Skip to content

087: Facilitation is about being in service with Jay Melone

Trying to be right is the endpoint of any conversation

Access the highlights of episode 087

Save yourself time and download my one-page summary of the episode instead of making your own notes.


Great facilitators aren't always subject matter experts. In fact, they may know very little about the workshop's topic. A successful facilitator acts in service of others and knows when to lead from the back, as well as from the front.

Jay Melone believes that being a great facilitator requires a unique mindset. He stresses that to be a good facilitator, you must practice curiosity, patience and leave your concerns about being the expert behind. After meeting Jay earlier this year, I couldn't wait to talk to him about his approach to facilitating, both as an expert in the field and as a "shy extrovert".

Jay is the Founder and Principal Facilitator at New Haircut, an innovation strategy firm. He shared many thoughtful insights into a facilitator's role and how you can effectively lead a group, even if you're not comfortable being the centre of attention. I hope this episode inspires you to step outside of your comfort zone and facilitate with confidence.

Find out about:

  • Why being curious makes a great facilitator
  • The difference between an expert and a facilitator
  • Why people are now willing to prepare for workshops ahead of time
  • How to leverage your personality type as a facilitator
  • How to design an agenda for measurable workshop success
  • Why Jay encourages everyone to step out of their comfort zones
  • How to trust your workshop’s design

Meet Jay Melone and other guests at the NeverDoneBefore Facilitation Festival on November 20th, 2020.

Don't miss the next show: sign up to my newsletter and subscribe to the show through your podcast player.

Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own - take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

Questions and Answers

[01:28] – When did you start calling yourself a facilitator?

[02:27] – What makes a good facilitator

[06:15] – To what extent is a facilitator a mix between a journalist and an engineer?

[09:40] – What is your experience placing yourself as a facilitator? Do you facilitate from the centre of the conversation or from the side?

[20:01] – What did you learn about being a participant in an 1,800 person workshop?

[21:36] – Do you think it's easier or more difficult for an introvert, or shy facilitator, to guide groups online versus on-site?

[28:42] – What would you advise aspiring facilitators who think they’re too shy to be a good facilitator?

[34:56] – What makes a workshop fail?

[36:06] – How do you know when your workshop is failing due to a design problem or an external problem caused by the group?

[44:01] – What is your favourite exercise?

[48:35] – How do you trust yourself to lead your team?

[52:51] – What is the main takeaway from our conversation?


Connect to Jay Melone:

Scroll To Top