Be sure to cater for different roles, perspectives, and levels of understanding or familiarity with the topic at hand.
Did you consider neurodiversity?
What’s the difference between an extrovert and an introvert?
Do my sessions cater for all learning styles?
Is the language accessible for a diverse audience?
Doing so makes sure to create a psychologically safe environment for all and lower the barrier to participate.
Another easy tip is to ask people to keep their microphone off mute throughout the meeting (unless they have crazy background noise). Like this you remove the extra click they need to make to speak up.
Tools: Sending out a manual before hand, experiment with new tools (blank canvas), Tally Trick**, Nominating, Turn Taking, Psychological safety, digital expressions such as emoji reactions, brainstorming exercise such as 1-2-4-All
Ps. Everyone has a different way of looking at things, be sensitive to it.
🤲 STAGE 3: CONTRIBUTING
In the third stage, the participants are building on each other's ideas and capabilities. They actively support and contribute to the group by engaging with one another and the content. They are aware of the strengths and needs of others. They can create things together in pairs or in groups. They are embracing the common rules and care for the group balance.
Example: If you’re hosting an online conversation format such as the fishbowl the participants will move through the conversation with fluidity. They are actively listening to the group. There is an appreciation of diversity of opinions and inputs, aware of the importance of group think and effect on creative outcomes. This is the stage that you can really introduce in-depth co-creation and collaboration tools with comfort.
How to engage with them?
Very important to build up on the safe space and rely on the rules, commitment agreed upon as a group. Here you can dig deeper with the participants and ask questions.
Tools: checking-in on the social contract or online etiquettes are key for conflict resolution. Additionally giving them the right tools (Mentimeter, mural, miro…) to facilitate interactions in the most efficient and engaging way possible, active listening, questioning technique or the troïka consultancy.
🤹🏻♀️ STAGE 4: LEADING
The final stage. Switching role from participant to facilitator and fostering interactions in the group. Individuals are conscious of the fluidity of their role. In this stage the participants may make suggestions to the facilitator and/or group, to head in a certain direction or try out an approach or exercise. In this way they proactively take part in the decision making - shaping and influencing the group interaction and collaboration. When in this leading role the participants are role modelling and inviting others to follow their paths. They are initiators, proposing new ideas or concepts to improve the session. Of course they don’t do it all at the same time, they are conscious of when to step in and out of this role. They are confident in their own facilitation practice and know how and when to make use of their superpower. It’s less about them than about making space for others. The group communication and flow feels very fluid.
Example) Sam: “I know a brainstorming exercise that will help us come up with crazy ideas” You: “Awesome Sam, take it away! Can you take 15 minutes now to lead us through it?”
Example of questions to ask the group:
We are running out of time, do you prefer to continue this or move on?
We have a couple of options here, we can either do this or that, what’s preferred?
How to engage with them?
Recognize their propositions and give space for their individualities. You can build on them.. Allow space for Q&A and reflection, so that you can adjust the process based on their insights (if needed). This is related to power distribution in conversation design and the ability to let go of control and go with the flow. Extremely experienced facilitators will be able to move in this direction with a group (when trust is built). To dive deeper into this, check the Deep Democracy Lewis methodology. As a facilitator it helps you include the alternative voices in the decision making.
Congrats, you’ve reached the top of the pyramid and led your group with success! 👏
Now that you know the pyramid well, here are some practical tips on when to use it:
While working on the design of your session, think of implementing the interactions: How can you build up the engagement through the gradual implementation of minor and major moments of interactions?
During the session it is your role as a facilitator to understand the group and individual dynamics happening and push the group forward towards the highest level of engagement. It’s a technical dance to move and influence the different engagement flows while offering a unified experience to all.
Does the challenge make you feel anxious? Or excited? a bit of both maybe #anxcited? That’s okay. As Christopher Emdin said in his Ted Talk on ‘Teach teachers how to create magic’ “Anyone can learn to cultivate the magic of engagement.” 🧙🏽♂️
If it is not brought up by the participants, add the criteria of confidentiality -- that what is shared by individuals during this process is not to be shared outside of the space.
*You can read more about the on engagement pyramid here: https://www.the-vital-edge.com/engagement-pyramid/
**Curious what these facilitation techniques are? Go on to explore them here on Facilipedia, attend one of our Facilitators Mischief Meets sessions or ask our team via firstname.lastname@example.org