Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Facilitate … by talking to yourself.

Talk to yourself! It might be the best conversation you ever had.  Talking to yourself takes on a whole new dimension when facilitating.  How many internal conversations do you have going on within your head when you are facilitating?   I have learned to value these conversations and intentionally listen to them.  When I start to feel the buzz in my brain that may indicate a variety of emotions: anxiety, excitement, nervousness, passion – I now pause and think about what is going on.

 I use two excellent sources for this self-reflection.  I learned the Focussed Conversation Method from the Institute of Cultural Affairs Canada (http://ica-associates.ca/).  This method, called an ORID, guides an individual or a group through a flow of Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, and Decisional perspectives. When I am facilitating with a group and feel that something is happening that needs to be examined, I initially use an ORID in my head to assess the situation.  I ask myself:  O - What do I hear and see?  R - How do I feel about it?  I - What do I think the group participants are feeling and thinking?  D – Do I need to share my observations with the group?

The second source is the Mutual Learning Cycle from The Skilled Facilitator by Roger Schwarz (http://www.schwarzassociates.com/).  With this method, I talk to myself by Observing – What do I see and hear?, then Making Meaning of what I think it means, and then Choosing whether it is worthwhile to say something to the group. 

Knowing and using both of these methods helps me stay calm when facilitating; which in turn, hopefully, helps the group achieve better discussions and decisions.