Language matters

September 24, 2014

It matters more than you think. The language we use reveals a lot. The language I use as a facilitator reveals a lot about me (so much so that Sascha Rixon did a whole PhD on facilitation language) and the language you use can be like an open door, welcoming me into your world, or […]

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But what would you do instead?

February 19, 2014

That hoary (yes, I like to use archaic words sometimes, it sets the scene for the post I’m writing) old saying (and yes, I know hoary and old mean the same thing and so this is a tautology – it’s about emphasis) , “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is often used as an […]

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What is the ONE huge mistake that organisers of community meetings make?

November 14, 2013

Last night I attended a community meeting. It was great. Lots of really useful information and a great simulation activity to enable all of us to relate to our own situation. Sure the powerpoint had bullets and the handout was a copy of the slides (why that matters is the whole point of Insanely Great […]

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Using games from improvised theatre to build mental agility and responsiveness amongst humanitarian workers responding to disasters

November 1, 2013

During the 2013 Melbourne Knowledge Week, I was part of a group of people exploring the role of (mostly video) games for social good, organised by Games for Change.  Here’s my contribution.* — I was in Perth in the 1980s at a conference about soil science. It was a very grown-up and serious conference. In […]

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Facilitating for engagement in isolated communities

April 24, 2013

There are ways to facilitate meetings and events of all sorts that encourage participation and engagement. This week, while working in Papua New Guinea and helping community leaders learn how to facilitate in isolated communities, I’ve come to understand the following. Facilitation can help the redistribution of power dynamics in a community Many standard meeting […]

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Listen up. R U OK?

September 10, 2012

Some of us are better at noticing than others. Facilitators get a lot of practice at noticing. Noticing is not the same as knowing. I might notice someone frowning, but that doesn’t mean I know the reason why. I need to ask, and there needs to be enough trust for the person to answer honestly. […]

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What change looks like

August 21, 2012

This TEDxHarlem talk by Jake Barton describes how we can move beyond the traditional (and mostly dysfunctional) public meeting and mobilise the community to be involved in creating a better future. As well as the messages about “re-imagining public participation” this talk highlights a few other things as well. Jake Barton uses story-telling to good […]

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Community and connection

August 20, 2012

Is it over sharing or reaching out? This is one of the new skills we have to navigate in this connected world. I think we all crave connection and understanding, empathy and love. Is it possible to get this on-line? I’ve seen friends reach out on-line and receive an outpouring of support, ideas, encouragement and […]

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Postcards provide a window to the world

June 13, 2012

Probably not the sort of postcards you’re thinking of. These postcards are made of people, creating a scene from nothing but a suggestion. We started with Southern Cross Station (Melbourne’s main train station) – people posed themselves as commuters, trains, signs, rubbish, ticket machines, aimless people, newspapers. Ian David, from Melbourne Playback Theatre Company, was […]

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Meetings or Meetups?

April 8, 2012

After September 11 in 2001 in New York strangers started saying hello to each other. There was a yearning for community, says Matt Meeker, co-founder of Meetup. Today facilitates off-line group meetings on any imaginable topic, now in 101 countries. I’m new to Meetups. I participate in two Meetup Groups in Melbourne: The Creative Performance […]

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