Facilitator Journal | Issue #0540, May 29, 2012
How Can Motivational Speakers Better Engage Their Audience? At times the strengths of dynamic, high energy presenters can get in the way of their group’s progress. Check out this pre-recorded training to learn 3 skills that you can use without surrendering your strengths as a presenter to empower your audience. Here is where introverts have the advantage!
This week's article, Does Being Professional Evolve Your Audience? explores the relationship between
professionalism and authenticity. It starts by looking
at the enigma of the Laura Love Band and how they deliver great
music and connect with their audience while being the
goofiest bunch we've ever seen.
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.
"Being Professional" Evolve Your Audience?
Get that lightening up is a mark of the real pro.
supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between
work and play.
A close friend and I once attended something called The MillPond Festival in Bishop, California, that featured a rather eclectic blend of musicians
from all over the US and Europe.
of several inspirations we received at this concert
was presented by the Laura Love Band. Their
level of skill to deliver on the promise of the evening...great
music...was undeniable. Each musician in the band was
obviously a master.
What struck us about this band, in contrast to their
great music, was the fact that they had to be the funniest
and goofiest performers we'd ever seen! Laura herself
was completely uninhibited. She acted like a child
with her yelling, cackling, and joking in the midst
of their musical magic. One could actually view an aspect
of their behavior as very unprofessional...if
one wanted to.
I saw was a group who made play of everything, from
the introduction of a new song, to the introduction
of band members, to creating drama on stage to get the
audience participating. They used lyrical and poetic
language in their discourse with the audience ...everyone
loved them and didn't want them to leave the stage!
band connected with their audience like none I've ever
seen. And they were just having a whole lot of fun being
their creative selves...being like children and practicing
their craft. Being playful AND being professional...what
a concept! Maybe it's just me, but polished and professional facilitators or
presenters have seldom
left me with any lasting memory.
what's the facilitation parallel? I'll have to admit
that I have fallen pray in my past to a concern about
looking professional while on stage. And by the way,
just what the heck does being professional mean anyhow? We say it so often, I felt compelled to seek out a
Professional: Conforming to the standards of
a profession. Having or showing great skill.
Stop acting professional, be professional and act
alive! I doubt anyone would disagree with the fact
that a great facilitator will have mastered a certain
breadth of skills in the management of people and processes.
What can trip us up though in our desire to be
professional and skilled is trying
to act professional. Modeling the act of
being real is one of the greatest gifts
a facilitator brings to their group. After all, when
was the last time that someone being professional
inspired you to do more, think more, be more, relate
What does a real pro look like? The real pros
I've witnessed have found their authenticity and it
shows. They tend to be most comfortable being their
quirky, sometimes crazy, selves. They can let go, have
fun, and help others cut through their serious masks
to see that every problem has at least one solution,
and that solutions can be had such that everyone's needs
are met. They see the world through their own eyes in
a fresh new way, resisting the pull of group think or
To be or not to be...professional. We're not
saying that you should just show up to your groups unprepared
and unprofessional. Get to know your group, do your
homework, and be prepared so you can let go and really
hear your group, and enjoy them and the process.
for results, not just professionalism. Some clients,
professional as they are, have called you in to help
them with problems their professionalism hasn't touched.
Some groups who pride themselves on their professional
nature also take themselves too seriously. They operate
with a lightness deficit, operating in a mode which
I will technically refer to as Standard Operating
Paradigms Paralyzing Effective Direction (STOPPED).
Sometimes a lighter, more serious point of view opens
the door to the creative insights that can help us better see and solve
our problems. Sometimes we need to get crazy
to cut through stale thinking.
you ask most clients what kind of facilitator they'd
rather have, one that seems professional or one that
can get them the results they're after, I think you
know what the typical reply might be.
A story of the Professional facilitator, by Susan Smith. About 15 years ago, the college where I worked was
going through quite an upheaval. Everyone was upset
about something, including feeling unheard by the administration.
I had just been to a conference on shared governance
which were the buzz words at that time. There was a
fellow (a professor from Stanford University) there
that gave a memorable talk about how to help your college
develop a structure for creating shared decision-making
between the administration, faculty, staff and students.
I excitedly returned to my campus and carefully shared
this great opportunity with the college President. It
took many sessions listening to his fears
before he was willing to commit to an all-staff meeting to first
deal with everyone's gripes and concerns. It took several
more of my listening sessions to get his commitment
to hire an outside facilitator to further work through the staff's
immediately thought of this fellow I heard at the conference
and who I knew had the expertise to help us. He ended
up visiting our campus several times to facilitate all-staff
meetings. On his first meeting I was a bit hesitant.
After all, we were a small community college in a rural
area and he was from a large elite private university.
My fears were immediately put to rest as he came in
the door in his shorts and sandals and wild Hawaii-style
shirt. He was so funny and friendly and put everyone
at ease, especially the President. We couldn't get enough
of him. We had more FUN getting very important work
accomplished for the college. Staff got out their concerns,
they had their fights, he had us yell at each other,
cry, get frustrated and resolve issues.
he finished with us, we were ready to create our own
shared governance model. It wasn't easy, but we had
worked through a lot of our roadblocks because of his
ability to get us to laugh at ourselves. By the way,
I soon found
out that this silly, funny man, was as
professional as anyone in a three piece suit
with briefcase in hand...he brought his Facilitators
Tool Kit instead.
Add Your Comments
do you view being professional? How
does being professional rank with being real for you?
How can you have lots of fun AND be professional at
the same time? Please click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or experience on this matter.
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