Personal Empowerment & Leadership Skills
There are thousands of good techniques to make our meetings productive, participative, friendly, cooperative... and fun! (See note aside).
Work in pairs for a Think and Listen. For half the time one person
is the thinker and the other is the listener. The thinking turn is
for the thinker's benefit. It is a time for the thinkers to collect
and develop their thoughts at their own pace, in their own way and
using their own language if they choose. The listener makes no comments
and asks no questions, but does make encouraging sounds and movements
to indicate that their attention to the thinker is active.
In a Go-Round everyone gets to speak for a short, equal time, taking
turns, often going round a circle of people. In meetings the facilitator
can offer topics or headings to guide contributions, such as "Say
your name, where you are from and how you are feeling today."
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to quickly generate a lot of ideas is to brainstorm. A successful brainstorm helps:
A facilitator will need to know how the participants at a meeting
are doing. Is their energy level OK? Do people need a break? Can people
keep going for another 10 minutes so we can finish this item before
lunch? Are people warm/cool enough. Is fresh air needed?
Mind maps are freehand diagrams that start from a circle in the middle
and have 'arms' or 'branches' radiating out at all angles. Mind maps
give a visual representation of the whole of a subject and allow the
main points to be easily identified. They are a flexible way of presenting
information that allows for alteration and making connections between
topics much more easily than linear text.
Step 1. Write a sentence or question describing a situation and post it on a wall or flipchart where everyone can see it.
Step 2. Brainstorm all the ideas or issues related to the situation or answering the question and write each idea on a sticky note. Depending on the size of the group, this can be done as a full group, in small groups, or silently as individuals. If the topic is sensitive, working individually provides anonymity and allows controversial or emotional things to come to light.
Step 3. All group participants work simultaneously to sort the ideas into 5-10 clusters. The sorting is done without speaking and it is only after it is finished that the logic of the group will emerge. If the group is large, the original sort can be done in small groups and then merged into a large group.
Step 4. A group consensus is used to create a label to summarize or
give a title to each cluster.
Step 1. Brainstorm the list of issues, problems, or solutions to be prioritized and write the statements on a flipchart.
Step 2. As a group, discuss the list to eliminate duplicate ideas and to clarify the meanings of any of the statements.
Step 3. Rewrite the final list of statements on a flipchart, leaving room for votes. For easy reference, you can label each idea with a number or letter.
Step 4. As a group, decide what criteria to use in evaluating and rating the ideas.
Step 5. – Voting by one of various methods
Step 6. Discuss the results as a group.
The person who facilitates the meeting wears the blue hat. This is the hat that controls the other hats (although eventually this person may want to pass the blue hat to another person). The person with the blue hat can at any moment invite the group to put on any of the following hats:
The facilitator (blue hat) decides whether everybody wears the same hat, or just a part of the group wears a given hat and others wear a hat in a different colour, depending on whether the facilittor wants to generate more ideas or to increase the depth of the debate.
* This technique has been created and developed by E. De Bono in his book Six thinking hats. Click here for more information
The big group is divided in small groups of 4-5 people sitting around a table with a paper tablecloth —to write, draw, or doodle in the midst of the conversation— and talking about a given subject presented under the form of a question. In each table there is a table 'host' who stays at the same table throughout the process. After 20-30 minutes the general host invites participants to change tables. The table host explains briefly the essence of the previous conversation to the guests who arrive for the next round. After three rounds of progressive conversation there is a dialogue among the whole group with the intention of gathering and recording key ideas, questions or insights that might be useful for action planning or other purposes.
* This technique has been created and developed by Juanita Brown and William Isaacs in their book The World Cafe. Click here for more information.
Association of Facilitators, IAF,
keeps a Methods Database with a lot of resources and knowledge for
here for a list of mindmapping software
Click on image for more information
Click on image to enlarge