Deepen Your Impact – What Seoul Taught My Soul
In just a minute, you will read and see more about deepening your impact when you facilitate groups. But first, take a tour of Seoul’s, South Korea, incredible depth via a few photos. Imagine what this country has been through and is going through. Breathe in the richness, depth, resilience, creativity of these people! Then, we’ll explore why some facilitators make all the difference in the world and others leave the group with perhaps a feel-good or reasonable experience but do not guide them to deep transformation and long-term impact.
We’ll use mostly photos from our pre-conference and concurrent sessions to illustrate some points about what to be sure to include in your facilitated workshops. If you follow these five points, it greatly enhances the opportunities for deep impact. Some of the photos were taken by Loh Teck Kwang (Singapore) and Yvonne Yam (Hong Kong), two of my co-facilitators.
Note: Some facilitators don’t yet have the skill, training or experience to execute. If you are not consistently creating the possibility for these deeper transformative moments, ask: “Why not? and, “What do I not possess or do to make them happen?”
1. Have People Speak in the First 5 Minutes
Sometimes we think have to tell them everything at the beginning – the context, agenda, objectives, the ground rules, parking lot, about your role and on and on… too much at one time will dull their minds, and decrease their interest and future participation.
Instead, consider doing an intro activity first with some easy but also one deeper question or activity. Look at what we had people do on entering the room in our pre-conference:
2. Warm Up the Group’s Thinking
First, allow people quiet time to do their own rough thinking and then test their thinking in the safety of a pair. Ideally, give them a chance to share something visually as well as verbally. This will make the sharing more concrete for everyone. It could be a metaphorical drawing or flow diagram they do ahead of time.
This is not their final thinking! Instead it is a time for ideas to be created and shared in the safety of small numbers. Sharing an idea or story outloud with someone’s good listening attention, emboldens the creator/ story teller to offer it to the whole group later. Likely the next version will be even richer and more useful!
3. Provide Co-Creation Time
Now you’ve warmed up their thinking with some relevant questions, ask them the REAL question. What do you really want them to answer? Then, have them co-create answers by e.g., writing on a flipchart in groups of 3-4.
4. Get THEM to Converge!
Converging could include reaching consensus, getting each person to summarize their best thinking, or helping the group choose what will work best for the current situation. In an idea generating session, once they have all participated in co-creating potential ideas, each small group must choose what is most important and align their thinking with the whole group. In other types of sessions, it might be in the form of a smaller list of recommendations, a summary statement or action plan as seen below. Not converging is failing to do what they engaged (hired) you to do! (Thanks to my co-assessor Tony Nash for that sobering thought). And, remember it is not YOUR job to converge at any point. You ask them to do it.
5. Encourage Drama in Sharing Outputs or Results
It is wonderful to celebrate the “outputs” of a group with some dramatic flare. It engages the soul. The laughter and story telling helps each group member “embody” their results or decisions. It fosters a spirit of “Si, Se Puede!” (Spanish for “Yes, We Can!” (Do this!) There will be more liklihood of transformation into the future with some simple 5-15 minute dramatic summaries because the results go into our long term memories.