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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0090 | March 4, 2003
6,200 Subscribers

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

From the Publisher: 

Hello MFJ Readers. This week we explore an interesting twist to the usual articles on facilitation by reflecting off of a recent "Yanni" concert I attended. I was struck by what I could learn about facilitation by observing this group perform. I summarized my reflections in the article "What Yanni Taught Me About Facilitation," which includes some tips that review how we can apply these insights to our work with ourselves and others.

Also please note that I've scheduled the next "Random Acts of Facilitation" Teleclass with a discount to MFJ readers. See details and schedule at the bottom of this issue.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Steve Davis


What Yanni Taught Me About Facilitation
Look everywhere for empowering metaphors

The Point

I attended a Yanni Concert in Las Vegas last weekend and was intrigued by how much I could learn about facilitation by watching this group's inspiring musical performance.

Empowerment. The first thing I noticed and appreciated was the fact that Yanni not only invites musicians into his group who perform at or beyond his own musical prowess, but he showcases them and encourages them with a sense of reverance and pride in "their" abilities. As the "leader" of the band, Yanni's music tends to take a back seat to the performers he highlights. He beams at them when they play, seemingly delighted in their abilities and the opportunity to show them off.

Orchestration. As a composer and arrangeer, Yanni obviously puts a great deal of preparation time into his band's perormances. With around 25 members performing complex arrangements, with little if any visible ques, he obviously puts a lot of work into orchestrating this complex "process" performance in a fashion that appears seamless.

Embracing Diversity. I marvelled at the cultural diversity in his group. Many, many races, nationalities, and musical styles are represented, highlighted, and blended with exquisite taste and beauty. In his introductory words before one of his performances, he stated that they had assembled an miniature United Nations where each loves the music they are able to make through this mix while still loving their own cultures, countries, and roots.Through this music, diverse peoples come together to celebrate the beauty of their differences, while in the process, their performance is strengthened and enriched by them.

Use of Story. Several times during his performance, Yanni would tell a short story to paint a picture for us of the inspiration or the setting of the piece that was to follow. This helped to give the music more depth of meaning and caused me to listen more closely to nuances and how they may relate to my life. His use of story and humor enhanced my experience and interpretation of his music.

Innovation. It seems that though there are scores of people who reach a certain level of competence in a field, wheter it's an apptitude in music, teaching, sports, or what have you, there are a certain few who reach just a little farther such that there work appears fresh, new, and above the fold. I thought about this as I listended to many of Yanni's star musicians. They somehow go a step further, or possibly surrender something within themselves, so that what comes through them has an uncommon aliveness and uniqueness that simply seems to bear the mark of not only mastery, but of regenerative, limitless innovation.


Let's review how the elements of facilitation discussed above can be employed our groups.

Empowerment. Remember that the best facilitators, leaders, teachers, and coaches are those who lift up and encourage those whom they serve. Though you may be in front of the room, look for opportunities to surrender the lime light to your participants. See the group as theirs, and yourself as a catalyst for the realization of their competence, mastery, and greatness.

Orchestration. Plan well for your processes. Pay attention to not only the content you wish to deliver, and put extra effort into the design of processes, mood, interactions, logistics, and environment you wish to create to make it the most empowering and effective engagement possible.

Embracing Diversity. Embrace and encourage the voicing and expression of differences in your group. These differences may take the form of race, culture, subculture, opinion, or beliefs. Know that only by creating a space where they may be respectfully voiced and heard will their harmonious integration be possible. Healthy integration of diversity will weave a fabric of strength and resiliency that will rival that of a homogenous group.

Use of Story. Encourage the use of short stories, music, or metaphor to illustrate and enhance the points being made. These forms of expression make our abstract thinking personal and easier for everyone to relate to and understand.

Innovation. Challenge yourself and those you work with to take that little extra effort to stretch just a little bit more to better express, create, or imagine that which you seek to attain as individuals or as a group. Imagine that the degree of quality you achieve corresponds to your level of willingness to stay with your process.


Go the extra mile with one or more of these elements of facilitation with yourself or your groups this week. Please email us your comments.

Ethnicity, by Yanni

Ethnicity finds Yanni exploring familiar thematic territory (diversity + harmony = international brotherhood) in search of fresh musical ideas. While ethnicity is the theme, the prevailing sound is contemporary and attractively rhythmic with modest world music and classical accents. Notable are Yanni's extensive use of female voices and the disc's vivid, sparkling production. Yanni offers an assortment of moods, from the celebratory, planetary-choir sound (think Adiemus) on "Rites of Passage" to pulsing, Deep Forest-like tribal chants, which sometimes click ("Tribal Dream") and sometimes seem forced, a little Yanni-come-lately ("Never Too Late"). High points are the didgeridoo-driven "Rainmaker" and the ethereal "At First Sight." Overall, the disc's sound tilts more toward the heroic than the romantic (a good trend), though some pieces (particularly his mini-operettas) seem overly polite and a little starched. Even so, Ethnicity is a compelling effort that indicates Yanni is, happily, keeping in touch with his more adventurous musical instincts.

cartoon image of a talking man.

Reader Survey 

How do you use music, story, metaphor, etc. to inspire and enliven your groups? 

Please send your ideas, exercises, strategies, etc. to and I'll share with you all the inputs received. 

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.

About the Author
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight

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Skills and attitudes for the new facilitator or group member who wants to get their group into serious motion.

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This class will meet for five consecutive weekdays April 21-25, 2003 to cover 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for beginning facilitators 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.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 30-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the 5 days (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday afternoon, or sooner if you wish.
3. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Relating with compassion and understanding.

6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Organizing and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally, and authentically. 

17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message

Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

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1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
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Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
3. Free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

Pricing and Dates...
The full cost of training/access is only $79 for MFJ readers ($89 for the general public) including a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

Please click here and you'll be taken to the teleclass registration page. Register there and you'll see your discount computed and applied as you check out. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, 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. (Why? Because we are sensitive to the fact that you are buying an e-course/product from us and we feel that if this package isn't EXACTLY what you expected or wanted, that you should be able to get 100% of your money back. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.)

Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on March 11, 2003. 

Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved.