Blog > Inspiration from odd places

June 23, 2008

Did I mention that I’d started a new business? Regular readers will know about Facilitating With Confidence – a facilitation training program that my friend Anne Pattillo and I have developed that goes beyond processes. We indulge our passion for improv theatre, and for action methods. We help our participants find their own platform for facilitating, we share some tried and true approaches and most importantly, we work on presence. being able to respond to what’s actually happening, here and now; being present for the people we’re with. Most important of all – we surprise ourselves with our discoveries, and the sharing with those who are learning with us. Our journeys started well before those whom we’re training, but that doesn’t mean we’ve reached the end. Goodness me – I have more questions now than ever before!

We’re supplementing the face-to-face work with on-line activities. Comments, questions, podcasts and videos. Here’s three we watched and then asked the question “what can we learn about facilitating from these videos?” Here’s what our clever and insightful participants came up with. 


• Very mundane situations can become wondrous 

• Simple instructions can be effective 

• You can’t always be sure what people’s responses may be 

• Adults can be intrigued by the simplest of things 

• Taking away normality can really make people think 

• A bit of fun is good – doesn’t have to be serious all the time 

• Clear directions 

• Coordination is good 

• Give time to things – explanations and understanding will come in good time 

• Think of creative ways to make an impression 

• Do the unexpected 

Take risks 


• Be prepared to focus on all elements of the facilitation activity 

• Be prepared for the un expected to happen 

• Unless you are present, opportunities may be overlooked 

• Allow for some fun and silliness – it can help to demonstrate point/enhance learning 

• Focusing on one aspect means neglecting others – so need to carefully prioritise 

• Having an independent record can be critical for noticing important stuff 

• It can be fantastic learning feedback (also in psychodrama) 

• Awareness of people’s habits 

• Something surprising/kooky can stick in the memory and make a point 

Using your peripheral vision is a MUST! 


Hat tip to Chris Corrigan’s Phoric

• Where there is a will, there is a way 

• Simplistic, logical thinking about a task 

• Things should be given adequate time – be realistic about what needs to be done to achieve the 


• Mistakes/mishaps will occur – it’s part of learning and development – it’s OK 

• Processes build on each other – think through the processes that logically and creatively lead to 

the desired outcome 

• Think outside the square – just because others haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you can’t 

find an innovative (or simplistic) way to do it 

• The right lever can move anything – one person can do heaps 

• Sometimes in the preparation of a facilitation process you may feel like the Lone Ranger – not 

necessarily a bad thing… 

One person can use the resources around them 

And another hat tip to Rob Paterson & Johnnie Moore’s Phoric: Desert Island YouTube for inspiring (albeit subconsciously) this approach.

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