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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0046| March 26, 2002
7,700 Subscribers


Down But Not Out in DC
Prepare for contingencies, people are depending on you.

The Point

I'm spending this week on vacation in Washington, D.C. and woke up this morning with a fever and an odd feeling in my lungs. I almost felt like staying put all day but couldn't think of laying around all day in my cheap hotel room while my travel companions were taking in all the sites. So off we went to start the day at Arlington Cemetery. Within 30 minutes of our arrival, I had to go outside the memorial we were visiting to lay down on a marble bench in the sun, where I began to feel more like a resident than a visitor. 

At that point, the thought of writing this journal tonight felt impossible, and I actually considered skipping this week's issue, which would have been a first in its' 10-month history. Then I thought, "What if I was scheduled to facilitate a group of 50 people on an important project this morning and I felt this way? What would I do?  The participants would have all adjusted their schedules just to make time for the session. Some might have traveled long distances. Would I just call them and tell them, "Sorry, but I feel so badly, I can't possible show up today."

Next, I realized that writing this journal on facilitation somehow mirrored this situation. In a way, I'm supporting hundreds, if not thousands of people on this topic each week. Could I just let them down like that? What should I do? What should any facilitator do when faced with this dilemma?

I figured the best thing to do would be to follow my own advice from my first issue and, "Be Real" with you. And that in being real, I might offer some value to you as facilitators, who from time to time, might fall into such a situation as this.


So let's look at some of the things we can do to mediate a last minute problem that might prevent you from showing up at your best.

First, it makes sense to prepare for this contingency before it happens. Right? You might consider team facilitating your events, or maybe you already do. Then, work out with each other how you would proceed in the event that one of you was severely limited in your ability to facilitate a given session, if not completely absent.

You might want to pack medicines just in case you are in a condition that can be remedied with medicinal support. At around 3PM, I bought a little package of extra-strength pain reliever and that was all I needed to feel almost back to normal for several hours.

You also would certainly want to take extra good care of yourself, bolstering your immune system to possibly prevent the onset of a cold or flu. Things like getting plenty of rest, taking your vitamins and minerals, eating well, drinking plenty of water, staying warm, etc. These measures are particularly important when you're traveling where it's more difficult to keep up with your regular routines.

Finally, remember that effective facilitation requires a lot from an individual. Facilitator's are expected to be effective models of behavior and this will be difficult if you aren't at your best. If you feel that you are not going to be able to "show up" to the degree the situation requires, then let the affected parties know as soon as humanly possible to minimize the impact this change in plans will have on them. Or, have effective partners that are ready to step in and carry the ball if needed.


This week, examine your own contingency plan or develop one if you don't already have one. We'd love to hear about what you come up with. Please email your comments to us.

cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 
How do You Prepare for Contingencies?

This week, we're asking you to share with us the measures you take to prepare for health or other problems that might show up at the last minute before a facilitation job.

Please send us your input and we'll send the entire collection to everyone who contributes.

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send them this link or simply forward this issue to them.

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to reach  their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. Or call me at 800-216-3854. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on April 2, 2002.   

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