Posts

Facilitation Can Change the World – An Interview with Barbara MacKay

Joshua Voon, of our International Facilitation Cohort (2018-2019) interviewed me in July 2018 with what he calls meta questions. I thought his questions were wonderful and would perhaps be of interest to those who have or are starting a facilitation practice. Here are his questions and my answers. Q: What got you interested in facilitation?…
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Energizer: Positively Connecting the Group

True to my word, we are keeping the blog very short and sweet for the next little while. Here is a quick energizer I’ve used in various formats for many years. I learned and adapted it from my Portland colleague Paula Manley! It is also based on the “flow” concept of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It works…
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Making Your Job Easier as Facilitator – The Art of Preparation

Today, we’re going to talk about how our team usually prepares for a facilitation event. It is a little bit like preparing a picnic! You want to get all of your dishes figured out ahead of time, know which dishes go together and decide how you are going to arrange them in the agenda. We’re…
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Short But Powerfully Participatory Meetings

The Diagnosis You have 20 to 30 minutes to hold your regular team meeting. You’ve fallen into the bad practice of just having people report out. It has become an informational meeting where there’s not very much interaction. Some people may be paying attention for part of it but probably not all of it! You…
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What Can A Facilitator Do to Honour Life’s Milestones?

Since 1995, when I first learned the Technology of Participation methods from The Institute of Cultural Affairs, I have been impressed with the tool I have heard them use on staff and collegial special events, good-byes and birthdays. However, the way I’ve been using it over the decades, is to conduct a conversation with my…
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Deepen the Dialogue on School Gun Violence–A Facilitator’s Approach

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote about eight ways to process a tragedy using the ToP (Technology of Participation) Focused Conversation method. Each conversation was designed for a specific group in mind. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been processing the US school shootings – one in a high school and one in…
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Challenging Participant Behaviors – An 8 Step Survivor’s Guide

Imagine you are presenting at a pre-conference workshop where everyone wants to be there. People have signed up and paid to be there. There was no possibility that someone could show up at the facilitators conference, pay a good amount of money and not want to be there. Right? Not so! This is what happened…
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Brainstorming Gone Wrong? Here’s How to Fix It

We suspect you have seen poor brainstorming technique by people NOT trained as facilitators. Typically here is how brainstorming goes: The meeting person says: “We have problem x. What can we do to solve it?” The leader writes down as many ideas as they can get from whomever has an answer on a flipchart or…
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Spring Clean Your Meetings! The Art of A Fresh Start

This blog contains a series of videos and handouts on how to dramatically enliven your meetings. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is often the time we take to get rid of old, NOT useful things. It is a time to freshen up our day-to-day living space. We call this process “spring…
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Tips of Wisdom for Teams

These ten tips are from a short article by Cyprian D’Souza (see bio and contact info below) who worked for many many years doing work for the Institute of Cultural Affairs. He has summarized best practices from his vast experience working collaboratively. I found this print version of the article while doing a major overhaul…
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