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Expanded Descriptions of the ToP Focused Conversation Method

Brief description The ToP focused conversation method helps people reflect together on any subject. It has been used in a wide variety of situations, ranging all the way from finding the core idea for a marketing strategy to discussing the meaning and personal implications of a movie, a painting or a novel. A series of

Origins of the Focused Conversation Method

The Origins of the Focused Conversation Method, excerpted from Getting to the Bottom of ToP, by Wayne and Jo Nelson From Chapter 2: As a body of knowledge, the Technology of Participation (ToP) is applied phenomenology, or what has been called a “phenomenology of practice” or “experiential phenomenology.” Since its inception and because of its

Right on Time

Right on Time When people come to a facilitated event, they are making a significant contribution of their time and energy.  Skilled facilitators honour the time available and make good use of it, managing time effectively in several ways. Schedule for participants Facilitators honour the real lives of participants by scheduling events when people can

Using Space Effectively

Using Space Effectively The physical atmosphere for facilitated events is as crucial as using sound facilitation methods and techniques. Ensuring an Appropriate Space First, the space needs to be appropriate for the event.  A small space, for example, might make participants feel cramped and uneasy, while a large space can make people feel their effort

Using Multiple Intelligences in Facilitation

Eliciting Creativity through Using Multiple Intellligences in Facilitation   Above is a graphic representation of nine intelligences identified by Howard Gardner, with a tiny summary of what each is about. Howard Gardner[1] at first identified seven intelligences (starting at 11 o’clock and moving clockwise in this image), and then broadened his work to include two

Some Open-Ended Questions to Catalyze Connections at Holiday Events

Holiday get-togethers can be lots of fun, and they can also be events where there are people on the sidelines, feeling lonely and left out.  The “meet and greet” part of a party can be excruciating for some people. Years ago I discovered that when I was feeling left out, the best solution was to

Facilitation and Lean – What Do They Have in Common?

Helen Break, CPF, CTF As a CPF and a CTF who is currently involved in Lean Green Belt training, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of common elements between professional facilitation and the application of Lean, which engages people to eliminate waste and improve customer service.  What follows is a sampling of what

Adapting your Facilitation Plan to the Needs of the Group

Robin Parsons had to adapt a facilitation plan several times to the evolving needs of her group, which resulted in transformational change for the group. Here is her story: In December 2017, I was working with a group (through my consulting client) that was coming together to explore a process. I had the opportunity to

Planning an Agenda Item

This process is specifically designed for planning one agenda item:  however, the basic structure can work for a whole meeting as well, adding in more tools for each stage. The basic structure follows the ORID thinking process to develop clarity, insight, and consensus. A worksheet is available in our Meetings that Work course. Articulate the

Focused Conversation for Resolving a Dispute

This focused conversation for resolving a dispute is not intended to be used "as is".  It is a template to allow you to create your own questions, using the flow.  However, one of our colleagues, faced with a client's long-standing dispute and no time to prepare, used it right from the page and his client

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