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Archive for the ‘facilitation skills’ Category

Anatomy of a Successful Workshop

In Active Learning, Aha!, facilitation skills, How To, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, Uncategorized on February 2, 2016 at 8:05 pm

When you think of the word anatomy what images, thoughts, or symbols come to mind?

Okay, now pull out a piece of paper or a sketch pad and ponder on this question. Brainstorm a bit. Work fast. And then when you think you’ve exhausted all possible ideas, pause for a moment and think of a few more connections to this word. To help get you started, please, consider these images.

... a visual kick start for your brainstorm

… a visual kick start for your brainstorm

Now imagine yourself swimming in symbolism — much like that frog before he/she met his/hers educationally-inspired demise.

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a professional development workshop sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network (a.k.a., MAFN). This workshop was one of the very best I had ever attended since becoming a facilitator. But rather than just make this claim and assume that you’ll accept my opinion as fact, let me tell you why.

Imagine you’re in a lab-class: Anatomy & Physiology 301. Let’s examine the structure and internal workings of what makes for an outstanding workshop.

... cleverly designed handouts should facilitate your note taking and engage you without distracting you

… cleverly designed handouts should facilitate your note taking and engage you without distracting you from the speaker

Set the stage or prepare the operating room for use.

There’s usually time to settle into your learning space, greet a few of your colleagues, and perhaps introduce yourself to the workshop instructor/trainer. I highly recommend that you arrive a few minutes early to do just that. Gather up any handouts which are made available and review them so that you’ve a good grasp of what’s to be covered and in what order topics may be addressed.

When preparing a handout should you be the presenter, avoid designing a handout that’s jammed packed with text. Use “bullet lists” and leave enough white space for note taking and doodling. Bibliographies should list online references and are particularly helpful for those who want to “dive deep” and learn more.

Create a learning laboratory for hands-on, experiential engagement.

... learning occurs in a sequential and progressive fashion -- in steps: 1, 2, 3.

… learning occurs in a sequential and progressive fashion — in steps: 1, 2, 3.

It is not my intent to re-create the content or attempt to re-teach this workshop. Kudos to Rebecca Slocum who was the featured presenter at MAFN. The credit for the design and facilitative instruction at this event belongs to her. That said, look again at the photos above. Contemplate how our group learning evolved, step by step.

  • The workshop leader/instructor tells a story about being stuck in Iceland … This story doubles as a self-introduction and opens the door to being genuine and personable.
  • The instructor uses several decks of Visual Explorer Playing Cards … Having us draw one card face up (representing our approach to facilitation) and a 2nd card face down (the mystery card) … We are up on our feet and engaged early in the program.
  • We share our first card with our neighbors / table mates … This serves as a purposeful icebreaker with those who are in the room and learning with us.
  • The instructor shares more of her agenda/syllabus with us … Covering the THEORY that behind the PRACTICE of our experiential learning.
  • The 2nd card is flipped and now we are challenged to create meaning from this unknown image … We learn that symbolism works in several ways … In the example above, that flea or “bug” is something that trips me up while I’m a facilitator. It’s the “nit that must be picked” that detracts me or someone else in the group.
  • The instructor leads more discussion on WHY USE SYMBOLS, WHEN TO USE THEM, and HOW TO USE THEM … More group discussion follows.
  • We are asked to draw a 3rd card (face up) … This image is to explain how our practice as  facilitators or our professional behavior might evolve and change in the future … I aspire to take a bird’s eye view of future situations yet understand that I’m at the mercy of the winds.
  • A two-part case study follows … We are encouraged to take notes using a worksheet entitled: A Symbolic Framework … Our learning has been re-enforced.

Okay … I’m assuming that you’ve got the idea. Understanding the anatomy of a successful workshop helps guide us in the following ways:

  • Be welcoming and friendly … Tell a story that triggers everyone’s curiosity.
  • Engage your audience as soon as you can, early in the workshop, and before you dive into the “boring, academic” stuff.
  • Lay out the steps — 1, 2, 3 — and explain each step as you go so that folks don’t get lost while “dissecting their frog.”
  • Allow time for the participants to share their stories, feelings, and experiences.
  • Test or challenge the learners with some sort of direct application of what they’ve just learned. Think: case studies, completing a worksheet, …, creating an action plan, etc.

I hope this helps. Good luck!


PS: Think of a way to extend the learning or build a sense of community with your colleagues and potential clients. For example after the MAFN workshop described above, our members and guests gathered at a nearby restaurant for networking and a social. There were free appetizers and a cash bar. But there was also a structured activity called the NAME TAG ICEBREAKER which I’ve attempted to explain below in a doodle/sketch-note.

... a name tag can be used creatively to enable purposeful networking

… a name tag can be used creatively to enable purposeful networking

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It’s Like Riding a Bike: Highlights from the MAFN DC Workshop, May 29

In Active Learning, Coaching, Confidence Course Facilitator, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, teamwork on June 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Here are select images from last week’s MAFN DC Workshop. Most of these images are from my slide deck. A few were taken with my iPhone camera, e.g., participants passing the hula hoop and the props carried in a MAFN backpack. For those who attended this event, please consider taking your clients outside and perhaps to a challenge course such as “The EDGE.” For those who missed out on this workshop, drop me a line and I’ll fill you in on what you missed. JL

 

 

MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.001MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.003MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.005MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.007MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.010MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.012MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.013MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.014IMG_5036 IMG_5038MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.020 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.023 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.029 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.031 MAFN DC Workshop May 29_2015.033

All the props fit into a small backpack.

All the props fit into a small backpack.

Toastmasters International – Where Leaders Are Made

In Cartooning, Coaching, Communication, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Toastmasters on May 3, 2015 at 6:51 pm
cartoon self portrait and title of my newest book

cartoon self portrait and title of my newest book

Yes, I’m still enjoying the afterglow from the “birth of my book.” Yes, I still feel like a proud papa. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of cigars as too many of my old Army buddies put in early claims for the stogies available.

So what’s new? Why post another story so closely spaced after my last?

Simply put …

Yesterday I was lucky to present a workshop to members of Toastmasters International. Specifically, I was an educational speaker at the District 27 Spring Conference held at the Crystal City Marriott, Arlington, Virginia. This was a “safe” audience in that I’ve been a Toastmaster for nearly two decades. Many of the stories from my book, Facilitating Genius, have been shared with club-level audiences. And for the most part, Toastmasters want a speaker to succeed and to grow. For those not familiar with Toastmasters International, please do check out their website here.

Those in the publishing business suggest that authors talk up their book. They suggest that you promote to as many audiences that will accept you as a speaker. So yesterday, I took this advice and addressed a roomful of people with whom I was comfortable. And do you know what?!?!

I learned a lot from this audience. No one fell asleep. There were a few folks who stayed after my workshop was done to ask more questions. And — lo and behold — there also were folks who wanted to buy a copy of my book.

Wow!

__________________

And at the risk of being chastised for too much self promotion … Since my post of April 26, more on-line book stores have picked up this title.

Available at …

– eBookIt! … eBookIt.com

– Amazon … Amazon.com

– Barnes & Noble … BN.com

– Apple iTunes … itunes.apple.com/us/ genre/books

– Google Play … play.google.com/ store/books

– Kobo … KoboBooks.com

– Baker & Taylor’s … blio.com

– Ingram … eBookMall.

I feel like a proud papa. Is it time to pass out cigars?

In Coaching, Facilitating Business, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, leadership on April 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm
Gentlemen, the smoking light has been lit.

Gentlemen, the smoking light has been lit.

It’s been many years since the birth of my now fully grown children. But I remember those days as if they were yesterday. I was a proud papa. And, YES, I did hand out cigars to my closest family members and friends.

So what is the protocol when you feel like a proud papa because you’ve just birthed a book? Do you hand out cigars? Do you keep this news to yourself and hope that folks notice your book’s title as they go shopping to add a new title to their e-readers?

Okay, okay … Please excuse the self promotion. But …

Facilitating Genius is available now at the following on-line book stores:

eBookIt! … https://www.ebookit.com/books/0000004227/Facilitating-Genius-Illuminating-Brilliance-in-Your-Organization.html

It’s also available through …

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Google Books
  • Kobo.

And soon to be available at …

  • Apple iBooks
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Ingram.

Yes, I feel again like a father who’s just witnessed the birth of a son or daughter. Consider this the ‘birth announcement’ for my newest book. And as they say at military formal affairs, “Gentlemen, the smoking lamp has been lit.”

Arrrrgh! Why this fascination with being a Pirate?

In Active Learning, Cartooning, Communication, Conflict Resolution, facilitation skills, How To, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Tall Tales on September 17, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Edward_Low_Flag

Arrrrgh! Why this fascination with being a Pirate? Simply put, September 19th marks a fun-filled (and unofficial) holiday. To learn more about how to talk like a pirate visit http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

I saw my first major league baseball game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Fingers (and bats) are crossed that they make it to the playoffs this year.

I saw my first major league baseball game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Fingers (and bats) are crossed that they make it to the playoffs this year.

A JPG-version of this document is also available for my facilitator colleagues. See fight-flee-flow (below)

A JPG-version of this document is also available for my facilitator colleagues. See fight-flee-flow (below)

fight-flee-flow <– Click here for a PDF-version of this Jack Sparrow-inspired poster.

Total Value Commitment

In Confidence Course Facilitator, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, Leave Your Comfort Zone, teamwork on April 19, 2014 at 12:57 am

100 percent
effort toward group success.
Total commitment.

NYC CPC group balances the 360-degree Whale Watch.

NYC CPC group balances the 360-degree Whale Watch.

NYC CPC group accepts the Total Value Commitment.

NYC CPC group accepts the Total Value Commitment.

Yes we can! (roughly translated into Cantonese).

Yes we can! (roughly translated into Cantonese).

The key component to the Total Value Commitment hinges on everyone's dedication to group success.

The key component to the Total Value Commitment hinges on everyone’s dedication to group success.

Start pedaling

In Active Learning, Confidence Course Facilitator, Current Events, facilitation skills, High Ropes Course, How To on April 12, 2014 at 5:43 pm

It’s like a bike ride. | You never really forget. | Just start pedaling.

image

Hosted a wonderfully productive workshop at the IAFNA 2014 conference. A good time was had by all. And the course evaluations were flattering. Hmmm … Perhaps I should repeat this at MAFN or out at the EDGE.

No. I’m NOT visiting that mouse

In facilitation skills, Leave Your Comfort Zone on April 10, 2014 at 8:58 pm

A cup of joe with | the Global Academy | bound for Orlando.

image

 

 

 

Was Warhol wrong? I hope so.

In Communication, facilitation skills, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network on March 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

“In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.”

— Andy Warhol, American Pop Artist (1928-1987)

 

Hmmm ... By Warhol's prediction and my rough calculation, I've another 8-1/2 minutes of fame remaining on RCTV-28.

Hmmm … By Warhol’s prediction and my rough calculation, I’ve another 8-1/2 minutes of fame remaining on RCTV-28.

What a thrill to be interviewed on “The Arnette Report” carried by Reston Community Television RCTV-28! (Which also airs in Northern Virginia on Verizon Channel 1981.) Thank you, Fran Ponick, Jeff Arnette, Steven Gaffney, and Jim Wright for sharing the stage / air time.

And for all my fans, followers, friends, and connections in social media … My “Take 5 Interview” is found between time-hacks  01:46-08:20 at http://vimeo.com/88786524.

And should you actually see me on TV, I hope it’s not due to insomnia.

“Be not afraid.”

Here’s a link to a shorter video … https://vimeo.com/89950658

 

An Uncertain Future

In Facilitating Business, Facilitating Genius, facilitation skills, How To, Leave Your Comfort Zone, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network, Open Space Technology, Tips re: Professional Development, World Cafe on January 25, 2014 at 10:46 pm
You don't need a crystal ball to facilitate a meeting about the future.

You don’t need a crystal ball to facilitate a meeting about the future.

Register for the MAFN DC workshop set for 1-31-2014 to learn more about how to facilitate decision-making meetings for an uncertain future.

For a sneak preview, you can visit SlideShare.

http://www.slideshare.net/John_Lesko/slides-mafn-1-312014