What benefit has your project or initiative brought back to the organization, how much time has it saved frustration, how has it streamlined processes? This is another example of not styles but a bit of persuasion, a bit of marketing efforts that go behind both being a facilitator and being an intrapreneur and demonstrating value through the way you communicate. Just on the topic of communication, when I did meet you at that workshop with Jane Anderson, you put up your hand and spoke about the photographer that was in the room and how great her work was, but you spoke in this way that everyone just turned, and you were very compelling.
Irena: Thank you so much for saying that. Such kind words, Leanne. I am at the extreme end of the bell curve in terms of my height. I realized that because of my tiny stature, I was going to have to really work on myself to make sure that I had the impact on the world that I wanted to create. I embarked on, not that I knew it at the time but, a whole lot of development activities that were designed around creating that sense of confidence and that capacity to impact and influence in the world.
Back in my school days, I was a debater, I was in all of the school musicals. Then when I left and went into the workforce, even while I was a teacher, I joined Toastmasters, I went off and did Speech and Drama qualifications, I learned some theater techniques for presenting oneself, I did improv, I worked on my voice, I worked on my speech skills, worked on my presentation skills but having fun along the way because it was my hobby. I was doing all of these purely because I was interested in it and I got a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment out of it.
It has been a bit of a journey, yes. Irena: Absolutely, it can be. I actually believe anything can be taught. I think all it takes is a determination to want it enough. I talk these days a lot about growth mindset. I think well if you want it bad enough, you can make it your skill set. If you want it bad enough, you will pursue it in a way that you become quite single-minded about it.
Leanne: Yes, I agree with you. Leanne: I liked that you also mentioned that phrase. I try to dismiss that. Irena: Well, I absolutely agree with you that there is this myth around the notion of what is creativity. Whereas, in fact, having spent seven years researching creative problem solving, I can say quite unequivocally that we are all capable of creativity. Most of the time, most people have to deal with problems in the workplace which are not strictly step by step by step by step. That is creative thinking. That is creative problem-solving.
People in the workplace, they might come up with a really clever way of dealing with a difficult colleague. That is, in fact, a creative response. They might come up with an out of the box way of solving a problem for a customer, that is a creative response. He built it out of bits and pieces that he had lying around in his shed. You made decisions on a minute by minute basis about what would be a good next step, and you picked up another part and go, yes, this will fit in here and all sorts of really interesting things.
People often have a real aha moment when we talk about things like that. Irena: Absolutely. Irena: Warpath, I love it, [crosstalk] that one. Sorry, keep going. Leanne: Quite violent. Just when you were talking about creativity, I could tell that the pace in your voice is really, you spoke about a passion, lot of energy. Delivering workshops I believe you need a lot of energy to do it and at the end of the day, it can be pretty exhausting.
Genuinely exhausted. Then I just have to rest for a little bit, recharge my batteries. I develop my IP and my content and my models, the things that will then feed into my next book, et cetera. That then replenishes my spirit. As long as I can have times like that where I can recharge, then I keep my batteries going that point as well. Leanne: No, I think that point just demonstrates that you are human because I feel the same. Email is never under that banner, but I know what you mean.
I know what you mean. Just sort of you have that moment of solitude. For some people, it might be that they come and sit at their desk and they do some quiet work. Other people meditate at lunchtime so that they can recharge their batteries that way. I always have my notebook next to me. People need to find how they recharge their batteries and then make sure that they do that on a regular basis so that they can keep their mojo going. Leanne: I agree, and I like that you also document your ideas by writing things down. Leanne: Excellent. We got lots of listeners from different areas, they could be engineers, accountants, a lot of HR people that listen to the show because they have been asked to deliver workshops.
Number one thing, this is a general rule for anyone starting in a new field, do lots of it. Like just literally do lots and lots and lots and lots of it. Something else that is very useful for subject matter experts stepping into teaching or facilitation or training role is to come to the experience looking at whatever it is that they are presenting through the eyes of the learner, not through the eyes of the expert. People who are experts have got very advanced and what from the psychology literature is often referred to as highly chunked schemers.
Experts can sometimes forget that. Make sure that people get to do things as well. One of the mistakes that novice facilitators can make is thinking that they need to control everything in the room. All of those sorts of questions are fairly typical for people who are newly emerging in a field. The best thing to do under those circumstances is to just relax, let go, relinquish control and let everyone be part of the learning process.
If something happens, and the facilitator genuinely has no idea what just happened, just admit it. I think learners really appreciate seeing their teachers and their trainers and instructors go through a learning process as well. If people want to get in contact with you and find out more about what you do, where can they find you? Irena Yashin-Shaw. My website is www. Leanne: Absolutely, go for it.
It is in Brisbane, yes, please tell everyone about it. Irena: Thank you. We have got people speaking from lots of different sectors. Intrapreneurialism is alive and well in all sectors, not just within the business sector or the large corporate sector from which we have got speakers but also within education, within not for profit, within the indigenous community, within academia.
I would love to extend an invitation to the people who are part of your network and listening to this podcast. Hopefully, there will be many more. I look forward to maybe meeting some of the people in your network at that event, please come and say hello. That was a beautiful plug and we definitely need intrapreneurs in every industry.
Well done you and congratulations on being so brave and starting your first conference. Irena: Thank you, Leanne. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and congratulations on the fantastic work that you are doing with this as well. Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw. Sarah, welcome to the show. Obviously, was very inspired and got on the email straightaway and connected us both, so credit to you. Sarah: Oh, thank you and what a huge credit and booster confidence that is too. Leanne: A lot of people ask me how I find guests for the show and I think my favourite guests are the ones that have been recommended by people that walked out of workshops thinking that person was just dynamic and incredible.
So it is an extremely amazing credit to you. I went to a university that really believed and hugely supporting our undergrads and so by the time I was a senior level undergrad, there are a few teachers assistant positions open for the really huge first year Psychology courses of my undergrad in Psych that I was able to become a teacher assistant and then I just consumed every opportunity possible to learn how to be a really great educator of people in the university system.
And so my second job which was only a couple years after grad school was working as an educator in a Mental Health Hospital and then the facilitation offered opportunities just opened right up.
Whether be challenging conversations and helping people to have those conversations so kind of more one-on-one type of facilitation that would border on mediation not even realizing what it was at the time. Right through to very large program realignment and having to try to help a whole bunch of people get used to a lot of change and then start to set the course.
So in that first time, I mean you got experience very young in your career, how did you feel being up in front of a room and possibly talking to people that were maybe double your age or had a lot more life experience than you. How did that feel? Sarah: Yeah. Well, you know the irony is, I trained to become a therapist and so in comparison to trying to help people through divorce and loss and all of these things that I was completely unqualified to do. So I think my confidence built partly through experience and just some trial and error getting some great mentorship by people who had more experience than I did and taking some courses and practicing different facilitation methods.
Sarah: Yeah, I love that. Well, everything that I work so hard to master and cultivate as a facilitator now shows up in my speaking skills as well. Do you want to quickly talk through this? So can you just share with us what was your journey transitioning from a corporate career into just killing it with your own business now? Sarah: I love that- killing it. So many different types of facilitation that people in my network were asking me to do and I would ask my employer is that okay if I take a vacation day and I would go and do and it would be great because whatever I learned there and whatever I practiced there, it made me actually better the work in the workplace.
Because when I went out into the workplace and it was actually precipitated by a very serious mental health crisis of one of my kids and my son doing incredibly well now. I have something in that bag of tricks that can help this client.
What is that sweet spot that you absolutely love and really cultivating and harvesting that? That really was the next phase of my entrepreneurship journey was really respecting that my area of expertise is recognition. You have to quote, trust the process. In my own life, I have to quote, trust the process too. Sarah: And I love most of my clients. I want to talk about your recognition stuff in a moment but you said something really interesting and I was googling this a lot earlier this year.
What is the value that an external person can bring? So of course, like so much of what we talked about in facilitation, really understand what the core objectives are. That is the reality, sometimes, we value externals such as just take a look at your hiring practices.
If you hire and people get promotions based on hiring from outside versus hiring from within that is probably your indication that you also need an external facilitator. I want to just give you a heads up. Please know that is not a slight on your abilities. How can I help then? They can help you recruit the right person, they can help that proposals, and they can give you a sense as to what they think. If they were looking for somebody, what do they think of this group or this objective would best suit what type of facilitator.
Leanne: Yeah, absolutely. So why did that really pop out for you as an area of focus. Why recognition over leadership, over strategy? We worked as a team and so if we were trying to help some teams that were really struggling, great great people, super professional, talented, but for whatever reason it could be a huge change, it could be compassion fatigue, it could be dynamics within the group, and you know the drill, right?
We just held the space that each one of them and collectively there was greatness there but the best most effective, fastest strategy we knew how to use was to help them through recognition. She and I just decided that the world needed to be having more of a conversation about recognition. But we had seen how this was a game changer and that will people were able to recognize themselves and each other then it could be a total turnaround in the team and then whatever we did after that just made it better but exponentially better at first from the recognition work.
The easy choice was recognition. A lot of people like you said go down the traditional paths of leadership and team-building. How did you come to picking that name? So it was- I try very hard to magnify or help people magnify their own greatness. So that was how we, how I came to name it. Send it out to your mother, your brother, your sister, your past colleagues, your current friends, and your ex-boyfriend that you still have coffee with once a year. I really firmly believe that is worth getting paid for; and people naturally pay for experts over generalists and I know this is not all about money and put it this way.
I know a lot of the people that listen to your podcast are they have families or they want to have a family. Whether you are specialist within your organization or specialist on your own, writing your own side hustle, your own full-time business is when you stand tall in that area of expertise because how you do it, your amazingness as a facilitator, that goes with you no matter what your area of expertise is, right? Hire Sarah or hire Leanne. Leanne: Oh, my gosh. I really like- the other week, I was running a session on creative thinking and I just could not read enough about it.
I love talking about ideas. Sarah: It is, for sure and getting feedback from people that you trust and you value I think is a great strategy and also combining the things that you love. So where does creativity meet strengths methodology. And the other, the flip side around it is what have we still not solved in the world of everything we know? They just thought they were the bomb.
So there is still room, Leanne, for there to be a version of helping people get back to their artistic strength and really using us their superpower or that creative strength is your capital for growing as a business. What business objectives or what personal objectives does that solve by bringing strengths and creativity together? I get to pick and choose from my toolbox just like you do, just like everybody on this podcast.
Leanne: Thank you. I feel like this is my own sort of personal coaching call. Leanne: We are thinking of you and other listeners. We are what business objective is it solving if you actually decide to do what you do. Because I used to think of it like every day I had to prove that I was worth it. Leanne: Oh, high five. So forever recognize our own greatness blog. She went there and that was perfect, that was exactly what needed to happen. Leanne: Are there any sort of other skills that you think are really key for facilitators that who want to get better or be the best.
What else do they need? Sarah: So for in the example that you provided or in your own life with passion around strengths and with creativity. I bet most of your listeners have it in speed and could probably teach it to other people. I did have a question there about all your accreditation. I was looking at your, stalking your LinkedIn profile.
Leanne: Wow. Sarah: I think different things at different times. They bring two huts in Africa or small rural villages in India. They know this stuff works everywhere around the world and philanthropically all the money they make from training us corporate people, they allow, it allows them to go and do some pretty amazing facilitation work around the world. You cannot have a whole bunch of banging baggage hanging around with you as a coach.
So I would say those were two really fundamental and then probably from a confidence building early on in my facilitation days, having the tools so Myers-Briggs and personality dimensions and Mcquaig and Human Synergistics all their various tools. But I think that it goes along with my earlier comment around being very connected to what you uniquely, your greatness.
Leanne: Yeah, I agree. So thanks. For all those first-time facilitators listening, do you have any advice that you could give to them? If I heard this early in my career this would have really helped me. Sarah: Oh, gosh. Where to start? I probably could have done a lot more work in my side hustle but I just when every, somebody would come to me then that I would do the work.
Sarah: So that I mean I say that and it seems kind of ironic because what I do for a living is I help organizations and leaders retain their top talent through recognition. So it seems kind of contrary but the great thing is you have options by being a facilitator and that this toolkit and the diversity that you have, it means you have options.
This was my biggest inner critic message. You could be the person that helps them stand in business or that helps them double their growth and that helps them would make it a better place to work whatever those goals are. Leanne: Amazing. Sarah, I feel like this has really been a personal coaching call.
Sarah: Haha. Leanne: I definitely did and I know that our listeners will tune. If people want to continue their conversation with you, where can they find you? Could I have a business here and what transferable skills do I have as a facilitator? Thank you so much and yet like Sarah said, we will link to her calendar in the show notes of this episode.
Sarah, thank you so much for your time and I can understand why Amanada recommended you so highly. Just know that you can motivate just through the power of audio is an incredible skill as well. Leanne: So well done to you and thanks so much for your insight. We could have spoken for hours. Sarah McVanel. This is the transcript of my conversation with Toon Verlinden. Alternatively, you can listen to the First Time Facilitator episode with Toon. Leanne: Welcome to the show. Thanks so much for joining us and thanks for your time this morning.
Leanne: I always like to start with our facilitators and asking them a bit about their background and what was it and how they got inspired to enter the world of facilitating and in your case helping people present and deliver better presentations. Toon: Yeah. So what happened, I graduated as an engineer, Biochemical Engineer and as a journalist and later on I went into research on water purification and I was asked to talk at World Water Day.
I was there and I was talking and before me there were two or three other researchers and after me there were two or three other researchers and it was all quite dull and a quite boring that day. Leanne: It is really nice. I mean who would have thought that one presentation would have really changed the trajectory of your career. What did you do in that presentation and how much time did you really dedicate to making it so good? But I want to talk about 13 things and then I had a list of things I want to talk about.
Toon: The really the focus that you have to take. Leanne: I can imagine, information is power. Toon: It is. Leanne: Fantastic. You started this company, The Floor Is Yours back in and I love the whole philosophy around it; Life is too short for boring presentations. Leanne: I want to give you a virtual high-five.
I love that! Leanne: So why do you think there are so many boring presentations around the world? I mean you saw this in one conference. Why is it still happening? Toon: I think there are a lot of reasons. You have to do it like I have done it. I hate that too. Leanne: So you talked about attention and you had five minutes at this conference. But I like on your website, you talk about 20 seconds that period of time. Toon: First off, the thing is, if people start to present a new topic, a new complex topic, they start off and they go all different directions and they want to cram everything into that little teaser.
So the 20 seconds is really a good way to see if people are interested in what you are saying. Look guys, this is a problem you are having. This is the solution I will be bringing to you and this is the advantage, this is the reason why this is useful to you. I like it. Toon: I piece it together from- so if you notice that a lot of people start with the solution. If you look at movies for example or other stories that we like, they tend to go for a problem-solution advantage structure.
Toon: So every story follows, every story that we like or that we read follow that problem-solution advantage structure. Toon: I listen to all at the ad, the audible version. Yeah and I really liked it and there are some really good concepts in there as well. Then there was a book as well called Houston, We Have a Narrative and that was from an Astrophysics guy, I think, that started working in Hollywood later on and he uses that structure a little bit as well. How are they- how do they tackle that problem and how can we use that into in our presentations?
We have podcasts. So looking forward to talking out with him. Hey, I think he was there recently running a workshop and they went to the Tintin Museum a lot. So I heard the problem-solution framework before.
So like that. I also like that you also focus on slide design for dummies. What can we do with our slides to make them more I guess compelling with our audience? There are two problems that lead to full slides. The first problem is when people ask us to give a presentation; what do we do? I click to add text. So one of the things I advise, try to start with like a blank slide not with like these pre-set bullet points or so just blank slide and start to draw your own square sensor.
And then the second thing people need to know is that if you are presenting, you are important; not your PowerPoint. People start to read top to bottom while they are presenting. But the thing is people, the audience can read faster than you can speak so they have read the entire slide before you are half way and they will zone out. Try to aim for a maximum of 20 words per slide. Leanne: Good advice. So my advice is create two presentations. To the engineers in your company for example, let them take your presentation, let them make a copy of it, rename it to hand out and not presentation and then take their presentation and start cutting in it and then you have two versions like the slides that are have less text.
They can use that as a presentation and then their original slides, they can use that as a handout probably. Leanne: Genius. Just call this one down. Leanne: Nice. If you really sort of gone out there or do you keep it? Now, I try to attract the attention in the beginning of a workshop like a standard thing. I do quite a lot is if I need to give a pitch workshop, I also researched as academics need to pitch to management, to funding agencies to each other. Now, one of the things I did not, that long ago was, I opened with a real story, a true story of a guy that attached some helium balloons to his lawn chair and then left off.
He flew like two kilometres up in the air. I used that story as a beginning in the workshop but that day I took myself my lawn chair with me with some helium balloons, I put it on a table and I sat in the lawn chair and it really attracts the attention and that worked. But show- the content is important. But just by attracting attention in the beginning, people are hooked and then you can come with your content. It can be as simple as like opening a bottle of wine for example. There once was someone, after our workshop, he went to a conference and he was doing research on what purification and more specifically on extracting this too from people out of the water to reuse it.
The phosphates in the stool. You only got positive feedback from that slide. Leanne: Where did you get your ideas on- how did you get your ideas with the helium balloon and the bottle of wine? Was it just you and your mate Hans are talking about it or writing things down and seeing where the connections are? The Australian version of that kind of beer outside. How does it work? How does it go? Why are people distracted when they need to listen to speaker?
Maybe I can use it later. A funny story. Also, if you give a workshop, I do it as well. The uses that a lot of people are talking and talking and smart phones are up and computers laptops are open and then when you start with a story, the first sentence people stop talking. The second sentence, laptops closed. Third sentence, smartphones go away. I use the journalism skills indeed. Leanne: Good one. Start with a blank template and telling stories is really key as well. So are there any other skills that you think are really important in terms of facilitating workshops? Something that you do differently between compared to speaking?
What do you do differently when you actually facilitate and engage in a two-way learning process? Toon: I think as a facilitator, you need to be very honest with yourself and with your audience and what I mean by that is, I really think that bad presentations are a problem in this world especially with academics. So I really think bad presentations are a problem and I think as a facilitator that comes across. If you really care about your subject then that really really works.
Other things I do- the question was what I do differently if I give a workshop instead of giving a presentation, is that the question? The key techniques remain the same. What I tend to do in a workshop as well is I try to divide the entire workshop in three blocks. We divided our workshop, our presentation workshop for example, in story, show and slides.
How can we make it appealing to look at and appealing to listen to and then we go slides. How can we make good slides and that three-part structure is very powerful. But I use it in presentations as well as in workshops because people tend to be able to structure three things quite well in their head.
Leanne: And the whole rule of threes and speeches, so I like that too. Leanne: The listeners on our show are technical experts could be engineers, accountants, people working in HR. What would your advice be to people that are starting their careers in facilitation or transitioning from being the subject matter expert or the academic into creating engagement presentations.
What would you say to them starting out? Toon: The most important thing someone told us in the beginning when we started was try to find your niche. So times up. Where can people find you guys online or if they want to get in touch with you and asking more questions. Where should we send them? Toon: Well, the place to go to is thefloorisyours. But thefloorisyours. Can you share what your eBook is about or is it a top secret?
Toon: Well, so yeah. First, we are going to look at story then that show and that slides, the same as in the workshop. But the useful thing about the book is that you can put a lot of more info in there than you can put in your workshop. Gosh, you must be both be so busy. It may be out or even a day or two away. So Toon, thank you so much for your time and really interesting story. Leanne: So thanks for sharing your tips with our audience. Episode 34 Toon Verlinden transcript. Leanne: I actually know a few too. Not that I feel like necessarily— Actually, okay, I think sometimes that I could do a better job, but sometimes just thinking surely this could come to life a lot more than it currently is and be done in a different way and liking the idea of that challenge.
Is that what you found when you made that transition as well? I think actually one of the things I noticed within even six months of doing the training because first couple of years, this is context, I did both so I did training and I did accounting and just switch between the two at different times of the year.
Just trying to make learning a bit more active rather than passive. Leanne: Yes, hear, hear. I like that it is a bit broad, but you can go quite deep into different areas of it. Then secondly teams, actually working with teams at different levels not necessarily just new leaders that can be quite senior executive teams and leadership teams to help them be more effective. Actually building back some of the habits that they might need to help them to be be more effective as a team.
Steph: It is a few things and I think a largely it comes down to having even an idea of your identity as a leader, what do you actually want to be known for? Who do you want to be as a leader? I think a lot of people are promoted into those ranks not because of their leadership skills, but because of their technical skills so that is what they identify with. A leader of others necessary or a manager of others. They want to just do the work that they are good at and get on with it.
What do you think about that? Yes, from really senior to the more junior leaders and managers is just not fair because we are not setting them up right or well or fairly to really succeed because they are trying to do everything, you just do nothing. Not always, we are trying it and we are expecting the same thing from everyone. Leanne: Share that around. Steph: Thanks yes so my trifecta or Venn diagram for leadership is know your stuff know yourself, know your team because when I think about all the challenges and all the different skills and behaviors you need as a leader it really does boil down to those three things and by team of course you can make that broader and think about your stakeholders, your organization, your customers et cetera because there is no others.
I think the way I came up with it was really just synthesizing most of the different challenges I hear and also the strengths I hear from people as well. Leanne: When you would talk about synthesizing the ideas, did you just sit down with a stack of post-it notes and start drawing them out and categorizing them what was your process? There was no process.
Leanne: Also, I think what you said is that you had this model, you let it sit there, you kept reflecting on it and coming back to it from time to time and then testing it which is key. You mentioned Covey there and growing up for me his book S even Habits was one of my favorite books growing up and still is. Are there any books that have really impacted you professionally I guess both in your facilitation sense but as the way that you I guess live and run your life.
Leanne: Well his son Sean Covey he had Seven habits of highly effective teens so I did [crosstalk] Yes, actually very. Leanne: It was a Christmas present [unintelligible ]. Is that going to help us get closer to or further from our goal, our objective, our mission? What does this represent?
Is this the best environment for us to have this particular conversation. Maybe not. Leanne: Maybe not, no. Leanne: Talking about conference locations and venues, have you presented at any X Factor or participated in any great conference locations? Leanne: I should just get rid of any windowless room.
It should just be [crosstalk]. Steph: I know, a few nice country clubs and golf clubs in the UK because that was often our conference venue were in those locations, you drove out to the country and because they are usually bit bigger as well but sadly nothing super loud. Can you talk us through how you started branding yourself and figure out your brand story and all that for facilitators that are trying to make that transition from corporate to running their own show. Great yes, she would be great if you get her to do some presentation. That was the first hurdle was to get over my innate fear of boredom and a lack of variety which was a bit of a problem.
Psychologist please apply within and then thinking about the other brand and what I wanted to building a website and all those kind of things. At first for starter we are just writing some blogs and just thinking about getting a voice and building the brand voice and the brand opinion and what topics I wanted to talk about and which ones flowed a bit easier than others and where I wanted to put a bit of a stamp and then from there, I thought we need some kind of logo and looking at different things. Then the big decision was do I brand without going into the back end of the business too much but do I brand?
Do I actually start a business and incorporation or do I go more sole trader and with my own name? Leanne: So clever, so clever. What are you up to now? What kind of projects and courses and workshops? Steph: Thanks. Steph: Exactly, delegate that yes, exactly. I really love-. It was just a bit of boredom because I exercise in the mornings, in the evenings I was making dinner and then just sitting and festering and I felt like my brain was disappearing. Leanne: [unintelligible ] your boyfriend but you started in business and got your branding organized too? I think that course is going to be so useful for anyone transitioning, so well done on putting that together.
If people want to connect with you, talk to you, find out all your stuff. Steph: Yes, LinkedIn is probably my most visited social media site. Get on there and contact me there. Leanne: Yes, your posts and videos are very active. Also if you want to look at great how branding is, Instagram is really cool too. Great way to start our way week. Steph: Mainly because I love coming to Brisbane, so just any excuse of that. Leanne: Hell yes. Episode 33 episode transcript first time facilitator podcast Steph Clarke.
This is the transcript of my conversation with Sally Foley-Lewis. Click to listen to my First Time Facilitator conversation with Sally. Her clients rave about her because she leaves the audience equipped to take immediate positive action. Sally: Oh, Leanne. So you open up that conference and you really made us all laugh, you look completely natural on stage, you were talking about al l the different types of people that attend conferences which was just yeah I found that really funny.
The stage looks like a bit of a happy place for you has it always been that way? Leanne: Oh, wow. How long have you been in this game of running workshops facilitating emceeing? Look, at least 20 years. So my first job at a university, I already had an audience as such. I mean like the audience obviously has changed. You no longer working with patients.
What have you done to really hone your craft in terms of your development? Sally: I am a big believer of lifelong learning. When courses come up that I think are going to really take my skills to a haul other level then I will jump on them. Advance facilitation programs, professional speaking courses, training courses. Also programs that probably a little bit left of centre but expand my thinking. That was awesome. Why do you think people are more interested in some facilitator styles over others?
Sally: Well, I think it comes down to why have people presented? Why do people shop in the first place? And also, is the message being delivered in a way that resonates? Never again. How did you develop your resilience? I come home and I have a shower. The other big lesson for me is that I have got the biggest expectations of myself. So which one do you focus on? The goods are good. Leanne: Good tip. I love doing that too, actually.
So you have that in your back pocket so you can relate these stories or whatever mediums to present. Are there any other sort of other tips or skills that you think facilitators really need? Sally: Yeah. I think that in the room, what I have seen a lot of is that a facilitators feel the need to be seen as the expert. Is there a better way of doing that? Pick and choose. That sounds incredible. Yeah, so easy. I really like that. So it could be setting up an email automation system as one. Tidying up the way you have your meetings is another and that could be your professional productivity and your personal productivity, you could do some batching of tasks or some chunking of some work and then in your people productivity, it could be who can I delegate some work to.
Leanne: I really need those two hours. With the people side, do you in terms of delegation, do you outsource any tasks using any virtual assistants. Have you gone down that road? Sally: I have. I mean, as you know I work for myself and so what I tend to do is outsource project to project. A guy came forward and said this is what I do, this is who I am and so I have to do my checks and balances. So it might have taken me two days to set that up and get that relationship right, get my understanding and my expectations clear but then, bang! Thank you very much.
So looking forward to reading that book. Sally: Thank you. Sally: Well, I think the thing that happens before you even stand in front of the audience is asking a lot of questions and questions like to the client not necessarily the audience. Number one. Are there any particular issues that are going to be in the room that will be not spoken about but completely known to everyone except me? Is there any languaging? That is super important. Leanne: Really? Leanne: Yeah, I know what you mean.
More kind of British English? Sally: And I also slow it down as well. That is facilitation. You need to be prepared for anything. Sally: Oh, yes. I was just going to say. It does. As well as setting a time in our diaries and our phones for a week after where we could spend some time to reflect on what we learn about conference. I thought that was such a great tool. What other tips do you have for embedding learning following that workshop?
Please call me. And I get them to tell me and I will often say depending on the size of the group. So it could just be like an email or a quick SMS but then they know that someone else is thinking about them and wanting them to succeed. Love it. Sally: Yeah, definitely.
Write it down. Leanne: But simple steps that at least you get one action done that builds momentum. So all those slides that you had were just photos of you doing different things and with different props. The other thing is, you know my undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Leisure Studies. We could speak for ages. If people want to get in touch with you and find out or if they want you just to keep them accountable. Where can they find you? Thank goodness many people say. Leanne: Awesome and all the best in Kuwait as well.
Sally: And thanks for having me. Episode 31 episode transcript facilitation skills sally foley-lewis. This is a transcript of the First Time Facilitator episode Adventurous agendas and other tools you can use in your next meeting. Hey everyone, thanks for tuning into Episode Welcome to another solo episode. Last week, I was invited to Sydney for a few days to facilitate an annual planning session. But what I can share with you all, are some of the fantastic tools I discovered while planning for this, as well as some advice I received from others, that I think you, as listeners of this podcast could really benefit from.
This was a three day planning meeting. Each person attending, already had been briefed on the agenda prior and had access to it. I found a cool way of presenting the agenda through a website called Gamestorming. There are two sections to this, the known world top half of the circle which is life as we know it, our regular working day, and the unknown world which is the bottom half , which for us is and beyond. It starts off with that call to adventure. In the case of a meeting, this is a good time to explore the purpose, objectives and outcomes for the meeting, the why.
Or, if your first presenter is going to do that, you can mention that here. As you work around the circle, you draw and mention those things on the heroes journey and relate them back to that meeting. For example, a hero always has the assistance of helpers and mentors that assist on the journey, you can link to these external people that are coming in to share their information or advice. Trials and tribulations, problems and pitfalls — in the adventure novels, this is the time when you climb the mountain, or fight the trolls, you can relate this back to brainstorming,.
This is a moment of great pain.. After the pit, you start developing new powers, new ways of doing things. You learn how to use the force. This is where you start creating solutions and actions on how to tackle the unknown. You still have to cross the threshold back into the known world. These new gifts that you have, you need to figure out how to share those ideas with your teams back home. In the meeting agenda, this is where you start talking about how to communicate the actions from the meeting and the next steps.
My next step was to write out the explanation in my own words, linking it back to the upcoming agenda. I then recorded myself explaining it, and then started listening to that over and over again. Always consider your audience and their needs before selecting an appropriate analogy or tool. My audience were a team of Executives that are super busy in-demand people, who were brought up on Star Wars… so an opportunity to talk to them like and relate what they were about to embark on as being heroic, well it worked for them. When this happens, you can use this next tool, Altitude which, I again discovered from the Gamestorming site , to agree on expectations and keep people focused at the right level to serve the goals of the meeting.
For prep work, draw up a flipchart divided into three horizontal sections. If you have enough time, you can give them the chance to test how well they fly. Then, reveal your Altitude flipchart and and ask the group to define what they mean by the satellite level, or the airplane level, and the ground level in the context of their meeting. For example, if they say that the satellite level is too high but the ground level is too detailed, ask them for examples of the kinds of things they would consider at the right altitude.
Then ask them for examples of things that would be too low or too high. Now tell them that whenever they notice the conversation going too high abstract, vague, strategic or too low down in the weeds, tactical, operational they can float their airplane and that will be a signal to the group. I think this tool is fantastic for a few reasons. The accountability is on the people in the room to self-moderate — they have agreed on the right level of discussion up front, and they each have their plane to float when they realise the conversation is steered at the wrong altitude.
I emailed an old boss, Julie Kean. My main advice to you is to trust your intuition. You are not there to be centre of attention. You are there to allow others to put together their collective intelligences. As in the old aphorism — you need to be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage. Depending on the group, this can be tricky but you should expect an executive group to put in big time. Which brings me to the question — are they doing any prep?
One thing you can do as the facilitator is to put some questions to them in advance with an expectation that they will bring answers with them to the sessions. You can also think about questions that you can send them home with at the end of each day. Make sure they are hard questions — make them work for their money, so to speak.
Scenario planning is another strategy that can work well with the right group.
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