Post and comments
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?
@Rebecca Courtney Ah - thank you Rebecca!! Yes, a super easy and engaging one!
@William Simão beautiful!!!
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!
Hello facilitators! I'm looking for recommendations on improving speaking and communication skills, which I believe are essential to any job and especially to facilitation. In particular, I'm interested in learning: - How to make interventions concise and clear - How to engage the audience and make a lasting impression - How to discern the appropriate timing for interventions particularly in meeting/workshop settings. Any tips or resources you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
@Rebecca Courtney I am watching this as we speak - such great thoughts in great delivery! Thank you for sharing, Rebecca!
He is AWESOME!
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.
@Joao Ribeiro Great idea - I also like to gather around a circle for a debrief. Very powerful closing!
@Rebecca Courtney so true!!
Hi everyone! Just thought to see if there are any coaches in this group - I think it'd be nice to feel connected! As someone who's passionate in both coaching and facilitation, I see a lot of link between the two skills - especially listening, partnering, asking questions and reflecting back. Does anyone else find the two skills linked? A bit about me: I did my coach training with Damian Goldvarg and I'm on my way to get accredited as Associate Certified Coach by ICF this year. Would love to connect with other coaches here!
@Matteo Cassese Hi Matteo - very interesting to learn about your background. Communication skills coach is a new title/area for me, but I can imagine the demand! Great to be connected.
@Shannon Wagers Yes. And I see similarities also in that it's not the coach/facilitator to do the work or advise, but it's us helping individuals/groups achieve their goal.
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…
@Kerri Price so much to learn from this, and I loved the last line. Thank you so much for sharing.
@Kerri Price I’d like that too- firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you
After going through couple of videos from @Aj Smart youtube channel, I feel learning to facilitate is really going to help me in my career as a UX/UI Designer. But my question is where can I learn about it? Where can I learn those tricks, where can I learn to build a 'robust' toolkit?, etc. You know the internet is an ocean of knowledge, but I can't read/study everything, so if you know any resources to follow please let me know.
@Divyansh Pandey That is very nice of you to say. Enjoy the resources!
@Shannon Wagers love it! We Never stop learning 🔥
One of my favorite books of all time is 'The Power of Moments' by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. In this book, Chip and Dan talk about improving experiences for others, and they explore what makes occasions unique and memorable. Psychologists have found that, when we reflect on our experiences, we tend to remember two moments in particular: The "peak"—the best moment of a positive experience—and the ending. Peak Moments are things that happen that are out of the ordinary; they're unexpected and a bit of a surprise. These moments disproportionally impact how we remember an event. These moments make us feel excited, motivated, and surprised! So here's the question for all of us: Are we paying attention to these moments as facilitators? Are we consciously creating peaks for our customers or participants, or employees? You could run an average workshop, sticking to the agenda, and everything would run smoothly. BUT, if you've designed your plan to include a few peak moments throughout, people will remember this workshop to be incredibly special and memorable. They're more likely going to want to have you facilitate another workshop for them in the future so that you create this unique experience for them again. ❓So how can you create these peak moments in your workshops❓ 💪 Start your workshops strong: Make sure you make the group feel welcome when they arrive at the workshop. What we did in a recent workshop to create a peak moment at the beginning was we made a welcome poster with every participants name on it in fun colourful writing. We also had a little goodie bag on each persons chair for them to take home. This was filled with simple things like a notebook, sharpie, post-its and our own AJ&Smart stickers. Another workshop we had everyone wait outside the room, we blasted some high energy music and let the participants in. We high-fived each person as they came in and everyone was super pumped before the workshop even started. 🎉 Celebrate wins/milestones: Throughout your workshops, make sure to celebrate when a group finishes an exercise with a simple high five. Get everyone up and out of their seats and praise their efforts by taking a nice break outside of the office space. Take them to get ice-cream or go for a nice walk together. In a recent workshop, we rented an ice-cream van and let the group know that on their 15 minute break they could go grab an ice-cream and sit in the sun. This is a peak moment that they won't forget!
Thank you @Rebecca Courtney ! I had a mediocre workshop today and when I think about it, it was missing these 4 elements... Bought the book already!
@Johan Holst This story, coupled with the photos, is so great. Thank you for sharing!
How do you make your slides/whiteboards look really professional & not too "home-made"? I find the Designer function in powerpoint is very helpful, but it doesn't always work for slides that are more complex than simple text & pictures. What other options are there to improve slides? I have pretty good ppt skills but I do want to be a team coach not a graphic designer :-)
I have been using canva and am loving their templates. https://www.canva.com/ Paid options have greater choices, but even with free plan, there are slides that are quite easy to customize. Also, it gives a sense of 'not the regular microsoft ppt'. Even with canva, I agree it's great to limit the text/information in there as Rebecca pointed out above already.
Saying hello! I 'm the Facilitator Subject Matter Expert at Procter and Gamble! I 've been doing this over a decade and have lost track of number of ideation sessions I've led. I also teach the Train the Trainer on facilitating training for all of our internal Leadership Trainings. How Might We learn from each other ?
It's already a valuable learning to me to learn such position exists in this world! Sounds so nice to be the in-house expert on facilitation, which does not exist in my organization (UN) and thus we depend either on our internal non-facilitator capacity, or outsource everything...!
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?
Let's accept it - workshops not always go as planned, and we are always dealing with 'oh-no' situations (at least me!) So I thought to share and also learn from everyone's failures but with the mindset of 'failing forward' - every mistake can turn into a stepping stone for success in the future. I'll start with one learning from this week, and I'd love to hear your lessons learnt too! [plan] In an online workshop where participants from various countries were expected, I did an ice-breaking exercise where I shared a screen of a white world map and asked colleagues to put a stamp on where they are at the moment. [what happened] it took forever for some participants to find out how to stamp and annotate on zoom, while some got it immediately. So it wasn't smooth. Lots of scribbles on the white board too. And, actually majority of them were from the same countries so the activity didn't really serve the purpose of showing the diversity of participants. It fell flat and made it a not-so-cool start of the workshop. [lessons] - keep the technology super simple, especially if you aren't sure of the level of familiarity - have some back-up questions/activities, in case one question didn't spark interest,
@Casper Broekaart This is so great. Fail Better! Ha!! Thank you for sharing, Casper!
@Shannon Wagers That is an amazing group and environment to be able to yell that as a rally cry - thank you so much for sharing!!
I ran an experiment on LinkedIn over the past two months. I spent this time posting about the secrets to high performing teams. These 12 secrets were based on the 12 Agile Principles but re-worded to fit into non-software scenarios and used to describe what I call high performing teams. For anyone that wants to build content on LinkedIn and wants to add followers and connections as part of their network, I would highly recommend posting a series like this. I received feedback along the way about how much people enjoyed the series as well as people asking when the next post would be coming out. I wasn't overly consistent which kept them guessing. 😳 I added many new followers and connections along the way as well. 🎊 I'm sharing this in case anyone here has an interest in growing your network or becoming more well known for a topic on LinkedIn. It is truly an interesting and far reaching social media tool. I'm including a PDF that summarized the 12 secrets of high performing teams attached here in case you are curious. It includes links to each of the LinkedIn posts where I used carousel documents to describe each secret. Let me know what you think. I'm curious to get your feedback.
When I first started facilitating, I was lucky to get a lot of experience early on, but I always struggled with the unpredictable nature of the workshops. I wanted the workshops to come out as I had planned them, not how they went. When I later trained as a coach, we had an improv trainer in for half a day, and I went to do more training with him. Just another half day with him, but enough to allow me to switch my perspective on what works - and to trust that I could improvize. That was the single best thing I ever did for both my coaching and my facilitation skills. Improv allowed me to be in the moment much more - and to trust that what ever I would come up with would be the right thing for the group - and if it wasn't I could figure it out with the group. It helps me assess the group, the actual needs and to allow workshops to go in entirely different directions than planned. Mind you, I probably would do this (too much) in a Design Sprint, but a strategy session can become a team building session and an ideation session can become a concept building workshop if need be. I does take a tool box that allows you to improvize, but when you've done a few of each, - and you take a 15 minute break to re-evalute and align with the workshop owner, then you can figure out next steps. I found that it's always better to end up doing the right thing and not make it through all the exercises than to continue with the wrong thing and finish up on time. During my last Design Sprint, I realized that despite several meeting about the focus of the workshop, it turned out that participants had very different understandings of this focus and the project. Some knew exactly what the focus was, but a few were off topic. So we broke out of the room, and into a different physical room - we disassociated from the Design Sprint. Did a small workshop in there to align on the content and the focus, - and then we went back into the Design Sprint room and continued. We were 90 minutes behind schedule by lunch time, but the alignment helped us tremendously, and we caught up with the schedule by Tuesday afternoon.
Huge thanks for sharing - what an important thought. I also was trained as coach and still remember this "trust the client" "trust yourself" and "trust the process". This word came to me as I read your learnings. While we always need to be mindful of plans and time, absolutely agree on the importance of improvising and adjusting flexibly.
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of a community like this is to openly share failures and have a laugh about it 😀 What were some of your most memorable fails to date throughout your facilitation journey? Either yours or that you witnessed first hand! Let’s hear it! I’ll start in the comments!
@Joao Ribeiro Thank you for sharing! And I am amazed how you reflected and turned it into a laugh afterwards. I feel we need to be prepared to fail and recover from it!
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?
Another old school approach that sprang to my mind: whispering to the mic. I found this more impactful than shouting at the mic often.
@Maria Halse Duloquin Oh fantastic!! That's great to know. Thank you Maria!
The recently published "State of Facilitation report for 2023" is now available for access. Conducted by SessionLab, the report involved gathering feedback from more than 1000 facilitators, aiming to reflect the current state of facilitation and offer useful guidance, knowledge, and perspective for those who work as facilitators worldwide. You can find the report by clicking on this link: https://www.sessionlab.com/state-of-facilitation/ What do you find most interesting? What do you find most surprising?
Are also facilitators here who are freaking nervous and anxious before their meeting, session or workshop starts? Do you have any advise how to not freak out before? 😅 Although I would say I am always pretty good prepared and my sessions are running smoothly I get so anxious before, struggle with my imposter syndrome and expect the worst to happen. As soon as the meeting starts I get very calm and confident, so it is actually the time before which is really stressful for me although I really love what I do and I love the role of the facilitator.
So great to know I'm not the only one. I recently started doing a few minutes meditation - focusing on sound, breathe, or anything visual. I'm still nervous afterwards but I feel connected to myself, and feel more energy to run the meeting the way I want to.
@Shannon Wagers This is a wonderful way and very relaxing way to think about workshops. Thank you for sharing!
Hello Facilitators!👋 We are so EXCITED to announce that we’ll be hosting a virtual meet-up next Thursday, March 9th at 7PM CET. This is the perfect opportunity for us all to come together, get to know one another and chat about Facilitation and Workshopping in a super casual way! The purpose of this call is for you to meet and learn from other community members in a friendly, open, and relatively unstructured format! This call won’t have a ‘theme,’ but we will draw from conversations happening within the community. As the format is so unstructured, if you’d like to discuss any successes or challenges you’re experiencing in the world of facilitation and workshopping, this is the space to share. We want to make this community as unique as possible and make genuine connections with you so we can all grow and learn together as Facilitators so meeting virtually is a great step in the right direction! If you’re interested in joining, here's the link to this call. The link to join is also in the Skool calendar 🤗 Hope to see many of you at this call. I'm SUPER excited to meet you all 💛
Thank you for hosting this! It already feels like a community where I know a few people here, but indeed would be so nice to chat and come together.
If you missed the @Aj Smart session yesterday on the 3 secrets to building a successful facilitation career, the following three books were recommended. I found the discussion of group dynamics really interesting and all this time and who know there was science to back up the skill. But I digress…. Here are the books that were recommended by @Rebecca Courtney . What other books are you reading.. or can recommend to the group?
@D Scott Angle I clicked the link and it says it is a secret club so I can’t access…
@Austin Govella I love that book too! And a few more folks in the club: https://www.skool.com/facilitatorclub/the-art-of-gathering?p=0a6c074d
Hi all, just wanted to connect here with any facilitators working in or originating from this part of the world. Sharing, collaborating, and learning from one another is great here but facilitators who may share similar time zones may also face many similarities and challenges that are unique. And we are here to find out. Anyone from a different timezone is also welcome to share and learn together.
Hi folks! I’m originally from Tokyo and still go back once a year for 2-3 months. I’m currently in NY. Lived in Bangkok for 4 years recently. Great to get to know you all! For Japanese facilitators, English could be a major barrier to accessing resources and communities.
@Anderson Chow Thank you Andrew for sharing your perspective and experience. I hear you on the barriers - I have felt that too and couldn't accept them so I've been working outside of the Japanese society. Still glad you were able to make some personal connections to date. I work for the United Nations in NY, and am invested in learning facilitation as a managerial skill and also to make the meetings better/more engaging.
With almost 1800 members in this group so far and with all the various backgrounds and experiences in here, I want to try to put what we’re learning in the world of facilitation and workshopping into practice with this new challenge! I will be posting anonymized client briefs (repurposed briefs from past clients of AJ&Smart) over the next few weeks and I would love for you to design a workshop to meet these briefs. I have attached our Agenda template that you can use to complete this task. In the comments section, you can write the same headings in this template to give you some guidance. This template follows AJ&Smart’s 4C’s Framework for structuring ANY workshop. So...what is the 4C’s Framework? We’re glad you asked! The 4C’s stand for Collect, Choose, Create, and Commit. The 4C’s Framework can be used to design any workshop regardless of topic, length, or outcome. If you want to get the full breakdown of how it works and how to use it in your workshops, you can download the Workshopper Playbook, where we explain everything in detail! 🗣️So, let’s hear from the client: “Hi! I’m Jack, the product manager of a small team at Dream Big Corporations. I manage a team of 7 developers. Lately, I’ve noticed that this team is finding it difficult to connect and are regularly misaligned on decisions being made for the company. In particular, I have noticed there’s a lack of trust between group members, and they tend to blame each other if work isn’t completed. I am looking for ways to improve the culture within this department and empower these individuals to work together as a team, trust each other and deepen connections. I would like you to run a 3-hour workshop at our HQ in Stockholm. At the end of the workshop, I would like to have a list of team-building activities or suggestions that will help improve trust and connection within this department. My main goal is for this team to trust each other and to communicate more effectively moving forward."
@David Newman very inspired by the Lego serious play approach- thanks for sharing!
@Andrea Browne it is a great book - I had not looked at it though. Thanks for sharing!
How awesome would it be to have a book club and discuss it all together? Calling on all executives 😀 @Rebecca Courtney @Jakub Michalski @Jonathan Courtney
@Lukas Liebich I was thinking the same. The community team in AJ&Smart has been so open to members posting and communicating anything really - the space is here🙌
What do you love? Let's talk about the things we enjoy and appreciate most! Feel free to answer one, some or all of these questions... 1. What has been your favourite job so far? 2. What is your favourite place? 3. What is your favourite workshop icebreaker? 4. What is your favourite pre or post workshop snack? 5. What is your favourite time of year? 6. What book have you enjoyed the most? 7. What is your favourite software app? 8. What is your favourite kind of music? 9. What is your favourite quote, or one that is most meaningful to you? 10. What is your favourite way to spend your free time?
My favourite netflix show - Queer Eye. Any fans out there…?
@Serena Snoad Ahh!! The Fave Fives!! Great to find common love!
Hey Facilitators, I know many of you are just starting out in the field - I thought it might be interesting for you if I shared my journey to becoming a full-time facilitator. Of course - your journey can be much faster than mine! 2010: I finish my studies in Italy, internship in Germany, and start a full-time Management Consulting job in Prague. 2011: In my first year as an analyst in Management Consulting, I have no clue what I’m doing. But I’m doing it every day till the late hours of the evening. So it must be worth the time. 2012: I’m getting the hang of what I’m supposed to do. I’m becoming the Master of PowerPoint and the Wizard of Excel. I also join this strange club called “Toastmasters” and conclude that public speaking could be a cute little hobby. 2013: During my days, I learn how to swim with the corporate sharks. During my nights, I entertain people with my speeches about my teenage dating life and piña colada. 2014: Promotion in Management Consulting. My salary doubles. Nice. But also a feeling that what I truly love is being in front of people and teaching them stuff. That I do in Toastmasters. In my free time. For free. 2015: After overdoing it a little at work (E.g. working 32 hours straight without sleep, ending up not having the strength to click a mouse), I quit Management Consulting and join MSDm for a more relaxed job. With more “free time,” I start winning some public speaking contests. 2016: I decide to become “famous” in Toastmasters. I do PR stunts such as adding Pulp Fiction slides to trainings about creativity and making people sing Britney Spears songs in my trainings. 2017: In MSD (the company I work for), I propose to our local L&D: “You don’t need to pay the external trainers. I can do the trainings for free. And better.” The local L&D have doubts, but they give me a chance. 2018: The reviews of my trainings in MSD get EXTREMELY positive. Now I get to do a LOT more trainings. The only problem is: It doesn’t seem like something I could make a career in.
Thank you so much for sharing, Lukas. An honest and real paths are always so rich as they demonstrate how there is no one way to become anything. I am fascinated how you established your own brand and work in the company. Very inspirational!
In what situations would you say facilitation and workshops are the wrong answer and approach? One obvious to me is when the problem is well defined, solution is fairly known and it can be implemented by a handful of people. In other words, when there are low levels of uncertainty. What else? Let's hear your thoughts :)
@Julia Carolina Glad to hear that Julia! Thank you for your kind comment.
@Rebecca Courtney what an useful framework for decision. The 2&3 make a lot of sense!
Hi All, Solution Architect + UXer working for a global software company here in Japan. Run a few different workshops with our customers - but all with the goal of determining their needs, (hopefully) matching this with something in our portfolio and then looping this back to improve our offerings! Please say hi! 😀
はじめまして！just go excited to see Japanese characters on this board. Nice to meet you! I am from Tokyo and now in NY.
Hello Facilitators 👋 Thank you so much for all your contributions and active participation so far. We are so appreciative of the value you are all providing within this community. But don’t worry, your contributions will not go unnoticed! A lot of questions have come in about the gamification aspect of this community. What I mean by that is, how you can be rewarded for providing value and actively engaging in this community! In Skool, there is a way you can earn points and level up. The likes, points, and levels system in Skool is a way for you to earn recognition for your contributions and engagement with the group. Here's how it works: 1. Likes: Members can "like" posts, comments, or other contributions made by other members. This serves as a way to show appreciation and support for their efforts. One like = one point. 2. Points: Points are a way to keep track of how much a person has participated in the community. Members can earn points by posting individual posts and commenting on other people’s contributions. 3. Levels: Levels are milestones that a member can reach by earning a certain number of points. These levels serve as recognition for their achievements within the community and come with perks such as access to exclusive AJ&Smart content, course previews, coaching calls and more…). The likes, points, and levels system is a way for us to incentivize and reward active and engaged members, creating a supportive and collaborative environment for everyone here. This Loom video I created will explain everything you need to know about this system and how to unlock rewards! HUGE thank you @Kerri Price, @Will Stammers, @Jeff Panning, @Joao Ribeiro, @David Finnegan, @Hassanein Ismail, @Akshay Chillal, @Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini, @Sam Pettersson and @Andra Stefanescu (our top 10 members on the Leaderboard) who have provided so much value to this community already. We 💛 you!
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 !
Interesting question! I have used Miro and Mural, for something quite complex. Miro was felt more intuitive to participants although I didn't feel really any big difference... More recently, when it can be simple, I use google JAM board, or the whiteboard embedded in zoom. This is because I always kept losing participants/focus when I had to move the participants from one app to another, or when the use of the tools were complicated and there were login issues, technology questions etc. - so as mush as possible, I try to work on what's simple and require less technology. @Amr Khalifeh puts this issue so well in this video under tip #5 in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ29ogI2y9k&t=246s But of course, sometimes we need the kind of Miros - I agree with that! And sorry if I am not really answering your question 😅
I'm not sure how many of you know of Voltage Control out of Texas, but they run an online Facilitation Lab every Thursday where a guest facilitator runs a short workshop (often they are prototyping) for other facilitators and then receive feedback from a supportive group of peers. This might be of interest to some in this community, particularly if you are newer to this. The numbers present vary from 15 upwards. I had over 60 the day I ran an Improv Workshop. Free registration. You can sign up for it here: https://voltagecontrol.com/facilitation-lab/
1-30 of 40
Loves bringing out the best in people! Works for the United Nations (Mozambique, Nepal, Thailand, Sierra Leone, now in New York); coach; facilitator
Member since Jan 19, 2023
Active 9h ago
24% complete of 4 courses