Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0508, October 4, 2011

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Dear Friends,








I once designed and led a teleclass entitled , "Not Just Another Meeting," for a group of 10 UN/AIDS workers in Geneva and it didn't go all that well. I had a difficult time teasing out their issues and challenges. I prepared a great guidebook with everything I knew and could find on meeting facilitation. Each class led to an increasing level of confusion and self-doubt on my part. The more I got to know the group's challenges, the more I realized what a nearly impossible situation they faced everyday, and the less confident I felt that I could help them.

In this week's article, "Facilitate the Voices in Your Head," I
share a breakthrough I had in facilitating this class one day. I think it bears mentioning that the breakthrough had more
to do with facilitating myself than facilitating the group. I look forward to your comments on this one.

Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop (JOFC). Our Winter session of the JOFC Workshop is now open for registration! We'll be meeting the week of January 9th in Madison Wisconsin. Come and experience a rare opportunity to learn an Integrally Informed Approach to Facilitative Leadership essential in grappling with the increasingly complex issues we face today in business, industry, government, and education. 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!

Are CD's Becoming Obsolete?

With the ease of putting music and audio on iPods and the variety of MP3 players available, it does seem like that's the trend. With that, it feels a good time to discontinue offering the CD options of my 5-day teleclasses and also a time to clean house. So until they are gone, I'm offering the following programs in CD format at half price
. See details after the article.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you. We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community and please continue to send your wonderful feedback on this ezine and FacilitatorU.com can better serve you.

Blessings,

Steve Davis

Founder, FacilitatorU.com



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This Meeting Sux


The Point


Facilitate the Voices in Your Head
Self-facilitation is key to your success in facilitating others



Self Mastery Skill

I once designed and led a teleclass entitled , "Not Just Another Meeting," for a group of 10 UN/AIDS workers in Geneva and it didn't go all that well. I had a difficult time teasing out their issues and challenges. I prepared a great guidebook with everything I knew and could find on meeting facilitation. Each class led to an increasing level of confusion and self-doubt on my part. The more I got to know the group's challenges, the more I realized what a nearly impossible situation they faced everyday, and the less confident I felt that I could help them.

The less confident I felt, the more information I prepared. The more information I prepared, the more I talked. The more I talked, the less they talked. The less they talked, the lower the energy and the more lifeless and pointless the sessions felt. I completed the class feeling it was among the worst I had ever led. Still, evaluations came back indicating that enough value was gleaned that another class was warranted.

So then came the third session. I had the feeling of impending doom. Participants were spread all over the globe. Many in under-developed countries with poor phone connections that echo. This, coupled with their accents, made understanding them difficult. Further, many of them had difficulty getting connected to the bridge and often showed up very late if at all. They were all very busy and worked very hard, making pre-class preparation a challenge. Finally, as facilitators, most of them were good at being silent or neutral, the last thing you want from students in any class.

Given my history with this group, I felt anxiety and frustration every time I thought about it. I spent hours preparing content, feeling stumped on how to create processes and experiences I could conduct over the phone that would engage them. As a big believer in experiential training, I felt stifled to create experiences around this "boring" subject of meeting facilitation--everyone hates meetings, how can I make this interesting? The whole thing just felt like a struggle and I was beginning to wonder whether it was worth the effort--mine or theirs.

But on this particular morning, somewhere after the first 20 minutes or so, something shifted, inside me. And it didn't happen by accident, I decided to make the shift. As I attempt to sort out what happened, I realize that I finally facilitated my "inner group" in a way that got them all on the same page. I got my inner voices on task and kept them there. I effectively self-facilitated that morning and created one of my best teleclass experiences ever. And believe me, I am a perpetual self-critic. I very, very seldom say I am really happy with anything I do or have done. Today, I can honestly say that I did an awesome job with this group. And, I have the feeling that they might say the same. Here's what I think happened...as best I can tell anyway.



Application


Psychologists tell us that our personalities are made up of quite a collection of sub-personalities, which are pretty well defined, but integrated (that is under our control) to varying degrees. Most of us have the inner critic or judge who points out what's wrong; the inner child, who can be the playful child, the wounded child, the problem child, etc.; the adventurer, the lover, the friend, the companion, the intellectual, the teacher, the student, etc.

Imagine all of these personalities in a meeting room vying for their own agendas, some of them overt, some hidden and unknown. As facilitators, how do we manage such a mess? This is the question we face, whether consciously or not, whenever we're in front of groups. On this particular day, prior to the start of my teleclass, knowing that my outer group is very well-behaved and open and eager to learn, I believe that my inner group had other ideas.

There was the doubter who didn't think I had the skills to succeed with this group. There was the critic who felt everything I did or thought was wrong. There was the shy little boy afraid to really speak up. There was the intellectual eager to share all he knows and to show how smart he is. There was the frustrated and confused adult who just didn't know what to do. And there were probably a lot of others hiding under the table.

But there was someone else I met in this group this fateful morning. Or perhaps, to spin an old but relevant cliche, I should say that he was in the group but not of it. He could feel and experience the thoughts and feelings of this inner group, but he also could stand separately from it. As the teleclass began to unfold, he began to facilitate and lead this group with a previously unseen level of surrendered alignment. He raised his voice, increased his energy and decided that this group (both his inner group and the outer teleclass) could do this work. He kept his energy high. He challenged the group with clear, succinct questions. He remained silent and waited for them to respond. He pushed them gently in the direction of their purpose, and they pushed back, putting their energy and experience into this purpose. They began to mirror his energy and intention. We began walking together, on course and on purpose.

How did this happen?

For one thing, I released the hold on my far too complicated agenda. I decided that the experience we were all creating as a group was more important than the information I had to share on paper. I trusted that I could have a conversation about what was important to the group that still related to the theme of the day.

I believed in their own ability and desire to do the work and gave them the space to do it. I trusted and believed in my own ability to respond appropriately and creatively in the moment.

But most of all, I showed up as the kind of facilitator I wanted to be. I saw all the personalities I could identify with in my inner group, yet decided to identify with none of them. I decided to be who and how I wanted to be, the kind of facilitator who would have my students leaving the class thinking, "Wow, that was the best class I ever attended!" Now I'm not sure what they're saying right now, but I can tell you this, it was one of the best classes I ever attended!

Add Your Comments


Action

What can you do this week to practice taking dominion over your "inner" group. Just click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or experience on this topic.

This Week's Offer


Are CD's Obsolete?


With the ease of putting music and audio on iPods and the variety of MP3 players available, it does seem like that's the trend. With that, it feels a good time to discontinue offering the CD options of my 5-day teleclasses and also a time to clean house. So until they are gone, I'm offering the following programs in CD format at half price. Use the coupon code liquidation at checkout to receive your discount. (And don't tell anyone, but you can use the same code for MP3 versions until I deactivate it.)


Random Acts of Facilitation

This class covers 25 discrete facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for facilitators at any level or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective. Being discrete acts of facilitation, they also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide.
Click here
for details.

Facilitating at a Distance... the 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.
This class will teach you methods, skills, and processes to employ this inexpensive way to train, collaborate, and problem-solve using Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings. Remove the fear and uncertainty of teleclass/virtual meeting design and facilitation. Click here for details.

Transforming Conflict in the Workplace

Would you be a more effective facilitator or leader with a more solid base of conflict resolution skills under your belt? All organizations and relationships encounter conflict. It's what we do with it that makes all the difference in the world. In this class you will learn conflict resolution skills for facilitative leaders by exploring and evaluating your own styles and personal responses conflict, learning and practicing conflict resolution strategies in the context of group facilitation, and exploring how you can implement conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations. Click here for details.



The Improvisational Facilitator

This highly experiential teleclass presents powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class is very interactive and uses many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. You'll learn ways to become a better facilitator by experimenting with improv techniques, and increase your confidence and creativity to make your plan become more flexible and spontaneous.
Click here for details.

Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch

This 5-day teleclass will walk you through the building blocks of designing and delivering effective experiential workshops. It will cover all the elements of workshop design using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. You'll have the opportunity in this class to complete the design of your own workshop with the help of fellow students and instructors. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. Click here for details.



Becoming a Learning Facilitator

Make the shift from teaching to "Learning Facilitation." This course explores how to make the leap from conventional teaching approaches to a new perspective based on the learner and incorporating facilitation skills and philosophy into the learning environment. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio or CD versions of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. Click here for details.

Putting Out Brush Fires... How to intervene in difficult group situations

Do nonstop 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.

Click here for details


Appreciative Inquiry
This class covers a facilitation strategy for intentional change that identifies the best of "what is" in order to pursue dreams and possibilities of "what could be." Within these classes we will explore the four dynamics of AI: Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery. Plan to bring with you the challenges you have encountered or are experiencing as we will encourage discussion of specific situations in which Appreciate Inquiry might be applied. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. Click here for details.


Managing People You Rarely See

Do you need to get rapid results from people collaborating across multiple locations?
This class will discuss managing remote relationships and frameworks for successfully managing projects across large distances. There are issues created by the geographic distance between team members. But those issues can be overcome, and in fact, the potential of a distance team to accomplish amazing feats far outweighs any logistical liabilities. The course contains consolidated information packed into a five-hour format.
Click here for details.

 

About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this training, 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.

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