One of the toughest tasks of a facilitator is to relinquish judgement and fully seek the intent behind the terms used in meetings. Therefore, facilitate meaning, not words. Structured workshops support the information revolution (as opposed to the 20th century industrial revolution). Therefore, remind participants that their words provide instruments supporting the meaning being conveyed.
The term ‘in-formation’ implies a sense of journey, rather than destination. Participants supporting in-formation technology discover that deliverables are transitory. The question is not whether a guiding principle or assumption will change, only when it changes—or perhaps more accurately, how quickly the change will occur, since change is continuous. Therefore it behooves us to fully understand and facilitate the meaning behind the words being used.
Be willing to challenge participants to make their thinking visible. “Great minds like a think.” Strive to help your speaker or participants to more fully explain the meaning behind the terms they use. Words rarely capture all of the intended meaning. However, additional challenge and facilitation improves robust understanding, making it easier to build valid and sustaining consensus.
Whether you are most familiar with the “Five WHYs” or the inquisitive five-year old, ask for proof, evidence, examples, and options to fortify participants’ thinking and their supporting arguments. Challenge adjectives and adverbs, such as ‘quick’ or ‘quality’. Ask about their meaning and intent. An excellent follow-up question is “What is the unit of measurement for insert adjective or adverb______?”
Many languages serve to build consensus, not simply English. True and valid consensus is not only an English term(s), rather it is also the meaning the participants intends to convey. The elusive nature of meaning was captured by Hafez (aka Hafiz) when he penned centuries ago:
If you think that the Truth an be known
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean
Can pass through that tiny opening called the mouth.
O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly laughing—
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Additionally, go to the Facilitation Training Store to access our in-house resources. Finally, you will discover numerous annotated agendas, break timers, and templates.
In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.
- Five Reasons to Hold a Facilitated Session (mgrush.com/blog)
- How to Facilitate Simple Prioritization (mgrush.com/blog)
- How to Facilitate Alignment (mgrush.com/blog)
- Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life (mgrush.com/blog)
- How To Honor and Recognize Diversity, Ensuring Meeting and Workshop Inclusiveness (mgrush.com/blog)
- Responsibility Matrix, Agenda Design, and Parking Lot Management (mgrush.com/blog)
- Considerations on How to Facilitate between Europeans and Asians (mgrush.com/blog)