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Educate: Tips for using ToP Methods

Bite sized insights from masters in the use of ToP Methods.

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

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

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

Working Assumptions for Creating a Positive Atmosphere

Creating a Positive Atmosphere by Sharing Working Assumptions Many years ago, I was asked to facilitate a planning retreat with a group that had taken 3 years to build enough consensus to have a consensus-building retreat. I knew this group might be challenging, so I took a long time to think through what I thought

Promoting Culturally Respectful Communication

Culturally Respectful Communication From the workshop on Facilitating Reconciliation between Settlers and Indigenous People at the IAFNAC Conference in Ottawa, May 2018 These ideas came from a group of 20 people, indigenous and settlers, Canadian and American, as well as several other nationalities, all of whom answered the question: What can we do as facilitators

Tips for Effective Project Management Part 2

Last month we started our discussion on Tips for Effective Project Management,  focusing on the importance of Defining the Scope of Work, Designing a Meaningful Contract, Creating a Practical Schedule of Events and Defining A Positive Working Relationship. In this edition of the newsletter, we continue our discussion by bringing focus to the importance of

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