Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0557, October 9, 2012

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Dear Friends,

One of our readers asked for a follow-up to a recent article, Be a Catalyst for Clarity that offers tips to moves participants into action after a group disbands. In a training environment, action might equate to applying what was learned in the group. In an issue resolution or problem-solving session, action would equate to doing what the group agreed to do. This week's article, Facilitate Action, offers some tips to facilitate action in your groups. And as always, I look forward to your ideas and experiences in this arena.

Waking Up, Learning What Your Life is Trying to Teach You. This new book by John Earle teaches four strategies we can use to transform our lives, to grow personally and spiritually.  The book is filled with inspirational wisdom, personal stories, mythology, poetry and explanations of spiritual precepts.   All of this flows together in an engaging, highly readable format. But, best of all, the book teaches the reader how to apply this wisdom to daily life. We are encouraged to explore the practical nature of perennial wisdom. For instance, we learn, that it is not just a good idea to be compassionate, but how to overcome the common obstacles to living this way. What does it mean to act spiritually, to keep the heart opened, to be a safe container for others, to practice love and compassion in the in the world? In Waking Up we find all the tools for achieving these ends. Check it out along with several bonuses here.

Winter Session of the 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 14th in Madison Wisconsin. Come and experience a rare opportunity to learn an Integrally Informed Approach to Facilitation and Collaboration essential in grappling with the increasingly complex issues we face today in business, industry, government, and education. Click here for details and registration.

From preparation and pre-workshop activities to workshop flow, structure, and themes, and a bit of everything in between, the learning, teaching, and deep conversation that occurs is well worth the time and investment whether you are in the IT world, a janitor, a facilitator/consultant, musical busker, farmer, etc. Everyone, I feel, comes away with an enriched experience.
--2010 Workshop Participant --

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



This meeting sux

Facilitation Workshop License

The Point

Facilitate Action
Create an environment where group outcomes are put into practice.

Logistics Skill

As a trainer and facilitator, and someone who often trains trainers and facilitators, I often ask myself this question, What constitutes success in a group? Whether the group is seeking to learn something new, or to carry out a plan of action in response to a problem or opportunity, success usually equates to participants getting certain results, results that come from taking action. So what does it take for people to actually do what they learned or decided to do in a group that you're facilitating?

In my opinion, this is one of those questions, that we'll probably always ask. Still, there are some things we can do to pave the way for groups to get the results they're after. I offer a few tips below and look forward to hear your ideas as well.


Clarify the results we want. Because this is such an obvious point, it's often overlooked. Spend time before, during, and after a group session to find out, specifically, what your group wants to learn or accomplish as a result of coming together. Results will be either tangible or intangible.

Here's an example statement of a tangible result: After we adjourn this communication workshop, we want to see a decrease in problem complaints by 50% as a result of clearer communication. Here's an example statement of an intangible result: Within 30 days after we adjourn this communication workshop, I want to feel more connected with my peers and here are three criterion that would make that so.

Measure desired results. Having a means of measuring results is essential to achieving them. For example, there's no way to tell if customer complaints have decreased unless you measure them before and after implementing a new action. When it comes to intangible results, some subjective measure can be used. Using the above example, have participants rate their feeling of connectedness with their peers before the start of the workshop. Then ask them to do this again 30 days after. Even though a feeling is subjective, the "subject" will have some sense for how they're feeling in the present. But without a baseline to measure against, a change may sometimes go unnoticed.

Get into action in the workshop. It's no accident that most adult training these days are experientially based. When participants are given the opportunity to try out new behaviors real time, they have an opportunity to practice them and get feedback on their performance. Design opportunities for practical application in your workshops and groups. I use the Kolb Learning Cycle to help me keep my workshops experiential. See a past article I wrote on this subject here.

Vary modes of instruction. Research has shown that introducing information and experience via multiple pathways such as through visual, aural, kinesthetic channels, and use of logical linear data in addition to non-linear use of metaphor, stories, etc., can help ground learning.

Focus on head, hand, and heart. While typical education focuses on intellectual information, it doesn't usually move us internally as much as experiences that are emotional or inspirational. Allowing space and providing opportunities to get to the heart of the matter and the hearts of your participants will have a great impact on later action.

Assign action partners. Another strategy is to offer people the opportunity to partner with each other near the end of a group session to work on an action plan. Ask them to develop clear measurable action steps they plan to take to discuss and resolve barriers that might get in the way of this, and a schedule to check in with each other to support the actions being taken.

Add Your Comments


Try introducing one or more of the above strategies to improve the results your participants get in your groups. Please click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or experience.
I'd love to hear from you.

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