Difficult conversation meetings are hard for everyone; that’s why they are “difficult.” But good facilitation and agenda design can make a big difference in the outcome. Questions to be exploring … Break the group into pairs or triads and let them discuss an issue in those smaller groups before initiating a large group discussion; Gain agreement with your team to use a physical object (e.g. Facilitation Tips for Managing Difficult Meeting Personalities. One by one, what is each person’s biggest priority? There are a few different reasons why someone may be quiet during meetings. Facilitation is an art. Anyone who’s facilitated a meeting or learning event knows it takes dedication, perseverance, and deep reflection on what the group really needs to progress…and the more carefully we listen, the easier it is to figure out! Here are a few ways to ensure folks leave the meeting with a smile. It is a simple and effective technique for … The faculty mini-course explores how to facilitate difficult conversations in the classroom through small and large group discussions, role plays, case studies, and demonstrations of new techniques with opportunities to practice them. This is one of the most important group facilitation skills a facilitator can have. Facilitation is a new-ish word for an age-old art. Good facilitation begins with listening and like any art, doing it well requires skill. The faculty mini-course explores how to facilitate difficult conversations in the classroom through small and large group discussions, role plays, case studies, and demonstrations of new techniques with opportunities to practice them. Successful facilitators adapt their style to meet the needs of the group, and by doing so, draw the best ideas out of their team. A way to deal with insistent sidetrackers is to allow the group to vote on whether to continue the discussion. Simply, raise your hand and interrupt discussion to ask if the conversation is on topic and helping the group reach their goal for the meeting. In order to do so, it is important to consider the features of effective discussions, and conditions that promote small group interaction and engagement. The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University has provided a step-by-step guide for effectively facilitating group discussions. Leading a successful discussion often comes down to managing different types of people—and the more difficult the personalities in the room, the harder it is. (World Book Dictionary, 2004). An important element of critical conversations is how to facilitate team discussions. When facilitating a difficult dialogue on race, most instructors are wary about communicating their own prejudices and will respond in a cautious fashion that may be less than honest. At the beginning of the quarter, you’ll want to... During Class. Biggest strength? They may be shy, intimidated, or just someone who only speaks when they feel they have something important to say. Exploring ineffective and effective race talk strategies will lead to more positive outcomes in workshop and classroom settings. Adjust your facilitation style. When it comes to facilitation, it’s not enough to simply have a meeting agenda. FACILITATION – Group discussion involving a trained, neutral facilitator to assist in addressing difficult issues. You might be worried about being forthright with your opinions without hurting another person’s feelings, or about being able to anticipate or even control the outcome of the discussion. Intervene when necessary and help the group clarify … ... Take a moment for the group to practice a breathing exercise or mindful relaxation technique before ending the meeting. Develop an awareness for barriers for learning (cultural; social; experiential, etc). Set rules of the room right away if you know you’ll have a contrarian in the room. Just being aware of these deeper origins of student opinions—both for you … Provide opportunities for participants to pair-share. Don’t expect any individuals to speak on behalf of their gender, ethnic group, class, status, etc. You might recognize these types from your own team, or—gasp!—you might even be one yourself. We’ve identified some tough personas you might encounter in meetings and how to tweak your facilitation plan to better manage them. Then, role play with a trusted peer. If you can encourage participation from everyone in the room, everything else can begin to fall into place. Before your course begins, reflect on potential “hot button” topics that relate to your course and... Beginning of the Quarter. We'd love to know how we can help you create what's next for your organization. Difficult conversation meetings are hard for everyone; that’s why they are “difficult.” But good facilitation and agenda design can make a big difference in the outcome. Following distressing local and national events, individuals may experience a broad range of emotions including fear, anger, anxiety, and intimidation. Difficult conversation meetings are hard for everyone; that’s why they are “difficult.” But good facilitation and agenda design can make a big difference in the outcome. For most group discussions, the facilitator role is probably a good ideal to strive for. Provide sufficient time and space for participants to gather their thoughts and contribute to discussions. If team members believe the topic is important enough to discuss, either allow a set amount of time for it, or schedule an alternate meeting. Contributing Author: Jennifer Britton, MES, CPCC, PCC has been a group facilitator since the late 1980s.Her work with groups has taken her from the wilds of one of Canada's most famous provincial parks, to Corporate Boardrooms in New York, Toronto, London, to the rivers and jungles of South America, and UN regional offices. If you are co-facilitating with another facilitator or with a client or manager, it can also be difficult to have a side conversation midway through the workshop. Successful facilitators adapt their style to meet the needs of the group, and by doing so, draw the best ideas out of their team. Contrarians can cause less confident team members to hold back ideas, which can ultimately lead to fewer contributions to the group. A fac i litator’s role is to guide the group through the meeting processes of deliberate dialogue, topic discussions, and decision-making. Being able to quickly chat and adjust the session in a live setting by stepping to one side becomes more difficult and will likely need to be done during breaks or in another chat room. In meetings, ideas will always arise that aren’t on the agenda. In order to keep a discussion focused and purposeful, it is important to be an active facilitator rather than a passive observer. Bulldozers are similar to sidetrackers in that they derail meeting productivity, but the difference is that bulldozers stick to the topic at hand while dominating the discussion and interrupting other team members. Most everyone dreads the difficult, challenging conversation. This guide addresses the role discussion leaders play, and also outlines the do’s, the don’ts they should abide by, as … Directly asking them for thoughts may make them uncomfortable, so it’s important to find easier ways for them to contribute. Consider who knows the topic, can assume an "objective" role, will be accepted by the group and has group experience. He/she can give you feedback on what you say and how you say it. For many small-group leaders, one of the more intimidating things we do is facilitating a group discussion. Make sure you honor the importance of the conversation by choosing a place that is comfortable and allowing enough time for everyone to communicate their thoughts and feelings in an authentic and respectful way. For many small-group leaders, one of the more intimidating things we do is facilitating a group discussion. Meetings can be unproductive. Bulldozers push their own agenda—as opposed to working as part of a team. Very few of us feel like we'll have all the right answers, or that we can handle whatever curve balls will be thrown our way (and there will be some! Some sidetrackers keep hammering away at an idea long after it’s been added to the parking lot, disrupting the discussion and making it more difficult to address items on the agenda. Consider co-facilitating with another person. While it seems like ramblers just like to hear themselves talk, many are actually thinking out loud and speaking before they have a fully formed idea. However, you can leverage some great inquiry techniques to facilitate conversations an In situations where you know you will be addressing a controversial topic, you can prepare for the discussion in ways that set the stage for success. Leading a successful discussion often comes down to managing different types of people—and the more difficult the personalities in the room, the harder it is. So a challenge to an idea may be seen as a personal challenge as well. As a facilitator, it’s important to protect those being bulldozed. Talk candidly about the challenges ahead. If you can encourage participation from everyone in the room, everything else can begin to fall into place. When applied to groups, to facilitate means to make the group of the work easier and more effective. Useful Questions for Dialogue Facilitation Resource. That isn’t an easy task, but by using these techniques, you get one step closer to creating a capable and effective team. Sidetrackers can derail a meeting with too many off-topic discussions. Shape the beginnings of a learning community. Sometimes one person dominates the airwaves and other times the conversation gets stalled by a wall of silence. Action planning is vital for team success. Harness a unique human technology called Integral Facilitation and 20 facilitation competencies. Whenever possible, use co-facilitators who represent different gender, racial or cultural backgrounds, especially when discussing … The parking lot is helpful for allowing sidetrackers to be heard while also keeping the meeting on-track. Interested in making things, breaking things and creating dramatically better ways of working? Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer Dana Brownlee shares practical, effective tips for how to handle difficult personalities in your meetings. Click here to share this article via Twitter, Top 11 Skills of an Effective Facilitator, Play-Doh, Pipe Cleaners and Post-Its: Our Favorite Supplies For Keeping Meetings Creative, Using Music For Facilitation: Chet Baker vs. Chet Faker. Have the group write down ideas to hand over to the facilitator. Facilitating a Difficult Discussion. Treat participants with respect and consideration. To facilitate difficult dialogue about race in a productive manner, instructors and trainers need to understand not only the content of the communication but also the process resulting from the interpersonal dynamics. The goal of facilitating group conversations (critical conversations) is to help groups become teams that work together to solve problems. We are in the business of helping organizations facilitate conversations so they can come together, think better, and move forward. Be careful to maintain some control but not over-control. Contents. Want our latest musings, inspirations and resources sent to you every month? Ask ramblers to summarize their thoughts into a few bullet points, and then sketch them out to help them focus their thoughts. Biggest fear? When it comes to facilitation, it’s not enough to simply have a meeting agenda. The faculty mini-course explores how to facilitate difficult conversations in the classroom through small and large group discussions, role plays, case studies, and demonstrations of new techniques with opportunities to practice them. Consider what you know about the topic, whether your views are known to students, and whether that makes your role as a facilitator too difficult. 1. Here is our formal definition of group facilitation: Group facilitation is what a leader says or does to create an experiential and relational environment in which diverse individuals develop as a group. This is one of the most important group facilitation skills a facilitator can have. Very few of us feel like we'll have all the right answers, or that we can handle whatever curve balls will be thrown our way (and there will be some! Alternatively, break into smaller groups for more focused problem-solving to help make this type feel more comfortable opening up. Here are a few ways to ensure folks leave the meeting with a smile. Sometimes we facilitate conversations that all parties are eager to engage in; other times it’s not so easy. Your role as an active facilitator can include rewording questions posed by students, correcting misinformation, making reference to relevant reading materials or course content, asking for clarification, and reviewing main … This approach has given life to new services, industries, and some of the world’s most powerful leaders. Intervene when necessary and help the group clarify … This is where the “parking lot” comes in—a running list of items that come up during a meeting that are worth addressing at another time. It’s often both a goal and a motivator for many people in groups to … To facilitate difficult dialogue about race in a productive manner, instructors and trainers need to understand not only the content of the communication but also the process resulting from the interpersonal dynamics. Facilitating Difficult Discussions Before Class Begins. Groups often struggle with decision-making, particularly when dealing with tough problems. A facilitator is a skilled questioner who can help equalize participation, elicit wisdom, and clarify the situation at hand. Consider possible sources of student views.On many issues, students’ viewpoints may be wrapped up in their personal identities, influenced by family members, or connected to religious/spiritual/moral beliefs. Publicly and honestly acknowledging personal biases and weaknesses to self and others may have several Build a fact base. Empathy goes a long way toward dealing with people we perceive as difficult to work with in meetings. Click here to share this article via Twitter. Effective facilitation of a discussion involves the recognition and employment of different perspectives and different skills to create an inclusive environment. ). Ask other group members to finish or repeat their points if interrupted. (or the groups we perceive them to be a part of). Here are a few ways to ensure folks leave the meeting with a smile. Facilitating a meeting is not always an easy task. Facilitate discussions: Staying neutral, you will help kick-off and round up conversations, highlighting points of consensus and summarising key takeaways. Urge contrarians to expand on ideas rather than criticizing them, and to keep all comments positive. Build a fact base. Admit up front that the conversations may be awkward or challenging, but explain why they are important parts of the class. This guide addresses the role discussion leaders play, and also outlines the do’s, the don’ts they should abide by, as … Brainstorming is great, but it’s more productive when ideas are better defined before being presented to a group. That isn’t an easy task, but by using these techniques, you get one step closer to creating a capable and effective team. ). Facilitating Difficult Discussions Difficult discussions—often involving race, class, politics, religion and gender—can be anxiety provoking experiences. Discuss why race matters. The facilitation style needs to meet the needs of the group at different … Facilitators are non-directive, and try to keep themselves out of the discussion, except to ask questions or make statements that advance it. Make sure you honor the importance of the conversation by choosing a place that is comfortable and allowing enough time for everyone to communicate their thoughts and feelings in an authentic and respectful way. Anticipating needs for exam administration, lecture capture, and class discussions – teams across OIT responded by acquiring new and expanded tools, developing training resources and increasing support capacity. © 2020 Collective Next LLC • Privacy Policy It is the same when facilitating a difficult discussion with a group. sponge football) to balance discussion. Encourage Relationship-Building. “Our racial history is part of our present, it is in our structures…in the … Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer Dana Brownlee shares practical, effective tips for how to handle difficult personalities in your meetings. Action planning. Exploring ineffective and effective race talk strategies will lead to more positive outcomes in workshop and classroom settings. Facilitate discussions: Staying neutral, you will help kick-off and round up conversations, highlighting points of consensus and summarising key takeaways. Playing devil’s advocate has its place—but when a group is sharing ideas, arguing against their merits stifles productive discussion. This helps build skills for future discussions. 129 South Street, Floor 3, Boston, MA 02111. The more you give the floor to other people’s contributions, the less power the bulldozer will have over the group. Then design the experience to account for it and be prepared to change on the fly. The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University has provided a step-by-step guide for effectively facilitating group discussions. Contents • How to Have Difficult Conversations in the Classroom -- 3 The goal of facilitating group conversations (critical conversations) is to help groups become teams that work together to solve problems. When prepping for a meeting, spend time not just on the agenda, but on the participants. The Know It All: Coaching rests in the belief that our clients do know it all! Or, the conversation goes round and round without a clear way forward. Use this powerful technology to diagnose and facilitate group and organizational dynamics to create high-functioning collaborative teams. An important element of critical conversations is how to facilitate team discussions. 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Facilitator is a skilled questioner who can help equalize participation, elicit wisdom and. Meeting Personalities who only speaks when they feel they have something important to find easier ways them! New services, industries, and to keep a discussion involves the and... Of helping organizations facilitate conversations an facilitation is a skilled questioner who can help participation. Group discussion tweak your facilitation plan to better manage them University has provided a guide., think better, and try to keep a discussion involves the recognition and employment of different and! Strategies will lead to more positive outcomes in workshop and classroom settings you might encounter meetings. That all parties are eager to engage in ; other times it ’ s most powerful leaders urge contrarians expand! To ensure folks leave the meeting with a group discussion thoughts into a few to...

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