Friday, December 18, 2009

Facilitate … for powerful conversations!

To me, facilitation is always about meaningful and productive conversations, albeit sometimes verbally and sometimes nonverbally. I believe that when we as individuals, families, and community groups hold powerful and focussed conversations, we begin to accomplish what we need and believe in. It seems that I am not alone! And this affirmation comes from an unlikely source – a cell phone provider, WIND Globallive. A few days ago, I opened the Calgary Herald newspaper and a full-page advertisement leaped at me. The ad was for a new mobile phone provider that will soon launch in Canada. The ad tagline read: “We’re good to go. Thanks to the Power of Conversation.” The ad continued with fun and personalized thanks to many individuals who obviously had texted, twittered, posted, and e-mailed comments to the company. A few examples are: “Thank You TammyF for all your awesome posts. Thanks to moto for steering us in the right direction. And thanks a Mill to mccans for all your thoughtful comments.” The ad finished by stating “You are all proof that conversations really do make things better.”

My curiosity was piqued because the advertisement talked about the power of conversation in which I strongly believe. I quickly went to website and found that the conversation message was continued. I do not want to make this blog a promotion of the mobile company; however, their marketing approaches reaffirm principles which I use in my facilitation work.

WIND Globallive went straight to the core of why people use mobile phone services, that is, to communicate and hold conversations with others. The company did not expound on the merits of cell phones or how their services are better than other companies. Instead, they wrote about the reason they people want cell phone connections – to converse. As a facilitator, I always talk with participants about the core reasons for why they are holding facilitated discussions. Once we know the true purpose, then I can jointly design the discussions with them and select the appropriate discussion and decision making tools to use such as Skilled Facilitator (, ORID focussed conversation (an example is at ), Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry (, etc. In other words, I don’t start with one particular cell phone in mind!

WIND Globallive may be using conversations as an effective marketing tool however, the message that “conversations really does make things better” resonates with me.

My blog conversation questions are: What is a powerful conversation that you recently held? What made it so memorable?