Facilitating For-Profit Meetings Requires Structure Not Found in Kum Bay Yah


 

Facilitating business requirements can be substantially different than facilitating community forums and other project-base support meetings. While the tool of active listening provides an important component for both scenarios, the deliverables needed to support most business initiatives are quite different from social or community settings.

Frequently, business facilitators are not seeking agreement, rather harmony.  The difference follows. Agreement suggests that everyone is singing the same note, perhaps even on the same instrument. Boring. Reminiscent of the railroad industry in 1899 trying to protect itself, rather than redefining its roles and service value in transportation or logistics (eg, 3PL or Third Party Logistics Providers).

Harmony implies we are seeking an outcome when everyone’s musical note or expression is heard, from whatever instrument they play. The key to successful facilitation is building and leading appropriate structure so that the deliverable captures all of the instruments and all of the tones, like a symphony.  The sound of cicadas every few years represents agreement. The music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky reflects a symphonic movement.

Even when seeking agreement as your deliverable, for example in decision-making sessions, the right structure makes it easier for your participants.  Consider the PowerBall approach when you can help drive a group toward a simple decision surrounding a well-articulated question (eg, What should we buy?).  For complicated situations, use the Scorecard approach that separates fuzzy from SMART criterion, applies weightings, and generates a quantitative score to support discussion focused on comparing your options. For highly complex situations like portfolio management, always embrace the SWOT analysis (introduced to the FAST curriculum in its current form in 2004). In the facilitator’s world, our approach to SWOT is like comparing a Tchaikovsky composition to some kids playing the same note over and over on a kazoo.

Decision-Making Matrix

Decision-Making Matrix

As facilitators, our business constraints rarely afford the time and luxury of sitting around the campfire singing Kum Bay Yah and building trust. Therefore it is imperative that we build our structure in advance and lead the method best suited to reconcile the business challenges and trade-offs you might expect.  Everyone agreeing will keep you in the box, suffocating innovation. But with harmony you don’t even see the box, as you lead to the creation of a solution that no single participant envisioned when they entered your workshop.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Do not forget to order Change or Die if you working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

 

What is the Difference Between Structured Facilitation and Kum Ba Yah Facilitation?


 

The discipline of structured facilitation differs from what we respectfully refer to as “Kum Ba Yah” or “warm and fuzzy” facilitation that frequently begins by co-creating ground rules.  Most corporate environments simply do not afford enough time to follow the slow but sure path of building trust and camaraderie among participants. In fact, there is a good reason why.

Enterprise Holarchy

Enterprise Holarchy

Typical meetings involve report-outs and updates such as staff meetings (typically, loosely structured). Most workshops and non-staff meetings are held to support activity that occurs when the meeting is over.  Frequently that activity is embedded in support of a broader scale of work we will refer to as a “project.”  The difference between a project and the program it supports is the same difference one finds between a process and an activity.  Both an activity and a project have a discrete starting and stopping time.  Programs and processes however, are typically ongoing.  We could calculate how much time you invest per year with the activity of “paying bills” yet the process of “accounts payable” never stops.

Why is this important?  When active listening fails to reconcile different view points, a disciplined facilitator takes the team back to the project objectives or the reason for the meeting in the first place.  Next we can view the program goals to improve consensual understanding as to why the project was approved.  Finally we can appeal to the business unit and/ or enterprise objectives to see which argument best supports or aligns with our primary mission and vision.

Appealing to the objectives to reconcile arguments underlies the structure that is missing from many Kum Ba Yah settings.  Notice for example, to stimulate peace in the Middle East, the structured approach suggests reconciling arguments first with active listening and then by appealing to the Objectives in the holarchy, shown in the diagram below.  However, when there are no SHARED purpose, scope, and objectives, there is no ultimate appeal for resolving arguments.

In corporate environments, all arguments are best answered by which position most strongly supports the corporate objectives.  In Kum Ba Yah, the objectives may be competing, and therefore we rely on a different tool set, then pure decision-making science.  Both structured and unstructured facilitation have their time and place, but do not confuse one for the other.  Few corporate environments have the time to invest two or three hours to build ground rules at the start of their meetings and workshops.  We do need clear line of sight however, to the project, program, business unit, and enterprise objectives that our meeting supports.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

 

Effective Facilitators Remember to Control and Remove All Distractions


Your Rosetta Stone

Remember that all questions you have about what you can or should do are answered by the question, “Is it a distraction or not?”  If not a distraction, then it should be acceptable.  If it is a distraction then it is your responsibility to remove the cause of the distraction so that the group can remain focused on topic.

Core Skills

Remove All Distractions

Remove All Distractions

As a facilitator, you need to manage four core skills including presentation, active listening, questioning, and observation/ neutrality.  For these to be effective, you must reduce or eliminate distractions so that the group can stay focused.

These four core skills are critical to effective facilitation.

  1. Presentation skills are necessary for effective communication
  2. Active listening is a tool for effective understanding
  3. Questioning is a tool for effective information gathering
  4. Neutrality is a tool for balance and integrity

Removing distractions is an essential discipline for core skills and may guide all of your behavior.

Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

How to Help Resolve Business Arguments


Here is a powerful, three-step method to help you, help others, resolve business arguments. We will give you the three steps, and then discuss them further.

  1. Active listening
  2. Alignment
  3. Escalation

1. Active listening

So much material, here at this blog site and elsewhere, focuses on the skill and benefits of active listening, that we not delve into too much detail. As session leader (aka facilitator) you may find your participants at times, in violent agreement with each other. Occasionally you have subject matter experts (aka participants or SME) who do not listen to themselves and may be uncertain as to what they said. Frequently, since people can only concentrate six to eight minutes at a time, someone “wakes up” without hearing fully what was said.

With all the examples above, plus the more obvious disagreements, active listening is critical because the participants need a neutral and thorough reflection of what was said. With active listening, you make contact, absorb, provide reflection, and then confirm if your reflection is accurate.  Many issues get resolved when the arguments are properly shaped in the hands of a neutral party, the facilitator.  But what do you do when active listing fails?

2. Alignment

A Business or Organizational Holarchy

Alignment is a wonderful consulting term. It includes three syllables and remains abstract enough that it is never clear exactly how to do it. Frankly, it is easy, once you understand the holarchy.

We invest much more time elsewhere discussing the intricacies of the table illustrated below, so for now let us focus simply on alignment. Specifically, we seek to ask the participants to align each of the arguments with the objectives, and ask in sequence:

  • Which argument best supports the project objectives, and why?
  • Which argument best supports the program objectives, and why?
  • Which argument best supports the business unit (ie, organizational) objectives, and why?
  • Which argument best supports the enterprise objectives, and why?

As you can tell, we are working upwards in the objectives column. With each question, some portion of arguments will be resolved, and yet others will remain unresolved. Ultimately, the most important question is the last one, asking which argument best supports the enterprise objectives, and why. Yet some people and issues are very stubborn, and active listening and alignment will not necessarily resolve all arguments. Then what?

3. Escalation

We need to document the rationales from the questions above.  Ensure that each why is captured, understood, and illustrated with examples form the business. Take this document, in printed form (not hanging out in the aether as a verbal argument) back to the4 executive sponsor, or decision executive, or steering team, or decision review boards, or whomever you call it and ask them for their help.

Most sponsors will ask the project managers, analysts, and other team members at some time or another “Do you need my help for anything?” What they are asking you is NOT if you want them to do your job for you. They are asking, have you reached an impasses that you are unable to reconcile.  Now is the time for escalation.  This is the type of help they are asking about.

Guest what they do to arrive at an answer?  They use the holarchial questions mentioned above, typically with greater insight and understanding about the connectivity of various projects, than we might have in our own little box.  They look at the arguments and ask to what extent does each support the project objectives (ie, reason for the meeting), the program objectives (ie, reason for the project), the business unit objectives (ie, reason for the program or initiative), and the enterprise objectives (ie, reason for the business units).  The holarchy is indispensable for resolving arguments, and to help facilitators prevent scope creep during their meetings.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Related articles

How to Facilitate Virtual Meetings: Teleconference and VideoPresence (Part 3 of 3—Conclusion)


Core facilitation skills apply to both face-to-face and virtual meetings,  With teleconference or videopresence meetings, the session leader must speak clearly, provide active listening (especially feedback and confirmation), ask appropriate questions, manage time constraints and personality issues, etc.  Our discussion that follows below and in the previous two  blogs, focus on what is different with virtual meetings.

Purpose

Same time access across multiple locations require may require distributed or electronic meetings, also known as virtual meetings.  With the use of supplemental tools, virtual meetings can also satisfy the dual condition that demands meetings at different times and in different locations.

Rationale

Virtual meetings are used to save travel money or allow for remote participation.  While fine for review and sharing, they should be avoided at kickoffs, phase gate reviews, when consensus is critical, the issues are contentious, or the situation demands high-quality decision-making.

Method

The following suggestions summarize and offer up the differences between face-to-face versus distance meetings.  Remember that active listening is always critical to effective facilitation and it is very tough to provide feedback and obtain solid confirmation without eye contact and observations around the room.

Preparing to Wrap

Throughout, emphasize reflection and confirmation of content that is offered up. All too frequently, virtual participants are distracted and do not capture as much the first time as they do when meeting face-to-face. Summarize, summarize, summarize . . . a clear group is typically an oxymoron.

  • Offer each participant an opportunity for final/ closing comments. Consider “PASS” or “Just Three Words” for example. “What three words describe your experience with today’s meeting?”
  • Review next steps, assignments, and deadlines as appropriate.
  • Use FAST wrap-up and Guardian of Change as appropriate.
  • Summarize the virtual meeting and end by confirming the 
next call appointment commitment.
  • Use the FAST evaluation form to improve subsequent calls. A “Plus/ Delta” can be completed at the conclusion of each call.
  • Distribute notes within hours after the meeting and emphasize the follow-up steps and responsibilities in your email cover note.

Video/ Telepresence

Some of the differences afforded when meeting with visual feedback, especially higher quality resolution video, suggest the following:

  • Clothing; for example, stripes or patterned shirts are not recommended during a videoconference and may not display well at the remote site(s). Plain colored shirts and pants/ skirts are optimal. Also, avoid wearing white and red.
  • Restrict movement as much as possible. Excessive movements are disruptive to viewers at the far site.
  • Have a back up plan for your meeting or class in the event of connection failures or equipment problems.

From Global Work Groups to Global Teams

Here are some techniques that may be helpful in creating commitment and facilitating communication among work groups that are widely separated by geography.

Frequent Integration

Very often, a work group is made up of several small teams, each in a separate location. To be successful, the teams must use nested synchronization, integrating their efforts frequently. Regular and frequent integration has many benefits, from establishing mutual commitment to creating a common repository of knowledge.

Exchange People

All too often we find that a team in one country has all of the necessary technical capabilities, but their “requirements” come in large batches of written documents developed many time zones away.  Predictably, when an application is finished several weeks or months after the arrival of the requirements, it isn’t what the customers really wanted. Large separations between customers or analysts and the implementation team—with over-the-wall communication—seldom works very well. One way to deal with this situation is to locate a couple of people from one team on the other team for extended periods of time, preferably on a rotating basis. Either a couple of team members that understand customers should be located with the development team, or alternatively, a couple of people who are part of the development team should be located with those who understand the customers. Rotating people through these positions is effective.

Proxy

Some successful dispersed teams communicate through a single person. Someone from a remote site becomes a member of a core team and serves as a proxy for the remainder of the remote team. Every day this person assumes responsibility for a large amount of well-defined work and sends it to the remote team, calling them each day to describe what needs to be done, answer questions, and retrieve completed work. Thus, the remote team maintains rich communication with one person on the core team, and the core team considers the remote team an extension of this proxy, who can take on work for several people.

Traveling Leader

Consider an oobeya or “war room” with big visible charts showing project status and issues. The status charts can be maintained identically in each of multiple rooms around the world. The program leader can travel from one room to another, holding regular status meetings at each location. The other locations may call in to the meetings, and renew the mutual commitment of all teams to their common objective.

Caution

When part of a team must work using a second language while other team members use their first language, or when one group is a subcontractor while the other is part of the contracting company, or when one group clearly has higher pay or status than the other, people can easily get the perception that one group is “better” than the other. Such perceptions will quickly destroy the respect, trust, and commitment that are essential for true teamwork.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

How to Facilitate Virtual Meetings: Teleconference and VideoPresence (Part 2 of 3—During/ Real Time)


Core facilitation skills apply to both face-to-face and virtual meetings,  With teleconference or videopresence meetings, the session leader must speak clearly, provide active listening (especially feedback and confirmation), ask appropriate questions, manage time constraints and personality issues, etc.  Our discussion that follows below and in the previous/ next  blog, focus on what is different with virtual meetings.

Purpose

Same time access across multiple locations require may require distributed or electronic meetings, also known as virtual meetings.  With the use of supplemental tools, virtual meetings can also satisfy the dual condition that demands meetings at different times and in different locations.

Rationale

Virtual meetings are used to save travel money or allow for remote participation.  While fine for review and sharing, they should be avoided at kickoffs, phase gate reviews, when consensus is critical, the issues are contentious, or the situation demands high-quality decision-making.

Method

The following suggestions summarize and offer up the differences between face-to-face versus distance meetings.  Remember that active listening is always critical to effective facilitation and it is very tough to provide feedback and obtain solid confirmation without eye contact and observations around the room.

Proper Launch

Getting and keeping people involved and productive will take a concerted effort on your part from start to finish.  Most importantly, get off to a good start by setting a good example:

  • As the facilitator, login first and early.
  • If possible, provide an electronic sign-in sheet that participants must update if they need to leave the meeting (even if only for a short period of time).
  • Greet each person as they come online and assign a ROLL CALL sequence for sound-off (eg, someone drops off  and you hear the ‘three beeps’).
  • Introduce each arrival to subsequent arrivals.
  • Establish and enforce protocol of announcing name (could be nickname) when taking a turn speaking. The ideal protocol may be “last name only” as no verbs or prepositions are required.
  • Provide ground rules and roles as appropriate.
  • Constantly remind participants where you are in the process.
  • Provide a clear end and smooth transition for each step in the agenda as you make progress.

Primary Differences Contrasted with Face to Face Meetings

Use your intuition.  Since you cannot rely on non-verbal feedback (unless using high-resolution video), be firm but flexible.

  • Use people’s names to get their attention.
  • Break-up long stretches of one speaker.
  • When appropriate, go “around to circle” for inclusive participation.  Use the roll call sequence built earlier.
  • Consider “break-out sessions” where two or more get off the main call, call each other(s), and then get back on the session bridge to share their results.
  • For decision-making processes, restate or repeat key issues as they are honed down to a decision point.
  • When possible, use internet-based collaboration tools to create shared electronic notes, flip charts, Mimio, etc. When appropriate allow “side chats” and “ breakouts” to accelerate participant contributions.

Communicating

While also applicable in face-to-face meetings, the likelihood of engaging multiple cultures in a virtual meeting is increased.  Therefore be reminded and reinforced about the “Deadliest Sins of International Misunderstanding” (see “Do’s and Taboos Around the World”).

  • Grammar—remember to facilitate and to stop processing the content.  Someone needs to be listening and that is the role of the facilitator.  Generously paraphrase if necessary to ensure that all participants capture meaning from their perspective.  Document and distribute your notes quickly after meetings to solicit corrections.  Accept the blame for any misunderstandings.  Never interrupt; rather, use active listening to correct for imprecise word or grammar choices.
  • Jargon—likened to a tongue without a brain, avoid “interface” in favor of “work together.”  Police carefully, such as “shotgun approach” and “on the same wave length.”
  • Local color—from idioms to accents, people need to slow down their rate of speech, enunciate clearly, and project a bit louder.  Everyone should avoid local idioms such as “Don’t make waves.”
  • Officialese—your particular concern here ought be acronyms or what many people call acronyms (technically, an acronym needs to spell an actual word).  Even basic English abbreviations may not be understood by everyone, such as “P & L.”  Groups are never too clear, so be certain to use active listening to provide a fuller, clearer reflection of what is being stated.
  • Slang—in Islamic and Buddhist cultures, a simple “thank God” may be considered blasphemous unless meant piously.  Avoid even simple comments that lack clarity such as “go for it”.
  • Vocabulary—don’t forget after providing reflection to confirm that everyone seemingly understands what has been stated.  If you sense that someone is holding back, consider a roll call approach to have each person interpret how the new content affects them.

Capture the Work

With the few exceptions noted, most of the FAST technique is immediately transferrable to the virtual world.  Some additional differences in the video-presence mode are shown below:

  • Before bio-breaks, insert a quick “Plus/ Delta” and ask for immediate feedback.
  • Enforce “Silence or Absence is Agreement” but solicit one-by-one responses for highly critical decisions.
  • If you don’t want to ask each person to respond to a general query (“do you understand the new procedure?”), ask questions so that silence implies consent, and remind them to speak up if “they can’t sleep at night” with the outcome.
  • The larger the group, the more your session leadership skills need to keep people from dominating each virtual meetings

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

Related articles

 

How To Actively Listen


“Talking is what I do, but listening is my job.”
Ryan Seacrest
 

Active listening is the most important tool for effective facilitation. As an active listener, you feedback (replay, restate) what the speaker has offered to the group. It serves several purposes:

  • Often, the participant is formulating thoughts on the spot and the playback helps one to further develop the thought process.  The act of communication affects what is being communicated.
  • Participants experience being heard—listened to.
  • Separate the arguments and opinions from the participant so that everyone can join in.
  • To reflect effectively, you need to understand the essence of the message inherent in each participant’s message.
  • You express an attitude of openness and listening.

Four Steps

People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Active listening requires four discrete steps.

  1. CONTACT—connect with the participant who is speaking. Eye contact. Open posture. Nonverbal responses.
  2. ABSORB—take in all aspects of what is being said, implicit and explicit.  Nonverbal clues. Do not judge or evaluate.
  3. REFLECTIVE FEEDBACK—mirror, reflect, or feedback what you have heard and why the contributor claims to be valid.
  4. CONFIRM—receive confirmation from the speaker that you heard the participant’s message accurately. If not, start the method over again at the beginning by having the speaker restate their view.

Feeding Back

“To listen with understanding means seeing the expressed idea and attitude from the other person’s point of view, sensing how it feels to the person . . . This may sound absurdly simple, but it is not.”
—Dr Carl R Rogers

Reflection

 

Providing feedback or reflection captures the single most important part of active listening. Reflection can be either oral or visual. Reflection distinguishes active from passive listening, where people conversationally move from one statement to the next without verifying that content has been understood.

While verbatim are frequently preferred, optionally provide feedback and confirm content with one of these three techniques.

  1. Synthesize—shape fragments into a whole, work through the stream of consciousness found in group discussions.
  2. Summarize—much communication occurs without foresight. Often more words are used than necessary. When you summarize, boil it down to its essence or core message, ideally to the point of isolating the key verb and noun components first. Participants more frequently argue about adjectives and adverbs.
  3. Paraphrase—saying, repeating what the participant(s) said using somewhat different words while preserving the original meaning or intention.

When providing reflective feedback, depersonalize the content with your rhetoric. Do NOT say ‘You said . . . ‘  Rather, convert their statements with integrative rhetoric such as, “We heard . . .”

Strive for completeness when providing reflection. Try to avoid the general ‘Does everyone agree with THAT?’ by replacing content for the impersonal pronoun “that”. For example, ‘Does everyone agree that torture can be consciously objectionable?’ works better because participants now better understand the exact reflection.

Why It Works

Active listening is a powerful tool because it builds relationships between participants. Exercising active listening sets an example for all participants and lays the foundation for clarity and understanding.

Through a confirmation process we are permitted a clearer and potentially deeper understanding about the assumptions that different perspectives embrace in their decision-making. In other words, it makes it easier to see the world through others’ eyes.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

How to Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment


The primary responsibility of a facilitator is to protect the participants.  Secondarily, the facilitator helps drive the group toward its desired deliverable.  Since the deliverable is built to serve the participants, the people take priority over the issues.  To some extent, both people and issues are managed by creating an environment that is conducive to productivity.  Easier said, than done.

Additionally the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) encourages you to “Demonstrate effective participatory and interpersonal communication skills . . .

  • Apply a variety of participatory processes
  • Demonstrate effective verbal communication skills
  • Develop rapport with participants
  • Practice active listening
  • Demonstrate ability to observe and provide feedback to participants”

The “zen” of the experience warns us that participants will respond to stimuli differently.  Psychologist Howard Gardner identified eight distinct types of intelligence.  He claims that all humans have the spark of genius buried within, but they manifest differently among us.  The eight types include:

  1. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)
  2. Interpersonal Intelligence (“People Smart”)
  3. Intra-personal Intelligence (“Self Smart”)
  4. Linguistic Intelligence (“Word Smart”)
  5. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (“Number/ Reasoning Smart”)
  6. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)
  7. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)
  8. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)

You can begin to appreciate the value of applying a variety of participatory tools to solicit input from your participants.  Clearly and factually, not all of them will respond effectively to a strictly “verbal” environment.  Thus it is critically important to interview your participants in advance.  How else will you understand them and the method that may best serve them?  As we say in FAST class, there is no “silver bullet” to be an effective facilitator.  If you don’t show up prepared, your performance will likely be sub optimal.

Once we understand our participants better, and can improve the selection of tools that we choose to use in our meetings and workshops, effective facilitation relies heavily on active listening.  When conflict develops, people frequently do not listen to the other person or side of the story.  The facilitator’s role becomes indispensable to provide reflection on what is being said, because more participants will listen to the facilitator.  Don’t forget to confirm however, that you got it right.

Or write, as in, capture the reflection in writing.  If you capture the participants’ primary thoughts (frequently referred to as a causal link as in “I think that . . .”) in writing, such as a large Post-It® on an easel, it becomes easier to have them reflect on what was written down or captured.  Your participants can then confirm the accuracy or offer up corrections or additions as appropriate.

When providing feedback and reflection, scan the room and observe reactions, typically non-verbal.  Determine if it appears that the group understands and perhaps agrees, or if there is resistance —perhaps due to misinterpretation or misunderstanding that you can help clear up through active listening.

Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody. For detailed support, see your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

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