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Episode 138

November 10th, 2021

138: Facilitating Authentic Relations with Peter Menthe-Kaas

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    Urban planning is the discipline of creating shared, public spaces. It could easily be mistaken for large-scale facilitation by design!

    Peter Munthe-Kaas can speak confidently for both disciplines, as a seasoned urban planner turned facilitator. He has such a unique perspective on what it means to create a beautiful, shared space and the missteps we can take in designing collaborative, communal experiences. I am so grateful that he was willing to share this perspective with me and the workshops work audience.

    In our conversation, we explored the friction between safety and vulnerability, trust and openness, and design and environment. In an episode that was full of opposites and challenges, Peter navigated the discussion with balance, curiosity, and insight.

    Find out about

    • Why Peter has gradually come to depend more on depth and space, than tools and processes
    • How ‘naming’ our current state gives us permission to be present, rather than looking ahead
    • The parallels between urban planning and facilitation – two disciplines that are about people, before anything else
    • What it means to practice ‘invitation’ in a workshop and how we can lead the group by example
    • Why stepping back from a group in flow is an act of true facilitation
    • How Peter harnesses curiosity to bring his groups together

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    Questions and Answers

    01:02When did you start calling yourself a facilitator? 01:57What key skills have crystallised for you over the last 20 years? 03:20What do you mean when you talk about tools and environments? 05:25Can you share a little about your previous life in urban planning – and how it impacts your work now? 08:41What can you do to break the atmosphere in a room and replace it with an inviting or experiential one? 10:40Are there differences between urban spaces and the room in which a workshop is held? 15:53Is it enough to just create a beautiful space, or do we need to commit to improving the conditions within that space? 19:31How do you translate your expertise in urban planning into the facilitation work you do today? 23:06Is there a risk in showing too much vulnerability – can it break trust in your authority? 25:57How can we move past the illusion of agreement? 30:06What can ‘naming the current state’ bring up in a group? 32:17How do you know if/when to go deeper with a group? 36:35Can you ask a positive, free-flowing group to consider what friction or discomfort sits in the environment? 41:18What makes a workshop fail? 48:09Do you have a favourite exercise or process? 58:39Is there anything you wanted to bring to this conversation that we haven’t yet discussed? 01:01:44How could the community support you with your mission?

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