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Hello Facilitators👋 I'm really curious about where everyone is from. I'd love to make this a mega post where we can see how diverse the Facilitator Club community is. Who knows, you might find a lot more people in your area than you thought! Once I have lots of answers on this post, I want to make a nice graph!
@Will Stammers can we make that the Down Under Club? Hi John, I'm in New Zealand.
@Brendon Cappelletti welcome to the down-under club. There's a few of us in here!
Help me out people! I need to update my music playlists. Specifically some good upbeat, high energy instrumentals for the start of a workshop, or for bringing people back in after a break. And at the other end of the spectrum--I'd love some ideas for reflective instrumentals that aren't nature sounds. (No disrespect to the whales 😉) What's your go-to playlist?
@Joao Ribeiro Brilliant- thanks!
@Elizabeth Bolanos great question. No I haven't. My guess is that different things work best for different people, so I try to mix it up. Some things we do with no background music and some with....using different styles. That said, if working with the same team over an extended period of time, it would be kind of fun to create a playlist based on their favourite music. Thanks for the prompt... I have one team I can do this with next week!
As more and more workshops and meetings are being held online, it's important to understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with virtual facilitation. I have found that one of my best practices for virtual facilitation is to create a structured agenda and to stick to it. I also make sure to use interactive tools such as breakout rooms and polls to keep my audience engaged. Another tip that I follow is to actively monitor and manage group dynamics, as it can be more challenging to read the room when working remotely. From building engagement to managing distractions, how do you ensure your virtual workshops are productive and effective? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below and let's start a conversation about virtual facilitation best practices.
@Will Stammers me too! I avoid Hybrids as much as possible. Can I do them...sure. Do I think they are genuinely worth it...the jury is out. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Sometimes it's better to do one workshop online (for those who can't make in-person) and one in the room (for those who can).
@Amy Luethmers we run a couple of bootcamps. One on Building a Facilitation Business, and one on Workshop Design. These are usually run as 90 minute sessions once a week for six weeks, but we keep getting asked to run them as 6 x 90 minute sessions over 2 days. This might work for the Workshop Design one, but the Building a Facilitation Business Bootcamp has homework that needs to happen in-between. So, I guess I'm saying it depends on the workshop. Plus, regardless of how it might be for participants, you need to think about how YOU--as the facilitator--will be feeling after 2 full days online. You need to be fully engaged too!
One of the great things about what we do is you can do it as an employee or go out and become your own company. Whilst the later comes with amazing benefits there are a lot of areas that need to be considers… Like - What does it take to set myself up as a business or do I just contract in. - If I am setting myself up as a business am I a sole trader.. registering by business - Defining your purpose and setting clear goals yearly, quarterly - Defining your target customers, products, services and financials. Whilst this is a passion space for a lot of us, you still need to understand your revenue needs. - Branding and marketing - What do you need to set yourself up… physically, technology - Contracts for engagements - How to build a pipeline, managing you customer base Making sure you get work life balance! Would be interested in hearing and learning from each other on what made sense for you and what you would like to share with the rest of the community…
@Gilmar Wendt sure thing. I've just popped it through now.
@Amy Luethmers Done. Sing out if you have any questions.
During one of my team building programs, a very exciting participant wasn't satisfied about the result and she argued loudly and aggressively demanding extra points for her team, and this is the moment for us as facilitators to show our strength and wisdom, it was very tough moments for me, how to handle it, because if I let it go it ll ruin the whole program, I changed the debriefing around that point and linked it with the objectives of the game and involved her at the discussion along the way several times, later I had a conversation with the manager who were attending, she told me that I was watching and waiting for you to handle it :) - Have you eve faced a vert tough participant or similar situation ? - How you handled the situation, or what tools you used?
@Will Stammers oh that's a good idea. Do you use a specific online tool?
@LaYinka Sanni I like to remember 'Process beats Personality'. If you're using a good framework, there's no room for people to be difficult :)
I am trying to create a free short workshop that can help me sell a bigger workshop or more workshops to many clients. Have anyone used such an approach. If yes would you do the first one for free and use as a lead generation tool for future ones?
In my previous facilitation business, we would run express style public workshops that would give people a taste of what to expect. It worked ridiculously well, because we were giving multiple people, from multiple organisations a chance to experience our workshop. We ALWAYS got work out of them as a result.
@Louis Childs great question. In my last business we offered a range of training programmes, as well as facilitation services for things like Strategic Planning, Community Engagement etc etc. Our express style public sessions were usually training based e.g. we would take a full day workshop on fundraising, and turn it into a 2 hour taster session. Or, sometimes we would run an Idea Generation session on an issue that was common for most organisations. They would get to experience a 2 hour express session, and see the possibilities of what that might look like for their own organisations.
My absolute favourite icebreaker is called draw a duck, it’s as simple as it sounds. 🦆 1️⃣ Give everyone post-its and a sharpie 2️⃣ Give them 60 seconds to draw a duck 3️⃣ Have them all put their ducks on the whiteboard 4️⃣ Briefly review your ducks as a group. That’s it. I love it because it’s a quick and effective way to inject a bit of fun into the start of the workshop. Plus, it lowers the bar for visualising ideas later, showing that ability to draw doesn’t matter. Want to practice? Grab a post-it and drop a picture of your duck in the comments, then tag someone in Faciltiator club do the same! 🦆 I'll start us off in the comments! 👇
@Rebecca Courtney ooops a bit late to the party. Here's my duck. We're in flood at the moment, so he's a bit bedraggled! ;)
Hey, I'm keen to meet and chat with more facilitators in London. If I we're to arrange a location and post a Meet-Up for an evening in May, please let me know if you'd be interested? Please like to show interest. Location: Probably a central cafe (with alcoholic drinks).
Hello dear friends, I would like to know what strategy or arguments you use so that companies hire services from external facilitators on a permanent basis. And not only when the company detects a specific problem to solve. Thank you.
I'm curious as to why you are interested in selling 'permanent facilitation services'? If it's job/business security you're looking for, being retained by one company for ongoing facilitation would offer some certainty, but it's not the only way to get it.
@Germán Suarez thanks for expanding. I'm curious as to why that's important to you. Once you get clear on WHY you want to sell permanent facilitation services, (what's in it for you), it's easier to map a way forward.
Hi team, I am struggling to structure a workshop. And there must be an obvious solution, but I am afraid my facilitation knowledge is lacking a bit. 😅 Purpose: Sales team is looking to create a list of trading options that leads to Win-Win outcomes that can be used to negotiate deals instead of giving price concessions. Desired outcome: - A list of "GIVES": potential asks that could come from a future customer (think: discounts, free shipping, change in payment term, ...) - A list of "GETS" that the Sales team can ask in return (think: upfront payment, signature by the end of the week, providing a case study/reference call...) - A way to map the above in terms of importance or weight so the team knows what to trade (think: You wouldnt give a heavy discount in exchange for having a deal closed 1 day earlier) The underlying goals: - Increase the ticket price - Faster time to close - (there could be more but unknown) Some details: - The team that will be using the outcome consists of about 40-50 people (and preferably they all participate in this workshop); 7 of those are team leads/managers - The experience level is very diverse from 0 - 10 years in a similar position - The session should be fully remote - I have the chance to have someone co-facilitating this workshop My question to you: - Is there an engaging workshop exercise that comes to mind to find out all possible Gives, Gets and a way to map those? - How would you handle such a big group remotely? Do separate sessions with each? Or would you advice to nly involve the managers and then train the team on the outcome? - Additional points for having a way to practice and reinforce the use of these give-gets!
Ooooooh there are so many possibilities. My first questions would be...does the session/s absolutely have to be remote? If this is really important to the company, I would push-back on the remote requirement. Just because something can be run online, doesn't mean it should be. With that many people and possibilities, I think in-person would garner much better results. If remote is an absolute requirement, I would run it as a series of short (90 minute) workshops, rather than trying to work through all that in one-go. As for exercises, that depends on whether you can convince them to go in-person....
@Renko P. How much time do you have?
Hi Facilitator Community. 😉 Today, I need a recommendation. I want to find a set of image cards (postcard size) to use for icebreakers, team building, and other moments. Searching through previous posts, I found the recommendation for the IDEO Method Cards. In addition to those, do you have other ideas? I really appreciate any help you can provide. 💜
I have a set that come from www.gallup.com but the sets I use most often are ones I have made myself using www.canva.com . You can create postcards using their massive online image library, then simply print out and laminate.
Curious to know what tactics you use to handle disruptive participants in a workshop you are facilitating? (I have a more specific case described below).
@Lorne Mitchell and the person walking out is.....? It sounds like there is a much bigger issue than budget cuts. There's some leadership issues that need to be addressed at a whole other level...Good luck!
@Lorne Mitchell I'm also wondering what the purpose of the workshop is? If the cuts are going ahead anyway, it's not about finding alignment....?
Hey FC community, For those who deliver more content-focused sessions*, how do you respond to clients asking to record the sessions for anyone to view it after? To me, it's definitely added value for the client, so I prefer to add a recording fee. I've been doing 10-20% extra depending on the ask, but I still feel uncertain of the right way to approach this. One thing I know is that almost nobody at these big companies will actually watch the recording (lol) so it doesn't matter *that much* but it certainly gives the client an asset that they could theoretically use again and again, so it seems like there should be a price tag attached. Curious to hear! *For a pure facilitated workshop, I'd be less concerned about charging as only a small number of people would probably want to watch that session after. But when it's a lecture/class/keynote it feels different...correct me if I'm wrong!
It absolutely has value--how much values depends on the situation. You might also want to have a conversation about IP. If you are recording the session, can you use that in other ways too---or is it solely for the benefit of the company?
@Connor Swenson I personally don't allow recordings, so I can't estimate the value. I just know that if they're asking for it---it has value to them!
I'm curious to hear how many of you run sessions (remote and in-person) with a fully inclusive audience, eg including those with accessibility or inclusion requirements? What are your challenges and tips when creating and facilitating such sessions to ensure everyone can engage? Especially when tools such as Miro/Mural/Figjam etc are not very accessible, what are you turning too?
I believe that facilitators are becoming more aware of what's required to make a workshop inclusive and accessible, but there is always a challenge in that what makes something inclusive for one person, can have the opposite effect for others. For example, recently we were discussing the cameras-on requirement for online workshops. While some people find it challenging to participate with their cameras on, others find it challenging (or psycholgically unsafe) to participate when they can't see who is on the other end of the screen. Finding balance for everyone is an ongoing challenge.
@Amanda Perkins yes!!! When thinking about making a workshop inclusive, it's about looking at it as a whole--not just as individual exercises. Each activity is going to suit some people over others (for all sorts of reasons), so it's about scaffolding exercises so that everyone is included along the way. Setting expectations about honoring each activity and allowing others to fully particpate (even if you can't, won't or choose not to) is so important. Silent work is so important to protect. Great share!
Sometimes when people hear the word 'icebreaker' they cringe or might feel super anxious about taking part in one. Yes, icebreakers can make you feel a bit awkward initially, but they are proven to help enhance relationships and encourage creativity. 'Icebreakers can help increase team bonds, boost performance and creativity'—Harvard Business School study Integrating icebreakers into your workshops or meetings is a great way to get everyone relaxed and ready to participate. But how do you choose the right ones so that you avoid those dreaded awkward silences? Here are my Top 2 Icebreakers that are easy to implement (in-person or online): 1. My First Job Ask everyone in the group to write down their name, their first job, and what they learned from that job. Then go round the group and have everybody read theirs out. 2. Pointless Questions Prepare a few fun questions ahead of the workshop, then go round the room and have everybody take turns answering the questions. It’s as simple as that—you don’t even need to write anything down! Here are some question suggestions to get you started: - If you could invite a celebrity over for dinner, who would it be and why? - What is your most prized possession and why? - You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life. What do you choose? Here are some more icebreakers for you to explore! What's another great icebreaker that I can add to my list?
@Rob Stevens this is GOLD! And what a fun way to "bring the elephant into the room" in a tricky group setting. Love it!
@Daniel Ferdinandusz I use picture cards as a connection/icebreaker activity too, but the question I ask depends on the workshop. I might say, "Choose a card that represents.... - The energy you're bringing to today's session. - The role you play in this team. - What's been happening for you since we last met together. - What you're hoping we can achieve in this workshop. Metaphors (in the form of Picture Cards) are such a helpful way to start conversations.
Hello facilitators! 👋 For remote facilitation, do you use Miro, Mural, or Figma and why? Do you create templates in all of them? Or do you stick to one? I have realized I am creating different boards across all 3 and think it might be best to consolidate to one. 🤔 Hope this post can also shed light on best practices for everyone when choosing !
@Tomoo Okubo I agree with keeping it simple. I use the simplest tool I can for any given activity. There are still lots of people who are not overly confident with digital spaces, so we need to keep it as simple and accessible as possible.
@Amy McInnes I agree
Hi community, Does anyone of you have an example of a workshop where the team is looking at what has been achieved as to maybe celebrate some of the past successes in order to prepare for the future things to come? WS 1: What has been done so far? WS 2: How do we go from here and drive future growth etc? Any suggestions or pointers greatly appreciated! TIA
I like using a Timeline exercise (which I run a little differently depending on context), but here's the basic principle: 1. Ask participants to imagine a timeline running through the meeting room, with January at one end and December at the other (if you're looking at more than a year, then change the timeline accordingly, but 1 year seems to work best). 2.Invite participants to reflect on a time during the year when they had their biggest personal win, and go stand in that spot. Participants feed back what their win was and it's recorded. 3.Repeat the process with different questions e.g. Biggest collective win, most frustrating month etc. The questions you ask will depend on what you want to reflect on. Depending on the size of the team, I sometimes have a flipchart at each month, and they discuss things in small groups, rather than altogether. The idea is that different questions create different focus AND asking people to move means they need to be really intentional in their reflection. PLUS, it's something different to just sitting in one spot and having a discussion.
Helloooo Facilitators 👋 This is a question that comes up A LOT and I would love to hear your answers to it. What's the value of Facilitation? In other words, why do teams need Facilitation/Facilitators? It's so important to be able to answer this question because it will help you convince potential clients of the value you can add to their teams as a Facilitator. Leave your answers in the comments. Looking forward to getting a discussion going on this. Rebecca 💟
I agree with @David Finnegan in that it's important to understand the type of team and what specific value facilitation / workshops would add in that context. I also think it's important to understand your unique facilitation style. We might all use similar exercises in similar ways, but we all have a 'flavour' or 'style'. We're not necessarily a good fit for everyone. Knowing the value of facilitation is important. Knowing the value of what you bring personally, is equally so.
@Philip Morley This is Gold >> "able to ask the stupid questions, show my complete ignorance, be unaware of politics and have the clarity of seeing the mess that needs clearing up"
Just completing the Workshopper video course by Jonathan... has helped me with the difference between facilitating and FACILITATOR. It has caused a shift for me now I see we are providing solutions and helping companies and others organize better to commit and get results, through our workshops. Please share your views on this .🙏 Thank you AJ& Smart for this great platform, I am completely open to learning 📕 We moooooove as we groooooove in FC 😊
@Shannon Wagers I think the word 'facilitator' is often used interchangeably with the word 'trainer' and that's where the waters get a bit mudded. I think of facilitation existing on a continuum... At one end is facilitation in it's purest sense of 'facilitating process' e.g Creating the container or framework for conversation, asking great questions, managing group dynamics etc At the other end is facilitation of knowledge exchange (aka training). What I've noticed is that more and more trainers are using facilitative techniques to create learning moments. The old-fashioned 'chalk and talk' or 'read my powerpoint' is slowly disappearing (thankfully) and instead trainers facilitate conversations that uncover the wisdom in the room---and then they fill in the gaps if necessary.
I'm curious to know what kind of facilitation everyone does...? While I recognise that Facilitation Skills/ Principles apply across all types of facilitation, I've seen a lot of posts/comments around Design Thinking, Design Sprints, UX... Apart from supporting facilitators to hone their craft, I do a lot of facilitation in the Community Engagement / Social Impact space. Strategic Planning, Community Consultation, Partnership Brokering... that kind of thing. I'm keen to see the breadth of facilitation that's in this community.
@Brent Meersman in my experience, your business will build over time and you'll naturally find your niche as you go. Start by focussing on one thing, and then let your 'set of workshops' develop over time. While it's important to work out what you want to be famous for, facilitation in and of itself is skill. Positioning yourself as a 'general facilitator' (or magician) to begin with isn't a bad thing. You can be an expert in facilitation, and design different workshops depending on what the client needs. Back yourself and just get started. It will naturally evolve as you go along.
@Andrew Phan I think that's the sign of a great facilitator. Being able to use various methodologies, work in different industries and design different types of workshops. Facilitation is the act of making something easier or possible--and that takes so many different forms.
In any meeting or workshop, I always start with some kind of activity to engaje people within each other and with the theme of the event. My favorite is Blind Portrait: a game where, in pairs, people try to draw each others faces, but without looking at the paper! That way, anyone can make a drawing full of character and surprises. In the end, each person have to choose their favorite drawing and introduce themselves with that! What about you?
@Beate Klein This is a cracker. Thanks for sharing.
@Zoha Sharifyazdi man, this thread is on fire. So many good ideas. I'm going to have fun with that in a structured online networking session I'm running in a few weeks. Thanks for sharing!
I'm curious what y'all use to bring silence back to a room (e.g. after a breakout discussion)? With the first program I was trained to facilitate (Search Inside Yourself) we used a singing bowl like the pic attached. Works like a charm, but definitely has a mindfulness vibe and isn't perfect for every setting. Are there are tools, techniques, etc. that you've found work well?
@Jan Keck we need a laughing reaction for this one. I carry all sorts of things in my facilitation kit, but never a dog toy or rubber chicken. I feel like I need to up my game. LOL
@Cheri Moya that instantly made me think of the Big Bang episode where they downloaded the 'whip' sound on their phones. Aaaah the joys of technology! Love it.
Recently I've been reflecting on how much time we spend setting the scene for a workshop. Most facilitators are very intentional about making sure everyone is on the same page about why they are there, and we work hard to ensure people feel safe and comfortable to engage. However, when it comes to the end of the workshop, it often wraps up in a hurry. There might be an action list created, perhaps a quick whip-around to see how people are feeling, but I'm not convinced that the wrap-up is always given the time (and energy) it really needs to be done well. (And for the record...I'm reflecting on my own practice here...maybe I should replace 'we' with 'me'.) I'm keen to hear how others wrap-up their sessions. Are there specific exercises you use to bring things to a close and encourage next steps are actually taken? I've got a few tried and true methods I use, but I'm keen to give it more focus.
@Rob Stevens ha ha. I love that!
@David Newman great idea
When everyone is on the same page about a way forward, it's easy to think we've done our job as a facilitator. That's certainly the end result we're looking for, after all. The problem is, if we get there too quickly, there's every chance there's been things left unsaid--or unexplored. 💭 Group-think may make finding consensus easy, but it doesn’t necessarily bring the best ideas or solutions. If you’re working with a group that is ALWAYS in agreement, try posing this question: “𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝗴𝘂𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲?” 💥 Forcing a different argument is a great way to unearth new possibilities.
@Shannon Wagers great framing.
@David Newman great question. I sometimes ask "What's one idea you're pretty sure won't work?"
Hi All, I am going through the material and I'm wondering if there are any opportunities to shadow or sit in on a real workshop somewhere near chicago so I can observe and learn first hand? I find that that is the best way for me to learn and contextualize all of the information. Thanks!
Hi David. Where are you based? I often have new facilitators be a 'fly on the wall' in my workshops. I wish I had someone who did that for me 20-odd years ago---it's a great way to learn. If you're in my neck of the woods, you would be most welcome.
@David Prorok oooh a little way away from New Zealand then. If you're ever travelling and make it to the bottom of the world, feel free to reach out.
I'm going to share the top 5 things you can do to set your video conference meetings apart from 80% of other meetings like them in your organization. The nice thing is that these are simple to do and you can start them today. #1 Welcome people by name as they join the meeting. There's nothing worse than sitting in awkward silence as people are joining the meeting. Welcoming people breaks the silence and sets you apart from other meeting hosts. #2 At the end of the meeting, thank people for their time and for joining the meeting. Let them know they are appreciated. #3 Start your meeting at 5 minutes past the hour or half-hour and end your meeting at 5 minutes before the hour or half-hour. This will help people take a quick break that have back-to-back meetings. Sure, you have 10 minutes less time in the meeting so you will need to use an agenda, keep people on task, use a parking lot for longer conversations, etc. You should be doing these things anyway. #4 Share meeting notes quickly after the meeting ends. If there are any loose ends, follow-up after they are resolved. #5 Only invite people to the people that need to be there. Share the meeting notes with others that may be interested by didn't need to sit through the meeting. They will appreciate it. I'll admit that I don't do all of these for all meetings. I'm working on it. However, when I do these simple things they set my video conference calls apart from most of the other ones people join throughout the day. Do you have any more suggestions to add to the list?
@Jeff Panning absolutely. I often find myself facilitating the chit-chat and bringing new people into the conversation. I attended an online workshop this week, and as each wave of 2-3 people arrived, they explained they were putting people into breakout groups immediately so we could 'chat over coffee'. We were all transported back to the main room when the workshop was starting. It worked really well. Haven't tried it as a host yet though.
@Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini oooh I like this language. I think I'll adopt the 'soft start'. Thanks for sharing.
I purchased these about a year ago. Anyone else use these to map out their workshops? If so, what do you think of them?
Someone (sorry, can't remember who) was talking about this in an earlier post. I think the general consensus was decks/cards can be useful when you're just starting out and want to build a toolkit of ideas quickly, but that there's more to facilitation than activities/exercises. I think there's something to be learned from everyone and everything (including cards/decks), but they are only one part of the puzzle. Use the tool that works for you!
This is one of the things I struggle to do well....when the group is engaged in conversation or generally chatting during a break, are there any more creative / effective ways of getting their attention, other than shouting 'OK, time to move on!'. I've seen some faciliators use airhorns but that seems a bit extreme 😁. And it's great to be here to learn alongside all of you!
I can't remember whether it was mentioned in the previous post, but music can be super-helpful. Have music playing in the background during breaks, about 1-2 minute before you want to call people in turn it up a bit so it's really obvious. Then turn it off when it's time to come back in. When the music stops, there's always a bunch of people who stop talking and look up, which gives you an opportunity to call them in.
Hello Folks! Wonder if you have an suggesttions. 50 teens. Approx 20 mins. Exercise to illustrate our resistance to change! Any suggestions? I look forward to hearing from you......
@Shannon Wagers I use this too. You can do the same thing with 'Crossing your Arms' - simple and effective.
Hi Everyone! So much experience and expertise in this community ... thrilled to be a member. I have a four-hour (same day) virtual session coming up and after the hour lunch break, I begin with energizer that gets the participants out of their seats and have a laugh. I have done ... find objects, eye yoga and the “after lunch shuffle”. Please what are your ideas? Thank you for sharing! Take care.
@Jeff Panning When I'm facilitating large groups, I often use cards as a way for people to form small groups and mix up who they are working with. For example: For this next activity, I'd love you to gather with 3 people who have the same suit as you....all odd numbers together, even numbers, etc etc
@Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini Oh I love this idea!
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