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!
@Alex James welcome to the club!
@Melissa Anzman I’m confident you’ll get a lot out of both
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…
Hey there! 👋 Facilitator Club is THE community for Facilitators or those who want to learn the skill of facilitation, where you can… ✅ Talk about facilitation and workshops (like the Design Sprint!) ✅ Talk about facilitation careers and how to build one (and make $$$ as a Facilitator!) ✅ Share workshop/facilitation insights, experiences, and resources ✅ Ask the AJ&Smart team questions about facilitation & workshops! This document contains important information about getting the most out of this community, so please read through everything before you get started! 👇👇👇 💃 How to get the most out of the Facilitator Club community 🕺 Really happy to have you here, hope you love the community as much as we do! Lots of love, The AJ&Smart team 💛
@Hanna Mittenzwei welcome to the club.
@Dimple Gursahani Just responded to you DM.
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?
The AJ&Smart is a good choice. I also use Lofi Girl on YouTube a lot. Theres a lot to choose from there. https://youtu.be/lTRiuFIWV54
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.
@Rebecca Courtney they are so good, and plenty on amazon - my top tip is getting some really good Bluetooth headphones - Reduces the risk of get all tied up or necking yourself lol - Distracting people wanting to know what that noise is… I love mine, it also helped in managing my need to facilitate and move around whilst also getting my daily steps up WIN WIN lol
@David Newman I agree and set this as a principle at the beginning
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?
@David Robertson This is a great team building exercise!
@Kerri Price I just set them up using the digital whiteboard, poll questions, and get people to score themselves.
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! 👇
I run something similar but a robot. Where I get them to talk to the key features and what that solves for people. To get them to think about MVP & MVE
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 !
I have used all three currently focused on figma as it’s ability to transition seamlessly to prototyping
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.
@Diane Saia I do too. I am actually incorporating it into a workshop next week
@Johannes Berner great base to work from. I’ve coached many a designer as facilitators. The foundations work so well for exploration and not introducing bias into the picture. Hope you enjoy the club
Hey Workshoppers! I'm Jonathan, originally from Ireland but i've been living in Germany for the last 14 years. I'm the co-founder of AJ&Smart (on it's 12th year now!) and i'm super excited to see this community grow into something special. I spend most of my time running AJ&Smart (both the consulting and corporate sides and the consumer business), running workshops and trainings for clients, coaching Facilitators in our higher-tier programs (like Workshopper Master) annnnnd now doing a new podcast called "The Unscheduled CEO". The podcast is kind of a behind-the-scenes of AJ&Smart. In my free time I.... wait... actually I don't really have hobbies :D I just love running this business!!! I guess I play videogames sometimes! (Stuck on Elden Ring rn) Happy to be here and really loving what I'm seeing and learning so far! Cheers, Jonathan
Hey @Jonathan Courtney I really enjoyed your prior podcast and look forward to the new one. Hope you’re having a great weekend. Also big thank you to you and the team for maturing and providing such cool content to support work shoppers globally. Cheers
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.
@Nicolas Beaulieu Like this!
@Kerri Price lol
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.
Interesting proposition and challenge and discussion thread. I think it’s our role to guide people to that outcome though. Group think and consensus gained through techniques of “together alone” and voting in silence. Ensures that you’re working to open things up and reduce limitations and bias. Also I always start every session with Expert Interviews so as a group everyone hears what’s important to the outcome. Also it’s the “deciders” role to ensure that we explore and assess all the options and drive towards the best possible outcome. When I am coaching a decider, I let them know that they are going to have access to the brains trust and opinions of all the participants. This ensures they have a better chance and more confidence in the outcomes. For me if I was being asked as a business consultant to define the solution that would be where it changes but for me that’s a totally different role to the facilitator. I’m loving these discussions.
I'm a bit all over the place when it comes to getting things done. I do my best work in short bursts of high-energy sprints. The rest of the time I’m resting, consuming interesting content, and thinking about what I want to do next. This is exactly what I’m doing right now after completing an intense film shoot for a new online course we’ll be releasing soon. My time is split into 80% ‘rest and consume’ mode and 20% ‘produce and execute’ mode (which is kind of perfect for facilitation I think). One of the greatest thinkers of our time, Naval Ravikant has come to the same conclusion when it comes to working. He calls it “Working like a Lion”. He says: “The way people tend to work most effectively, especially in knowledge work, is to sprint as hard as they can while they feel inspired to work, and then rest. They take long breaks. It’s more like a lion hunting and less like a marathoner running. You sprint and then you rest. You reassess and then you try again. You end up building a marathon of sprints. Don’t work like a cow grazing on the field all day.” Source: https://nav.al/work-hard So work hard, then rest hard instead of trying to sustain a constant “mid-level” state. Or... don't! I don't know, that's just my brain! Cheers, Jonathan P.S. I also liked this video on living a chaotic life: https://youtu.be/A2sS00egAzg
@Jacinta Noonan I consider it a superpower
@Jacinta Noonan that is wonderful! If you ever want to talk to someone about it hit me up
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.
@Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini this would be so great for virtual too. Will definitely try this out.
@Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini I’ve used this a lot in my remote sessions. Another thing I like to do is treasure hunts. where you provide your participants categories of things to find in their homes. IE something red… the last book you read, your favourite piece of stationary… which is because I am a stationary junkie 😂
Facilitation is very unique skill as every individual has their own way of presenting, teaching, communicating and leading discussions. It's not like a standard process where you just copy anyone and do the same. However, the quality is very important so as to make it impactful and memorable experience. ✨ So, as a group of professional facilitators in various domains - Have you ever tried measuring your facilitation performance?🤔 If yes, what are the ways you have tried it ? I understand surveys are one of best methods to get the feedbacks but apart from that what other approaches makes it beneficial? In case you think measuring or assessing is not that important aspect, do share your thoughts why you feel so 😊 Looking forward to know views on this topic !
Getting the outcome based on the context of the workshop. I also at the end of any workshop get the team to play back to get the feedback from the business sponsor(s) especially if they were not a decider during the session. Most of my workshops also result in a product being created and tested. So I get our customers (users) to provide a Likelihood to Recommend score similar to NPS.
@Akshay Chillal thanks and happy to share. At the end of the customer (user) interview you ask for a rating between. 1 - 10. 1-6 are considered demoted. So you’ve got more work to do. 7-8 are passive and 9-10 are promoters. Generally it’s only a small sample but as most organisations use NPS the score and the verbatim of Why they rated it that way has given a baseline measure and also opportunities to improve and celebrate what you have achieve in the workshop. Also Execs and the business love to see a measure they can relate to. I have attached an image of NPS and they way you calculate the score.
The first time I ever facilitated a workshop, I was terrified. I had never been in charge of keeping a conversation on track before, and I certainly didn't know how to handle silence.Silence is a fundamental tool for facilitation. In fact, it can help teams to better collaborate and come up with creative solutions for highly complex problems. At first, silence may be seen as a challenge to participants, but over time, they realize that silence allows them to listen more carefully and think more deeply about their proposals.They also understand that silence gives others the opportunity to do the same, and as a result, everyone becomes more thoughtful in their interactions and produces better results. Working together-alone is a way to use silence. Walking meditation is another. How are you using silence in facilitation?
I use Together alone a lot. Cross talking can create challenges of bias and derailing the flow. It also allows the participants to have the space to think and not feel pressure. Also as a facilitator it gives you a break to recharge. Walk the room and prepare for the next activity/exercise.
Mastering the art of eliciting information is very crucial in order to understand client needs clearly, sometimes the clients may not give you the root causes for their issues, you may end up treating symptoms and that's will impact the delivery and outcomes. Asking the same question from different angles and different people will give you better clues. mini-meeting with several members from the client's team; will give you the chance to observe how they are interacting and guide each other to the root causes. anymore ideas :)
Have you heard of the business model canvas? This is a great tool to understand the ecosystem. Strategyzer has a lot of tools. https://www.strategyzer.com/canvas Also working on the Design Sprint Map before with the decider and a few others. Can unlock a lot of information quickly. Also in my experience it’s also helped in redefining the problem space.
What do you all think about method card decks? Personally I used them a bit at university to plan/design workshops I remember liking the tactile feel instead of flipping through books like Gamestorming. But now I feel that they might be redundant or more of a novelty product. I'm still considering designing my own with my favorite methods for personal use, but I'm split in other decks as I both see reasons in paying no attention to them and hoarding them like a greedy dragon. Pros & Cons I see +Tactile +Compact +Can be displayed on the wall in the workshop room as a sort of schedule -Less information on methods than books -Planning/designing workshops can be easily done digitally or with post-it's instead when you know your favorite methods. I would like to hear other opinions on this topic as I feel like I'm missing something.
Having options are always good a few people have already covered Pipdecks. I draw on the “Design Sprint” a lot. The main things is less is more. By getting a few tried and true ones that you can run with confidence is my top tip. Then bringing them together as a recipe that will guide the group to the outcome.
Been looking into some solutions for hybrid facilitation (some people are in the meeting room, and others are online) Some common recommendation for IWBs are Jamboard (Google) and Surface Hub (Microsoft) I also found a startup called Vibe, who makes Vibe board as a more affordable option Wonder what are the pros and cons of conducting facilitations with an IWB? And anyone has suggestions for choosing an IWB?
It can be a challenge. I’ve used Miro, Mural and more recently Figma. Figma is great as you can seamlessly transition from the digital whiteboard into prototyping. In hybrid situations I tend to have all activities digital. Most of the above applications also have breakout rooms functionality and the ability to hide activities until you’re ready for the group to move to the next exercise. Biggest challenge is setup and technical issues and also induction of people that are not used to using the application.
@David Newman I agree and should form part of your recipe as an induction I usually use gamification for this.
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?
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?
@Hanna Mittenzwei I was just talking to a friend that said the same thing. What helps me is I am note taking whilst listening and then reframing in my own context.
@Jason Reagin I also mentioned that it would be great if we had a document library as I’ve been really impressed by the content being shared. Are we able to tag content? @Rebecca Courtney
I'm planning to facilitate my first workshop using the tools from attending the Design Sprint MasterClass and currently doing the Facilitation Fundamentals one. My plan is to do a 3 hour workshop and use the Expert Interviews, HMW, Long Term Goal, Sprint Questions & Map exercises and tools. In preparation, I will be revisiting the Remote Design Sprint Masterclass and will be speaking with the client tomorrow for the pre-sprint call. I plan to use the template Miro board prepared by AJ & Smart and will do a mock run through with my technical facilitator a few days before. Considering my lack of experience, I guess I'd appreciate advice, if I might be missing something fundamental that i should consider/prepare for. I'm really excited about it, but in equal measure, quite anxious about it too and sometimes think I might be setting myself up for failure.
@Elisabeth Jimenez I have a cheat…. use your slide pack to visualise each exercise and timing…. Which means that you will be able to move through the recipe and be supported by the slide set… also it aids the participants as you have visualised the next activity in the process.. Also I never.. do the MAP in the session - I always Jamie Oliver it and say here is what I have prepared earlier usually in consultation with the decide… and open it up to the group for input… Yes and style conversation. Remember you are the Guide not the hero… as long as you can take them through the recipe you will be fine.. It is really the deciders role to take on the opinions of the group to make more informed decisions. Hope this helps Cheers Wil
What are some of your go-to exercises when facilitating UX or Product Discovery workshops? EDIT: I figured I didn't elaborate on his topic more, sorry for that! I didn't mention I actively do these. 🤓 So I am more interested in your experiences with some "unusual" workshop exercises besides those "standard" ones (like empathy mapping, feature bucketing, etc.) From my experience, some of the exercises I actively use are contextual mapping, empathy mapping (preferably if there are people we can find for interviewing), customer journey mapping (current vs. desired, might add HMWs to this exercise as well), feature prioritization and hierarchy, AttrakDiff scale, etc.
@Hrvoje Abraham Milićević check out the Design Sprint it will provide a recipe to get a prototype that can be tested with customers and other users in 5 days. Once you have this under your belt you can also break it up for shorter workshops. Check out the @Aj Smart YouTube channel there’s a lot of material there. But if you want to do more in this space I would recommend the course they provide. (Not a paid promotion) it will support and fast track your ability to run one successfully
Hey Facilitators, Firstly apologies for those of you that have seen this on the other AJS channels, but for those of you that haven't seen it, here you go... You may have also seen that Jonathan also did a react video on latest Unscheduled CEO podcast ----------- The Business Model Canvas is a great workshopping tool (when used well) to retrospectively analyse a business but also plan transformations. I recently used it to deconstruct AJ&Smarts business model and show how Jonathan and team transformed their business twice (into what we see now). I really hope you enjoy this video, it was made for people like you :) Hope you enjoy it - https://youtu.be/PiIBSDnJPew Thanks, Spence
Great share and I use these in my pre work discussions with business sponsors to understand the problem statement ecosystem. Love this canvas!
@Spencer Ayres it is so quick and allows you to as a facilitator to active listen and also drawing out on the perspectives in the room. A gift that keeps on giving
Hey squad! ✌️ hoping to get some advice about mapping 'shops, Currently running both EM & CJM to help my team align on how users experience various flows in our digital product, however the more I run these workshops, the more I feel like what we learn in EM can get discovered in the CJM, if we consider including the Thinking, Feeling, Seeing & Doing during the phases ('Doing' and 'Feeling' already covered in more depth during CJM anyway) Has anyone had any experience with running a workshop where both these maps were combined? Any pitfalls or advantages you experienced? or potential stumbling blocks you encountered? Any advice would be great! Thanks!
Hi @Max Taylor I think a tool that might do a better job of this and a little more complex is a Service Design Blueprint https://www.nngroup.com/articles/5-steps-service-blueprinting/ Most executives want to understand service challenges in digital channels that I usually frame around Friction - where the interaction is not intuitive or there are too many calls to action or steps to get to the customer goal. Fail - customers can not complete their goal or give up in the process Force out - the digital experience doesn’t support the next step in a process or flow that has the customer forced out into another channel. IE new customer goes to apply and finds out they have to go to a branch to physically do their ID. Existing customer has to print and wet signature a contract and take it into a branch I also suggest that you do at least two personas one for existing-with a focus of retention and digital first engagement the second new - engagement and ease of application. The other thing is data… if you have NPS map it to each of the phases. Other data like complaints data… The great thing about a service blueprint it allows you to understand where the challenges exist but also highlight the probable cause. As it shows where in the digital ecosystem the challenges exist which translate to possible initiatives to solve them. Hope this helps
Hello awesome Facilitators! Just joined the community and looking forward to the collaboration. Curious to know if anyone is from a life science and health care background. I've been running design sprints for 8 years in this area, and looking to connect with anyone venturing down this path. Thanks in advance.
Hi @Tim Daines welcome to the club. Whilst I haven’t had experience in these industries I’d be keen to hear more about your experience in the space.
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!
@Chris Silva snap
@Hassanein Ismail I totally agree!
I am a lover of a good pack and I learned some great skills as a consultant for most of my career. I know using tools like Powerpoint and creating a layout is not everyone's fun place when it comes to pulling together a workshop. I have created heaps of these for Design Sprints, Incubators and other recipes that have been tried and matured over time. That provides me with a clear outline of the flow and helps guide the participants and me through the upcoming activities. So my little Poll to guage interest.
9 members have voted
🤩 I am very happy to be part of this community. I appreciate the generosity of the contributions shared and hope to be of help as well. I live in Chile 🇨🇱, I have a consulting firm that provides accompaniment, outsourcing and facilitation services. My English is not very good but translators help a lot 😅. If there is anything I can do to help you, just let me know! See you soon 😌 PD: Thanks you @Jeff Panning for your welcome and for encouraging me to greet the world✌️
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I partner with organisation and their people to innovate by using collaborate techniques to guide them to outcomes at pace.