Guy W. Wallace’s PACT Facilitation Guidelines: # 7 – Write It Down and Then Discuss It.
I call these “The 12 Rules and Guidelines of Proactive/Confrontational Facilitation for the PACT Processes for T&D.”
7. Write It Down and Then Discuss It.
8. Use Humor.
9. Control the Process and the Participants.
10. Be Legible on the Flip Chart.
11. Beware of Group-Think.
12. Assign Parking Lot Valets.
The 7th of these is covered in more detail in the following text.
Read them. Think about them, reflect on when/ where/ what you’ve experienced about the topics/methods. Use them. As appropriate. One size does not fit all.
7. Write It Down and Then Discuss It
One of my first rules or guidelines to new facilitators is: Write down the first thing that someone says!
Why this ended up 7th on the list? – I don’t recall.
Turn words “floating in the air” into something black and white (depending, of course, on your paper and pen color).
This almost always forces a reaction from the remaining members of the group you are facilitating. At least they can focus on the words you wrote down – versus their “cognitive take-away” from what they recall you saying. They now have a prayer.
I always tell the group that this is exactly what I’m going to do.
If someone will be so brave as to volunteer a response to my question or statement, I’ll write it down to prompt their reaction. Either it stays, or someone takes exception to it and the group dialogue begins. Do we have a consensus or not?
Until I write it down, I’m not always sure. It’s the reaction of the group, verbally or nonverbally (those clues and cues again), that tell me.
I tell the group that today they are on the payroll to provide the inputs according to my process. They own the content, I own the process. And it is up to them to make sure that I capture their consensus accurately.
They should all be okay with not being in total agreement, and they must be okay with questioning and challenging each other. We are usually in a hurry and need to accomplish plenty, and time is a wastin’.
The best way to keep the process moving is to seek what you’re looking for, write down the first response, and then ask for group confirmation, questions, comments, and concerns.
If the facilitator asks and then does nothing with the response, he or she seems to be waiting for the “correct answer.”
That tends to inhibit the free flow of responses that you may be seeking. I always write the response down, unless it is so wrong that I don’t want to overly embarrass the individual who volunteered the wrong stuff. Then I rephrase my question so drastically, or shift gears and go into something that I may have forgotten, or fake forgetting something – and then ask again usually with an example or two of what I’m looking for.
Or more simply, “let me rephrase that.”
Of course some may know exactly what I’ve done and will usually appreciate it. They bet that if they make a similar faux pas, I’ll help save their face, too. This fear-reduction technique is especially important when the group being facilitated is not totally comfortable with each other.
Again, this is not passive facilitation, which might be the appropriate route to take for your assignment. This is aggressive, confrontational, proactive facilitation. This is the quickest route to getting the most data out of a group process. You need to decide the appropriateness of this method for your needs and for your personality style.
Again, it always depends. Sorry.
In the future we’ll cover the remaining 5 rules/guidelines one-by-one!
– Sourced and edited/embellished from Appendices C of: “lean-ISD” – a book by Guy W. Wallace – available as a free 404 page PDF at http://www.eppic.biz/
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