Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0445, May 25, 2010

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Dear Friends,

This week, I want to keep it light and playful, and as always, practical. Harry Webne-Behrman is a close friend and co-leader of the JOFC workshop in Madison and an expert on conflict resolution. Harry loves trying to teach me Yiddish phrases and loves it even more when I try to use them. Last week while working on an Intervention model, I discovered that the keys to intervention actually lie in an ancient and rather commonly used yiddish phrase. I share these ancient secrets with you in this week's article, OIVEY, the Lost Secrets of Intervention. I hope you enjoy it!

Putting Out Brush Fires Self-Guided Teleclass. Learn how to intervene in difficult group situations. See details after the article.

New Fractal Facilitation Model.
Check out our new comprehensive guide to designing and facilitating Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings based on a new Fractal Facilitation Model. Check out details here.

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


conflict resolution

assessment primer

The Point

OIVEY, the Lost Secrets of Intervention
Always have a simple model for intervention in your back pocket.

Group Process Skill

This week, I want to keep it light and playful, and as always, practical. Harry Webne-Behrman is a close friend and co-leader of the JOFC workshop in Madison and an expert on conflict resolution. Harry loves trying to teach me Yiddish phrases and loves it even more when I try to use them. Last week while working on an Intervention model, I discovered that the keys to intervention actually lie in an ancient and rather commonly used yiddish phrase.

The keys lie in the yiddish term, "oi vey," of which I took the liberty to edit the spelling somewhat. According to Wikipedia, Oy vey, or just oy is an exclamation of dismay or exasperation meaning "oh woe." You have to admit, during those times when groups are running awry, this word says it all!

Oy, enough already! What about the secrets of intervention you've teased me about?

OK, here we go, I'll now share with you the secrets to intervention embedded in this slightly modified yiddish term that I believe will really help in times of exasperation, or better yet, prevent all together.


O for Observation: The first thing we do in groups is observe the group’s behavior. What are they actually doing that might be described by an objective observer?

For example, let's say that you're running a meeting and you notice that John is constantly looking at the clock.

I for Infer: We all make inferences, and often attach meaning as well to others' behaviors. It's important to understand that the meaning you attach to the group’s behavior is your own and is typically not shared universally by the others involved. As human beings, we can’t escape making inferences, especially when we’re attempting to diagnose group process. Simply be aware that you’re making an inference, and be aware of its nature.

You infer that John is fixated on the clock because he is bored with the meeting and wants it to be over.

V for Verify: Verify your inference with the group by sharing it out loud to see if it's true.

You share your observation and inference with John to find out what's true for him. "John, I notice that you're frequently glancing at the clock. I'm wondering if we're doing something here that causes you to want to be elsewhere. Is that accurate?

John replies, "Well, actually yes and no. My daughter lives out of state and is about to have a baby. They estimate delivery at around 2pm. I'm expecting a call around that time and I have to admit, while I know she's in good hands, I'm a bit anxious about not being there with her. I think the meeting is going fine and I'm sorry about being distracted.

E for Explore: Now that you know what's going on in the mind(s) of the group member(s), you can explore alternatives with them to resolve the issue.

Thanks for clarifying that for us John. Is there anything you need from us right now?

Thanks for asking. Just bear with me please and if I get a call, know that I'm leaving the room to get news about her. And hopefully, I'll return and ask you to help me celebrate being a new grandfather!

Y is for Yield. Once observations and inferences have been shared and explored with the group, yield to any decision the group wants to make around the issue.

So, can everyone live with John's request or are there other suggestions or requests?

One group member suggests that John come back with cigars as part of the celebration. Many of the group members being non-smokers suggest that that part of the celebration be performed outside on the office patio. Everyone agrees and overall the group offers resounding support for John and whatever he needs to do.

So there you have it. The secrets of Intervention locked inside an ancient term. Who knew! Let me know what you think.

Add Your Comments


How will you use the OIVEY intervention in your meetings, groups, and conversations? Or, have you already used it and had an interesting results? 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

Putting Out Brush Fires...

ow to intervene in
difficult group situations

Self-Guided Teleclass

Learn how to effectively intervene when things heat up in your groups

After nearly 30 years of facilitation I was both surprised and pleased at the level of learning and number of new insights I gained from this excellent teleclass. The trainers modeled outstanding facilitation skills, and the format was highly interactive and very engaging. The teleclass was administered flawlessly and was customer friendly. I'd recommend this class to anyone who wants to become a better facilitator.
--Mary Hoagland

The Teleclass...
Do non-stop talkers, silent groups or dramatic conflicts ever knock your meetings off track? These meeting situations take a toll on a group’s ability to work together and cost time and money. This 5 hour teleclass, taught by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings! Great Results, will increase your ability to know when and how to intervene effectively in difficult situations to get your meetings back on track. You will find the course Putting out Brush Fires: Intervening in Difficult Situations to be highly interactive. Each class includes a short content presentation, discussion, demonstration, participant exercise, debrief, and discussion of application. This course if for anyone who facilitates, manages, teaches, mediates, coaches, counsels, directs any group.

Benefits to you for participating in this Training...

Increase your ability to know when and how to intervene in difficult situations.
2. Get practice and coaching on your intervention skills to internalize your ability to intervene.
3. Gain confidence to manage challenges with ease so your meetings will be more productive and more fun.
4. A chance to work through the specific kinds of issues you face with the experts
5. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about empowering groups.

How the Training works...
1. You listen on your computer or download (5) 60-minute pre-recorded MP3 audio sessions of a teleclass conducted with students in a virtual training environment.
2. You work through a learning/resource workbook which accompanies the class including practice assignments after each session.

Putting Out Brushfires Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the course...

Session One: Introduction to each other and the course
  • What is a “brush fire”?
  • Why does intervention matter?
  • What are our values for framing interventions?
Session Two: Know yourself and assess the situation
  • Staying grounded in the face of difficult situations
    • Gaining insight into your personal reactions to brush fires
    • Knowing how to get and stay grounded
  • Assessing the situation
    • Introduction of the Great Meetings! Intervention model
    • What to look for when considering an intervention
    • What questions to ask to determine if an intervention is needed

Session Three: Step into the situation: interrupting

  • Different ways to intervene
  • Interrupting as one key tool
    • Cultural and personal frames on interrupting
    • The Art of interrupting
  • Application of the technique to your own situations

Session Four: Step into the situation: other intervention options

  • Review of Intervention model
  • Examples of other interventions
  • Choosing the right intervention
  • Choosing the right level of intervention
  • Application of the techniques to your own situations

Session Five: Help the group move on and prepare to prevent difficulties

  • Moving on from the intervention
    • Understanding what the group needs
    • Choosing tools
  • Good preparation: essential to preventing difficulties
  • Parking lot issues
  • Questions and answers
  • Wrap up and final evaluation

Also included with your training...

In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
1. A downloadable version of the book, Great Meetings! ($25 value) and a 20-page workbook to serve as resources in the future ($15 value)
2. Articles and resources around using Improv in leadership and facilitation:

- Steps for negotiating conflict in a group.
- Meeting Assessment checklist: Questions to ask during the client interview.

The CD/MP3 and Real Audio self-guided versions are only $89 and $79. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

Thank you, Pam and Dee! I have facilitated group meets for years and have taken a number of classes to enhance my facilitation skills. But your classes have been the best I have attended and what I've learned from you will help me be more effective in serving these groups.
-- Leslie Krauz Stambaugh, Principal, RLS Associates--

Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and other resources.

Self-Guided 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 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 Version for $79

Self-Guided CD or MP3 Disk
The Compact Disk (CD) or MP3 Disk version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen to anywhere you have access to a CD or MP3 player. Click here to purchase for $89.

(CD and MP3)

Click here to purchase the CD/MP3 Version for $89
plus $4 Shipping and Handling

Your instructors

dee kelsey pam plumbAbout Dee Kelsey. Dee has been facilitating groups since her teenage years. She turned her early interests into more formal work both as a trainer and personnel representative at Hewlett Packard and as a mediator and trainer of mediators for the city of Palo Alto, California. In addition to her work with Great Meetings! Inc, she has been principal of Dee Kelsey and Associates since 1985. She has worked nationally to provide organizational development, facilitation, process consultation, mediation, and training services to hundreds of clients ranging from small work groups to large corporations.

About Pam Plumb.
Pam discovered during her years as a City Councilor and Mayor of Portland that effective meeting planning and facilitation made a big difference in meeting outcomes In 1991, she created Pamela Plumb & Associates which serves a wide range of non-profit organizations, businesses and government organizations with process design, facilitation, training and organizational development. She is known internationally for her process work and training in municipal governance.

About the satisfaction guarantee

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with these products, 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 and receive these ebooks for free in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

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