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Barbara MacKay

Will Online Meetings Become a Whole New Offshoot of Facilitation?

All of us have experienced a new norm of online meetings. Like the split tree photo in this banner, I believe online facilitation will become as important and as normal as face-to-face meetings. Maybe even more so. Thus, our mission is to become as skillful facilitating in the online as the in-person environment. And, if…

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Why Facilitators Need to Talk About Race

This month I’m continuing on the topic of race (a social construct which has complex origins and often, harmful consequences) and facilitation.  In full disclosure, I am not a full-time facilitator of racial dialogues. I have had many occasions to hold these conversations in groups because it comes up in strategic planning, or team-building/conflict interventions….

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When the Facilitator Must NOT Be Neutral

It’s been a month since we last wrote our blog. The tree embedded in the banner represents some big things the human race is finally speaking about on a global basis – race inequity and other forms of oppression.  In many parts of the world there have been demonstrations about race, specifically triggered by deadly…

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ORID Can Light Your Way Through the Next Phase of COVID-19

The Focused Conversation is the mega method underlying all of the Technology of Participation (ToP) methodologies. It helps the facilitator be very clear on what product or understanding you want the group to have as a result of your conversation. This is called the rational aim (RA). And somewhat unique to most methods, it is…

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Uncovering Opportunities – A Facilitator’s Early Response to a Global Shutdown

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, some of us are finding lots of opportunities to offer our skills and services as process facilitators.  And others are not. I want to acknowledge that both are true right now.  And neither is better than the other. It just is. Nonetheless, I also want to emphasize that there are…

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The Surprising and Creative Response to COVID-19

For weeks, I’ve been isolating myself at least in a physical way.  And yet I feel potentially more connected to the world, colleagues, friends and family more than ever before because of our collective care and concern for this global shut down.  I’ve hesitated to offer anything because I see my colleagues offering so much. …

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Celebrating Black Female Facilitators

In the U.S., February is African American history month. It began as a celebration of contributions by African Americans at a time when those contributions were not remotely recognized.  This month is meant to be a tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity and oppression in achieving full citizenship in American…

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The Importance of Pauses in Process Work

I rarely pause in my life. My family would attest to this fact. Yet life goes better with pauses. I have learned this the hard way.  In process facilitation, pauses are an incredibly important part of the entire agenda. If you don’t pause at the right moments, you miss the opportunity for such things as…

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Sharpening the Focus on Your Meeting Outcomes

The new year seems like a good time to talk about setting goals. However, I’d actually like to talk to you about setting the objectives or aims of all of your different meetings and discussions. In ToP language, we call this the rational and experiential aims. Knowing how to craft very focused aims has been…

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Facilitator Math – When You Need to Use Numbers to Get Better Results

Most facilitators are not really into math, but you may need to be. I keep discovering how important it is to watch numbers and patterns (the underlying structure of math) when you are conducting a facilitated session.  Here are two quick tips to get really good results.   One is something all facilitators seem to get…

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