With this book, you will learn how to:.
Designing the Conversation: Techniques for Successful Facilitation
Designing the Conversation : Techniques for Successful Facilitation. Russ Unger , Brad Nunnally. Define the Whys. Preparing for Personalities.
His workshops have been attended by a variety of companies, from lean startups to large corporations. Since he has helped many companies incorporate user experience strategies and tactics into their designs.
But establishing them as part of the social contract upfront provides a little confidence boost. Parking lots are a great mechanism for tabling conversations that are important-but-off-topic, or dive too deep for the full group. The simple act of capturing these in writing so they can be continued later at a more appropriate time gives comfort to people who are passionate about them. Or cordon off a section of the whiteboard.
Make sure to refer back to the parking lot at the end of the day to determine which if any topics you should follow up on, and which can be closed. The cost of the venue rental and food pale in comparison to the cost in staff time and the opportunity cost of being off-site instead of doing your regular work back at the office.
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Best to make the time you spend on this meeting worthwhile. The real value of offsite meetings is getting people to exchange ideas in real time and the creative thinking that results from it. Avoid spending wasting time-consuming information as a group. No hour-long presentations or document reviews, please. That sort of thing should be pre-offsite homework, or in the case of presentations, be done at the office beforehand. Listen for assumptions and hidden questions in what people are saying. Is there a root-level notion that could be challenged? Or if not challenged, clarified? I find it helps to determine the DACI for each decision you take on.
You knew this was coming, right? Which means your offsite meeting is less effective than it could otherwise have been.
Not everyone uses their voice in the moment, but everyone has something to add. A good offsite facilitator creates space for different people to use their voice in different ways. Second, ask dominating voices to make space for, and listen to, others.
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- Designing The Conversation: Techniques For Successful Facilitation (Voices That Matter).
- How to facilitate your best offsite meeting ever.
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Especially for new facilitators. Another reason establishing the social contract and your role as facilitator up front is helpful.
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Quite often, the dominating voices come from the senior people in the group. Giving them a heads-up in advance that you want to get others to speak before them whenever possible can really set an inclusive tone for the whole offsite. And asking them to frame statements as questions will bring others into the discussion and challenge their view. That covers your classic quiet, and vocal, types.
To give them a voice on the day of the offsite, when it makes the biggest impact, design some iterative thinking exercises. All work and no play makes your offsite a dull day. But play it smart.
A round of Human Rock Paper Scissors, or business jargon charades, or a silly walks contest is usually enough to break the monotony and re-lubricate the brain. Humans need psychological safety almost as much as we need air. More than experience level, more than diversity, more than efficiency. Humans also need to be outside their comfort zone in order for real growth to take place.
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And therein lies the rub. Your job is to balance those needs against each other. To create a space for divergent thought where new ideas emerge and assumptions are challenged and all voices are heard. Coaxing a group to dance between safety and uncertainty is an art form.
Try a few of these tactics next time you facilitate an offsite meeting — or any meeting, for that matter. With the right activities and the right focus on the human element, your offsite can be a smashing success. Skip to content Offsite meetings can just as easily be loathed as loved.