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Episode 155

March 9th, 2022

155:Facilitating and Moderating Audio-only Rooms with Leanne Hughes

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    We communicate with our words, our bodies, our facial expressions, our posture, our movements, and much more.

    So, what happens if a workshop is reduced to voices and nothing else?

    Are disagreements more likely? Does the structure change? How can we facilitate collaboration when most of our communicative senses are dulled?

    If there’s anyone to answer these complex questions, it’s Leanne Hughes! As the host of the First Time Facilitator podcast, a coach and guide to many facilitators, and a serial experimenter; Leanne knows a lot about exploring new ways to connect and facilitate.

    Enjoy this episode as we discuss everything from the technical logistics of audio-only facilitation to the deeper challenges of how we communicate.

    Find out about

    • What changes and what stays the same when we facilitate audio-only conversations
    • Why there are more ‘hidden cultures’ to watch out for in audio-only spaces
    • How to double down on the principles of good facilitation and succeed without visual cues
    • How the structure of the room changes – and how you need to respond
    • What it might mean if participants choose to keep their camera off
    • Why avoiding the ‘expertise bubble’ will help you appreciate your skills and progress

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    Thanks to our sponsor Deckhive. Click here to find out more about the new platform for using card decks in online facilitation. Use the code workshopswork to get the first month for free.

    Questions and Answers

    01:39When did you start calling yourself a facilitator – and do you still? 06:50 What’s your line between scripting and preparing for a workshop? 12:03What comes after being a facilitator? 14:03What is it about the word ‘facilitator’ that turns CEOs off working together? 18:04Discussing ‘filter bubbles’ and overexposure to subject expertise. 20:19How do we cope when body language is taken away? 24:20Discussing Coffee Chat and how we use it in NDB. 26:27What makes a successful audio-only space? 28:36How can we set boundaries around interruptions and taking up space when participants join at all times? 30:09 What clues do we follow to understand the tone and expectations? 01:16 Are there different rules at play in different platforms? 05:16 Can audio-only conversations teach us to be better listeners? 08:10 Do you think you’ve become better at guiding conversations? 12:06Deciding who has responsibility for psychological safety and progress. 17:18Debating cameras on vs. cameras off. 20:23What makes a workshop fail? 20:51Do you need more rigidity in a voice-only session? 22:23Is a need for more rigidity tied to ‘keeping the promise’ of your audio space? 24:07Is it really possible to have a ’round the world’ conversation in a room of 100+? 29:10What would be your advice to new facilitators and established facilitators?


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