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087: Facilitation is about being in service with Jay Melone

Trying to be right is the endpoint of any conversation

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Intro

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.

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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?

Links:

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