27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Secrets of Facilitation: The S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Getting Results With Groups (Hardcover)
The Secrets of Facilitation delivered success for me at a recent series of conferences. My primary role on the day was to open the conference and engage delegates in thinking about the future and formulating questions, and observations to put to various speakers throughout the day. Thereafter my role was to facilitate the question and answer sessions and generally keep the conference moving along. Getting the opening right was crucial to the success of the day.
The first 2 conferences were deemed to be successful but I knew that although the level of participation was reasonable it could be better, with more questions and more people asking them from the floor. Also I felt, due to the uncertainties of change I hadn't managed to create the rapport and warmth in the room I would have liked. By the end of the day it was still a little frosty!
Prior to the third Conference I had ordered and received the "Secrets of Facilitation". The book arrived on the Monday,two days before the last conference. I read it Monday evening and Tuesday in readiness for the third conference on Wednesday. My motivation - were there any secrets I could apply to improve my opening pitch, generate more involvement and more questions. By Tuesday afternoon I had read the book and my attention was focussed on chapters 2 and 4 The Secrets to Questioning and the The Secrets to Starting - and to some extent on chapter 3 the Secrets to Preparing. I also had in mind PeDeQs for my direction giving and Secret 27 (the Secret to Q&A Sessions). Late Tuesday afternoon I rewrote and replanned my opening to better focus it around the IEEI outline and set up the participation for Q&A by following the steps outlined in secret 27.
I applied the Secrets on Wednesday morning at the 3rd Conference and noted the reactions. The opening flowed better and a greater level of rapport was achieved. The opening also established greater involvement and participation in the pre-questioning process and sequence. During the Q&A more questions were asked than at the other 2 conferences - and these kept coming throughout the day. The PeDeQs sequence for giving directions also improved understanding and execution of activities throughout the day.
I might be biased, but at the end of the day I felt the mood of delegates was not as frosty as the other 2 conferences, and subsequent analysis of conference evaluations showed that, in comparison to the other two conferences, we had improved on all our ratings. The client also thought that this had been the best of the 3 conferences. Of course, I could put this improvement down to familiarity with the conference process (it was the third one, after all) - but I don't think so. I had made sufficient changes, (based on my reading of "the Secrets of Facilitation") to the way I facilitated the third conference to know that these changes - some process, some change in words and/or emphasis had made the difference.
As I sit here and reflect on all 3 conferences, I would also like to make the point that had we really followed the 5 Ps of Preparation with the client - putting together the Conference Agenda would have been easier, and if we had focussed on probable issues to a greater extent than we did I am convinced our Conference Process would also have been different.
So overall, I have had a great learning opportunity and experience helped in no small measure by Michael's book - the book really does deliver!