


Tips for warming up your workshop participants prior to an event:

1. Suggest certain books or articles to read.
Send these suggestions to participants before the workshop giving them enough time to read and digest them. Include short articles, summaries, or key points for those who might not have time to read a lot before hand. You may also pose a couple of questions for them to consider as they reflect on their reading in service to your work together.

2. Create a set of sequential questions, that build upon each other, to evoke thinking about the topic. Send them to the participants using a sequential autoresponder. Either collect the answers and use them as part of the meeting documentation or just pose them as a way to stimulate thinking in preparation for your workshop.

3. Suggest listening to musical selections. Consider the emotional tone that certain musical pieces might elicit to align participants with the theme of your work together. These pieces can be reused in your workshop to recall and reinforce this tone while you're engaged in the work. Here's a site that offers a good overview of how to use various musical styles in presentations:

4. Suggest viewing a movie or a segment of a movie. Movies can have a powerful impact on us. Imagine assigning movies for participants to watch prior to coming to your workshop. For example, think about the movie, "Mission," and how it spoke to man's ability to creating a sense of purpose and how to forgive one's self. Consider the barn raising scene from "Witness" in support of team-building. Or think about how "Phenomenon" made you feel about what human's are capable of.

5. Prepare your group with a fresh, provocative and inspiring performance work. A close friend of mine and true Master Facilitator, Debbie Phillips, once led a workshop called, "Igniting The Possibilities Within You" in New York City. In preparation for this workshop the night before, she hosted a private performance of a fabulous play called "Women On Fire" by playwright Irene O'Garden. By doing this, Debbie created a rich context to draw upon with the group the next day.

6. Use technology to begin community building. In many of my classes, I begin to get people engaged about a week before the class starts. I direct everyone to a class blog and invite introductions, query people about what they want out of the class, and inspire interaction so that people get a sense of each other before the official start of the class. This gives the group a head start in breaking the ice, and gives me a head start in getting to know them and tailoring the class to their needs.

7. Have a series of specific pre-meetings to prepare the group for the main event. These meetings can focus on preparing the group for one specific aspect of the larger overall meeting. For example, you and your participants might find it very useful to know and understand their Myers-Briggs Temperaments or Learning Styles prior to engaging in deeper work with the group.

8. Hold pre-event interviews with the participants. By asking the participants specific and probing questions around the meeting subjects, the facilitator can begin stimulating thinking about topics to be covered. This is also a powerful tool for discovering where the group happens to be around the topics to be covered.

Add Your Comments


What could you do to more effectively "set the stage" for your future workshop? We'd love to hear from you. Please click on the Add Your Comments link above and share your thoughts, stories, and experiences. I'd love to hear from you!

This Week's Offer

Becoming a Learning Facilitator Self-Guided Teleclass

Are you ready to learn the specific skills and tools needed to catapult your participants to a higher level of engaged and passionate learning? 

Join us for this 5-hour, pre-recorded TeleClass with founder Steve Davis.

o Are you stumped when it comes to engaging the people in your trainings?

o Are you wondering why your participants don't want to get involved?

o Are you tired of trying to teach those who don't want to learn?

If you answered 'yes' to one or more of these questions, you're not alone! Delivering your message in a way that truly engages participants and leads to optimal learning is one of the biggest challenges faced by group facilitators.

The key is to shift from being a 'teacher'  to a 'co-creator', empowering the group to learn in ways you could not have planned.. Adults don't want to be 'taught' anymore. They got enough of that in school. 

Become a Learning Facilitator is a 5-hour TeleClass series designed to help you make the leap from conventional teaching to the skills, attitudes, and practices necessary to create and facilitate a learning environment.

Led by Steve Davis, founder of, this course is for facilitators, trainers, teachers, and coaches who want to deliver experiential training for groups in a way that's fun, engaging, and interactive, and you'll take it from the comfort of your own home or office.

I became inspired and awakened to a new possibility. It's a possibility that instead of being a teacher, I discovered that I am very passionate about facilitating learning. This is what I am fundamentally all about, and I was turned on by the conversation, the facilitation, the tools and the community of learners that were present.
--Annie Hammond, Life Coach

By the end of this TeleClass series, you will have:

- Enhanced your love of teaching and training.
- Learned new ways to get your participants excited about learning again.
- Learned to listen for, encourage, and nurture what's important to participants.
- Learned to package your material in a way that better relates to your participants.
- Learned to connect with the group in a way that's rewarding for you both.
- Become a better listener and communicator.
- Released the burden of trying to make learning happen.
- Collaborated and learned from a community of your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.

This teleclass not only delivered facilitation techniques and information, it also aroused in me a new awareness of why I want to teach, train, mentor, and facilitate. Steve taught us how to sow seeds in people's hearts that can grow and sustain resourcefully and powerfully. The class has added a value to my coaching and my life. Thank you! --Bonnie Chan, Business Coach

Training Agenda...

Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this course...

Exploring the Landscape of Learning

- What is "Learning?" Who Learns? Who teaches?
- Review distinctions between Teaching, Training, Mentoring, Coaching, and Facilitating
- The Content/Process Paradox

Changing the Paradigm
- Shift from Director to Guide
- "Ability to do" vs. Info delivery
- Shifts for students and for teachers
- Relating to shifts in worldviews
- From curriculum development to needs assessment

Becoming a Learning Facilitator
- Characteristics
- Core Values
- Inner Shifts Required
- Methods
- Tools and Tactics

Learning Models
- Temperaments
- VAK Attack
- Learning Cycle
- Multiple Intelligences
- Brain-Based Learning
- Communities of Practice
- KOLB Learning Cycle
- The Art of the Question
- Open Space Technology

Steve's relaxed and personable style lend credence to his message. His delivery is strong and the materials that he has collected are an asset to be treasured by anyone who is in the business of training or making presentations. The classes were easy to attend and very thorough. Given a chance, I would like to do it again. --Robert Brannan, Eldercoach


Also included with your training...

In addition to the training described above, you also receive:

- Content rich 50-page Student Learning Guide
- Access to the MP3 version of the training
- Many additional resources and references

Steve's relaxed and personable style lend credence to his message. His delivery is strong and the materials that he has collected are an asset to be treasured by anyone who is in the business of training or making presentations. The classes were easy to attend and very thorough. Given a chance, I would like to do it again. --Robert Brannan, Eldercoach

Self-Guided 5-Day MP3 Audio Version

If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the MP3 audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. You'll be provided with access to recorded offerings of the five-hour teleclass (5 hours total) that you can listen to online and follow along in the learning guide is used in the live class. Click here to purchase for $79.


Click here to purchase the
MP3 Audio Version for $79

Self-Guided 5-Day CD Version
The Compact Disk (CD) version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with 5 CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen to anywhere you have access to a CD player.


Click here to purchase the CD Version for $89

plus $4 Shipping and Handling

This teleclass held my attention, kept me thinking, and gave me inspiring ideas and tools that I look forward to using in my next workshop. --Sherry Leblanc, Executive Life Coach

The Learning Facilitator course gave me a new perspective in how I will approach my training. The idea of co-creating with my students is very energizing and I look forward to taking new risks in the future. --Marsha Benedetti, Education Resources Coordinator


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. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case. Membership Option

Become a member of premium member and receive this self-guided teleclass at half price in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

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