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How to juggle content and processes, without getting overwhelmed

How to juggle content and processes, without getting overwhelmed

As a facilitator, your attention is dragged in at least three different directions – towards the content, the process and the people.
It’s your responsibility to look after all these dimensions. But, for a whole range of reasons, there are times when your participants are no longer on-board. No matter how clever the…

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How can we transform meetings from deadly dull to valuable and vibrant?

How can we transform meetings from deadly dull to valuable and vibrant?

Too many face-to-face meetings, workshops and conferences are bitterly disappointing. Poorly structured, ineptly hosted and devoid of either energy or results, they leave you wondering why the event took place at all.
And, particularly since the arrival of Covid, the same is true of online events.
Of course, we do know why these events take place.

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A good way to finish an online call – Virtual Facilitation #10

A good way to finish an online call – Virtual Facilitation #10

What’s a good way to finish an online call and ensure that you end with a continued (or increased) sense of engagement, and bring a feeling of completion?

This is my adaptation of an activity I learned at a recent gathering of Oxford University alumni.

“We’re all familiar with emojis? Yes!

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Why turn-taking is so important online – Virtual Facilitation #9

Why turn-taking is so important online – Virtual Facilitation #9

Turn-taking was and is a prominent part of a meeting, whether off-line or online.

When we used to meet face to face in the same rooms with each other, we all knew whose turn it was. It was always the turn of the next most confident or senior speaker – unless the meeting was facilitated to allow others to step in as part of the process. Establishing a talking order is…

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Include quick warmups – Virtual Facilitation #8

Include quick warmups – Virtual Facilitation #8

Why should you include quick warmups at the start of online calls?

1 They help familiarise everyone with the technology. Then it’s less likely that people will feel excluded or marginalised.

For example, here’s a simple warmup which works well with larger groups…If the technology allows it, invite participants to…

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Simple activities for Zoom

Simple activities for Zoom

You can easily get inventive with simple activities on Zoom. This picture from a London meeting of the Applied Improvisation Network illustrates a quick game, based on ‘Where’s Wally?’ and retitled for our gang as ‘Point to Peter’.
With everyone preferably in Gallery View or equivalent, the facilitator names one person and everyone points to the area of the screen in which that person appears.

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Who decides what’s the New Normal?

Who decides what’s the New Normal?

What will our new normal look like? As we adjust to a world containing Covid19, there are many ideas about what’s going to be different and what will stay the same. We experience whatever we’ve always called ‘normal’ as the flow of millions of interpersonal exchanges. Pre-Covid, life, more or less, went on. Then suddenly with the pandemic a significant…

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Apology not accepted – Virtual Facilitation #7

Apology not accepted – Virtual Facilitation #7

How many times are you hearing apologies for poor use of technology during online calls?

‘Sorry, I haven’t quite got the hang of Zoom’. Well, we don’t want to hear it – for at least three good reasons.

1. I reckon that you really should have the hang of it by now. If you are creating training or learning sessions, particularly if they are paid-for, you need

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Encouraging constructive conversations online – Virtual Facilitation #6

Encouraging constructive conversations online – Virtual Facilitation #6

If you put your participants into breakout rooms, you can’t expect great conversations online to break out automatically. They might, but equally might not. And this is an instance where you need to take even more care in an online world than when facilitating at a f-2-f conference or workshop event. In the latter, there’s…

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How to create engagement in virtual meetings – Virtual Facilitation #5

How to create engagement in virtual meetings – Virtual Facilitation #5

How do we create (more) engagement in virtual meetings with a group that’s still pretty unfamiliar with good Zoom meetings? And that likely means most of your participants. If you can do that, you’ll immediately stand out from the cavalcade of everyone and their uncle who are now offering online sessions.

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Defusing dangerous dogma in improvisation

Defusing dangerous dogma in improvisation

This week a group of us re-watched, via a Facebook Watch Party, one of the most impactful talks ever given at an Applied Improvisation Network (AIN) Conference. It was Pablo Suarez speaking about adapting what we know (i.e. improvisation) to the field of disaster preparedness.

Pablo, from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, was with us to…

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