Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0548, August 1, 2012

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Dear Friends,

Are you too smart for your own good? Read this week's article to find out, where we explore the dilemma of the professional speaker or seminar leader placed in the front of the room and expected to be the font of all knowledge. Take a minute to unravel this fallacy with us and release yourself from much unnecessary burden.

Check out our new Facilitator Guide bundle. We're offering a package deal on our popular Getting Full Participation and Intervene With Confidence Facilitator Guides. See details after the article and consider adding these information-packed guides to your personal Facilitator's Toolkit.

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.


Steve Davis


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The Point

Are You Too Smart for Your Own Good?
Speakers and seminar leaders don't need to know everything.

Group Dynamics Skill

I still attend workshops, seminars, and speaking engagements where the presenter seems compelled to talk at the audience. Though I do believe they're expressing a sincere desire to teach, enlighten, and inform others with the best of intentions, how often have you actually been inspired by shear quantities of information?

I don't give speeches anymore. When I'm asked to give one on a topic I feel comfortable with, I accept but when introduced as the speaker, I love to twist that perception a bit. I've been know to say, "Yes I'm going to stand in front of the room today, but I don't plan to be your speaker. Instead, I hope to serve you better by being your listener." The rebel in me revels in this!

I sincerely believe that my success as a speaker, facilitator, trainer, teacher, whatever, rests more in my ability to hear what people need and to create an environment where they can get that from whoever can best deliver it at the time.

Now of course, if I've shown up for a speaking gig in the hopes of getting lots of attention and ceremonious fluffing of my expert ego, I certainly wouldn't employ the above approach. But if I want to respond to the interests of the audience, then I'm going to continually refocus my attention on them. We're going to have discussions, demonstrations, and exercises and only enough focus on me to maintain the energy of focused connection and involvement among the participants.


I remember once attending a workshop with an energetic healer and her husband, a psychologist, who were offering a new technique to assist people to return to their essence, and to lessen the influence of their personality and coping mechanisms that they had developed through childhood.

While I was most interested in the topic, and they had a lot of valuable information to share, they almost lost me. There was very little experiential interaction or none at all as they talked for over an hour about their mysterious techniques. It was apparent that most everyone there was puzzled and trying to figure out what it was all about. They kept asking but the explanation got more and more obscure and it felt as we were being marketed to death.

Finally, during the 30 minutes of the 2-hour presentation, they offered an opportunity for everyone to have a short reading. Lo and behold, the seminar picked up strength, everyone started asking questions and were very involved. It was evident now through their work on us that they were quite talented and had something to offer that all the words in the world would never have conveyed. Several people even signed up for individual work afterwards.

Why do people insist on telling us when they can show us? Maybe it's just the way that we were taught, or maybe it's just the best way we know. Whenever you get the chance, teach people a facilitation tip that will make their presentations more powerful and engaging with less effort.

Tips to Engaging Participation

- If you have the choice between showing and telling, show first, tell later. Then people know and feel what you're talking about. Also takes a lot of pressure off of you to entertain. Once you impact people with a physical or emotional experience, they'll have lots to tell themselves.

- Talk to your audience. Ask them more about themselves and what they're interested in learning at the beginning and adjust your approach accordingly.

- Don't talk so much. Check in with your audience periodically and see what they have to say about what you're saying. Are they getting it? Do they have something to add that can amplify or validate your point?

- Get them talking to each other. Use simple methods to get participants talking to one another about their experiences, what they're learning, what they want, etc. This brings more energy and attention to the group, can mine new perspectives, and can improve the experience for everyone.

Add Your Comments


Can you relate to the situation above? Is there something about your presentation style you'd like to change or improve upon? Is there someone you know who might benefit from a facilitative tip you could offer. I'd love to hear from you. Please click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or experience.

This Week's Offer

Getting Full Participation Facilitator's Guide

This learning guide is for anyone who plays a facilitative or leadership role in a group who wants to discover new and creative ways to get more involvement from individual group members. In particular, it is useful for group facilitators, trainers, life coaches, teachers, business and community leaders, and managers.

Some reasons you'll want this guide:

  • Offers Just in Time Training" to facilitators and group workers in key skill areas or situations. This Facilitator Guide explores Full Participation more completely than any other document we've seen before.

  • No fluff! This guide is practical, easy to read, with ideas and actions you can use right away.
  • Includes an audio portion that answers real world problems in getting Full Participation from group members.

  • Includes a full training license so that you can teach this material to others.

  • Includes tools and perspectives that will help your group members understand what it means to participate fully.

  • Illustrated 20-page guide will help you to drill down deep and master the art of facilitating Full Participation in any situation.

  • This information-packed guide is a must to include in your personal Facilitator's Toolkit

Here's an overview of the contents of this information-rich guide:

Why full participation? Explores the benefits of full participation and ramifications of not having it.

What is full participation? Explores a new model of full participation from a 3-dimensional perspective.

Facilitating full participation. Looks at perspectives to take to facilitate full participation using this new model.

Facilitator's full participation inventory. A 10-part self-assessment to help facilitators become better at this skill.

Participant's full participation inventory. A 10-part self-assessment for your participants to help them be conscious of behaviors that make up Full Participation.

Full participation strategies. 25 strategies you can employ to get Full Participation.

Worksheets. Worksheets to collect your own ideas, resources, and actions to employ what you learn from the guide.

Cautions. Explores special situations to be aware of around this skill.

Contrarion perspective on full participation. Resources that look at possible negative impacts of full participation.

License Rights. Owners of this guide are granted a license to copy and distribute this material in their own trainings, workshops, and groups. Basically, you can do anything you want with this guide expect sell it yourself.

Cost of this Guide: $29.95

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