Getting to a “center with no sides” state is great. This is where my coachee was trying to get her team to - thinking of solutions to their central, big hairy goal. But it doesn’t come for free...you have to build up to that conversation. First she had to get them to locate themselves as *in* vs outside the circle of the question. Once they were aligned with the goals...that’s where the magic of the third conversation comes in. Leading powerful, transformational change requires the ability to facilitate three essential conversations, to answer three key questions: What is in and what is out? Ie, what are we talking about and what are we not going to talk about? Who is in and who’s out? Are we all in? What is our center with no sides? Ie, what is the most central question we are hoping to solve together? How can we dance on the edge of possibility? Once we know what we are talking about, and our most central question, how can we look past what’s possible to solve this challenge?
VARK refers to “Visual, Auditory, (W)ritten and Kinesthetic learning types. Although the theory is contested, it’s still a good shorthand for engagement. While you can’t really diagnose and customize for a specific learning style, adults usually claim to excel in one over the other. I like to make sure I move around the VARK circle early and often. When I work with leaders on developing their facilitation approach I like to get them to think about what other types of variety they might use to engage people. Any one of these modes of engagement can get boring if overused! The code word is variety! Spectrums to create variety across include: Visual: I love to get people to sketch their ideas on paper…it’s a cheat, because it also uses written communications and is highly kinesthetic. It’s a 3-for-1 Auditory: Clear instructions, judicious use of music (one facilitator invited folks to play their own music during a silent, muted brainstorm. Written communications: Anchoring the conversation in written text, either in slides, in chat or in a shared document can create engagement if not overused. Kinesthetic modes: Like stretching, or using objects in their space. Conversational Size, Interpersonal to Intrapersonal: ie, making time for small and large conversations, including time for individuals to think. Tempo or Cadence: making time for short, focused bursts and more slowed down conversations. Control or Power: Making space for structured work as well as creating space for unstructured, decontrolled or decentralized conversations. Patterns: I am a huge fan of breakouts and “think-pair-share” but even that can get boring if over-used. Leveraging a greater variety of group conversational patterns, like round-robin, popcorn-style share outs or fishbowl conversations.
TL;DR: A framework for having hard conversations with stakeholders and teams. Especially useful where there’s disagreement on what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, prioritisation, and what success looks like. You should be able to get people using this in 10 minutes or less.
SessionLab is the dynamic way to design your workshop and collaborate with your co-facilitators The most intuitive session planning system for facilitators, consultants and trainers. Design facilitation plans collaboratively, share professional-looking agendas with your clients and have a shared knowledge base within your team.
5Es of Experience Design: ENTICE, ENTER, ENGAGE, EXIT, EXTEND When you design a meeting as an experience, keep the 5Es framework as 5 “phases” of the experience in mind. Ask yourself: How might I entice people to join the meeting, how to get them to enter the conversation, how best to engage the participants, how to exit on the right note and how to extend the action to maintain momentum. I’ll guide you through these five phases with tools and case studies, so you can apply them at your work.
extensive lists of links
online course by Daniel Stillman
Together, Look Back on Progress to Date and Decide What Adjustments Are Needed (45 min.) What is made possible? You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What. The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!
There are a few enormous benefits to using challenge maps. First, challenge maps help teams surface the key decision points that will have the greatest potential impact, both for users and the business. Challenge maps also help teams get aligned and on the same page about the most impactful next step. Finally, and maybe most importantly, challenge maps help teams see where their thinking has been too limited, inspire fresh thinking, and unlock innovation.
He told me his First Rule of Consulting: No matter how much you try, you can’t stop people from sticking beans up their nose... Time and time again, I come across situations where I think, “OMG! They are trying to stick beans up their nose!” It explains what’s happening and what I should do next. The only thing I can do in a beans-and-noses situation (notice my clever use of flight-attendant grammar forms?) is wait. Wait until the bean is in its final resting place. Then, with a calmness only seen in yoga instructors, I can turn to the nose owner and ask, “So, how is that working for you? Did it do everything you’d hoped?” Of course, if they answer they enjoyed it and it was wonderful, then they are not someone I can relate to or help in any way. However, if sticking a bean deep into their nostril doesn’t meet the very high expectations they’d had, I can now start talking alternative approaches to reaching those expectations.
Here is a collection of resources I use in my facilitation practice. By and large these resources support facilitation of participatory and self-organizing process at scales ranging from very small groups to large conferences. I use some of these tools directly and others as inspirations to design and create my own processes. The first section provides links to participatory group process that are inclusive and self-organizing to varying degrees. The section on process architecture and maps contains links to sites whose worldviews can inform process design from single meetings to large scale change. The next three sections cover more specific tools useful for particular purposes, and finally the last section contains links to sources of ongoing inspiration.
group facilitation methods for icebreakers, brainstorming, prioritizing, etc.