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ASK, NOT TELL

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What is your facilitation style?

Updated: Mar 5

Last week, I was in Singapore attending a 5-day management training. There was a facilitator from Indonesia with his own unique style which inspires me quite a lot!! In terms of behaviour, the followings are what he did and what insights I got:

Speaks very slowly and clearly - There is no 'hm', 'er' or anything like that. And he has a lot of pause + eye contact. This makes his message very clear, and compelling in making people to think. When he asked a question and then stared at you, it seems that there is nowhere you can hide. You got to think and answer the question. When I compare him to other speakers I can remember, I feel that I retain more from what he said. In some senses, simply because it is not too many words from his mouth, it is easier to retain.

I should speak more slowly in order to let the message really passing across. Allow myself to take time to pause to think, but at the same time maintain strong eye contact to engage people. In addition, pause longer after each message so that the message can be internalized;

Training as time for self-reflection - He shared that training can be powerful simply by being a space for self-reflection. And the topics can be simple and basic as 'What are the things which I should do but I have not done?', '˜Why don't we do (anything important to leadership e.g. communication) as we should be?'. And the facilitator's jobs are to bring out the issue by activity, direct the debrief to the desired areas, ask clear question to compel them to think and then more importantly SHUT UP... let them talk!!

I should remind myself more that (management) training is more about making people to think. All we do in the class e.g. activity, should be cater for this purpose.

Being 'impolite' - When needed, he would choose to be direct rather than subtle. Once, he asked whether we wanted him to be a 'child' or 'adult'. He said, 'child' meaning 'honest but impolite', whilst 'adult' meaning 'dishonest but polite'. If you want people to think, you often have to ask unpopular questions e.g. 'Please raise your hand if you do not think you need any improvement in presentation skills.'

Observing what this facilitator did make me see the power of being direct, especially if you want people to reflect (see previous point.)


Other than learning from this facilitator, there are some others from the another equally-powerful facilitator. Will share with you soon!! Probably after my upcoming trip to Shenzhen this week!!

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