Facilitator Tools

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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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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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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Facilitator Endurance: 4 Stages That Win You the Gold

I’ve been thinking about endurance. The winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea now, are a very big demonstration of endurance. Athletes go through a four stage process more or less of endurance training. What about facilitators? I’d like to talk about the why and what of the four stage process as it relates to our…

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Facilitating From the Side – There’s Hope for Bad Meetings

I worry a lot about people who attend meetings. I worry because many tell me how bad they are. I am totally spoiled. I simply don’t attend others’ meetings unless I know they will be well run. Most of the time, I am facilitating them or facilitating from the side without permission. What about those…

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Got 10 minutes? The Power of Reflection

I started to write my blog today and part way through it I felt like throwing it out the window – it was sooooooo boring! I felt I had said the same things a million times. So instead I’m just talking to you from the heart today – it is something I have wanted to…

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Tinkering with Open Space!

A number of colleagues and I occasionally debate whether it’s ok to modify a well known, well established, outstanding framework. In the course of a recent conversation, a few of us came up with a modification to one of the steps in the Open Space Technology (OST) framework. For me, OST has always been a…

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Four Lessons from 22 Years of Facilitation Practice

Next year is my 23rd anniversary for being in business as North Star Facilitators. That’s a relatively big piece of history for me.  As I reflect on my own journey, it’s sometimes hard to notice my successes. Likely many of us tend to focus on where we have struggled. I am no exception. In this…

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