Friday, June 17, 2011

Facilitate … with Curiosity!

Wow! The old saying about “Curiosity kills the cat” didn’t apply to me. I learned so much and am a better facilitator for it. Recently, I was asked by a client organization to create designs for two workshops to be used by their staff members in the community. I designed two 3-hour workshops using two discussion approaches: conversations based on the Technology of Participation Focussed Conversation (Source below) and the World Café (Source below). I then trained the staff members in a one-day workshop to facilitate these approaches.

My approach to the training session was to “role-play” the community workshops; acting as the staff person and the staff members as community participants. After the role-play of a community workshop, I invited the staff members to comment on the process and activities and talk about what they would use, how, and ways to adapt.

The staff members had awesome ideas! They thoughtfully took my ideas and approaches and personalized them with their facilitation styles. They creatively built upon my core workshop designs. I am pleased to say that I genuinely wanted the staff to do this! I was curious about what they would say and how they would use my designs.

As a facilitator, be curious! Be receptive to participants’ ideas and adaptations. Ask:

• How do you feel about this information and ideas?
• What do you think?
• How can you use this information and ideas?
• What would you change? How?

My facilitation blog question is: How are you curious when facilitating?

Focussed Conversation (Source: Stanfield, R. Brian. The Art of Focused Conversation. The Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs, 1997)
World Café (Source: Brown, Juanita, and the World Café Community. The World Café: A Resource Guide for Hosting Conversations that Matter. Mill Valley California: Whole Systems Associates, 2002;