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Global Flipchart #14


January 2019
| Global Flipchart #14

Yes, and! How to pitch facilitation

by Anja Ebers

We all have been there – You’re a ... facili -what?! -: the potentially awkward two minutes with someone who never consciously experienced a facilitated session.

At a a facilitators’ meetup we playfully re-enacted & explored our elevator pitches to someone new to the art & practice of facilitation. Here is what we found out:

  • Engage in a conversation
    True to a facilitator’s stance, our „pitch“ is participatory. It’s more of a conversation as opposed to a monologue.
  • Do not correct them
    They haven’t experienced a facilitated session yet so they try to place facilitation into a category they know. Rather acknowledge their categorization and add further perspective.
  • Follow a „yes! .. and: “ approach
    If they identify it as moderation, accept it and add the parts that might be missing coming from your stance – don’t try to teach them the differences between facilitation and moderation, mediation, meeting design, teaching or whatever they come up with.
  • Facilitate imagination
    Engage in an exploration of what we can offer by mentally travelling into a group situation they are familiar with. E.g. by asking: „Have you ever experienced a meeting where not everyone present was fully engaged?“.
  • Look out for and use metaphors
    If they are framing their group situation as something metaphorical, work with it. Some might bring up a picture of a circus that lacks an animal tamer. In order to highlight that facilitation is more than taming a group you could say „what if you decide that a circus performance is not the best thing you can do together? I would be the one creating and  holding the space you want to collaborate in“.
  • Highlight what is important to you
    Once you got a feel for their typical group situation, you can highlight what you try to bring to the world by your work. Potential prompts to highlight what you want to bring to the world by your work:
    • Fr me, it’s important that a group ...
    • I make a pint of ...
    • I have a knack fr...
    • What I bserve groups lacking is...
    • I keep an eye n ...
  • Have your 8-9 word purpose statement ready*
    It’s helpful to have a clear mission statement ready for these kinds of conversation – even if you don’t cite it word by word, it will help you focus on what you want to bring to the world.

Hope these findings help you pitch the great work you’re doing!


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