Loss Art of Elocution–Learn the 5 Critical Elements to Make better Audience Connections

Learning to be comfortable with strangers and friends alike means understanding and using the basics of effective communications. To differentiate yourself it is important for you to understand and practice elocution techniques which now are called body language or non-verbal communications. Unfortunately and over time elocution techniques which are more that good non-verbals are not being taught to most public speakers.


Pronunciation: (el”u-kyOO‘shun), [key]
1. a person’s manner of speaking or reading aloud in public: The actor’s elocution is faultless.
2. the study and practice of oral delivery, including the control of both voice and gesture

Natural Expression of Thought by Speech and Gesture.

Natural tones are the tones of truth and honesty, of good sense and good taste. It is with them only that the understanding is successfully addressed; with them only that we can arouse and keep awake the intelligence of the listener, which is the object we always have in view, whether we speak our own language or that of another.

Critical Elements of elocution

  1. Attitude
  2. Speech Patterns
  3. Posture
  4. Hand Gestures
  5. Eyes Focus and Contact

Attitude or Mental Schema/Set

  • You are among friends who want you to succeed.
  • You are prepared.
  • You have covered every base.
  • You will survive.
  • It cannot be as bad as you expect!

Speech Patterns

 Use up and down inflection and eliminate sing song and monotone

Pick words you can pronounce—use common language to connect with audience

Punctuation is there for a purpose—pause

Raise your tone slightly

 Natural Posture

Stand up straight –right foot forward; feet 12 inches apart

Stand on your own two feet

Choose your space—and build a triangle for movement

Take a deep breath

Relax and use 10 second relaxation technique

Hand Gestures

An extension of posture and eye contact

Adds emphasis

Must not be distracting—be natural

To use gestures you cannot have other things in your hands

Practice, practice and practice

Rules to Present By–

Find a friendly face or someone to whom you just talked too before the meeting

  • Use the one person one idea method for connecting. Eye contact needs to be about 3 seconds per person, then move on to someone else
  • Create a positive and supportive connection by smiling
  • Build rapport and reinforce openness and flexibility during the speech
  • Practice the Rule of Five:Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  • Eliminate fill speech. Just pause and take a deep breath before speaking.

Improving Meaningless Meetings- Learn to Establish Norms and Improve Collaborative Skills

Part I Team Development–Unlocking The Power of Team Norms and Collaborative Communication Skills To eliminate Toxic meetings 

Team norms represent the behavior expectations that support the core concepts of trust, sharing, belonging and respect and cooperation. Collaborative skills are the specific ways in which team members are expected to behave in order to achieve accepted norms and ways to productively work together. After team norms have been developed, collaborative skills are assessed, prioritized and taught.

Collaboration Team Communication Skills and Norms 

Team norms represent the behavior expectations that support the core concepts of trust, sharing, belonging and respect and cooperation. Collaborative skills are the specific ways in which team members are expected to behave in order to achieve accepted norms and ways to productively work together. After team norms have been developed, collaborative skills are assessed, prioritized and learned the team is better equipped to discuss, share, problem solve and brainstorm opportunities for taking the next steps forward through constructive action. 

Over my 30 +  years of facilitation and team projects and discussions, I have developed a growing and non-exhaustive list of collaborative skills that are supportive of effective and productive team interaction, efficiency and effectiveness.

Here is the list of behavior and possible norms to review:

Ask questions, Actively listen for understanding-Start a conversation-Ask for help-Ask a favor – Cooperate by joining-in an activity Be engaged Pay attention-Accept feedback Accept criticism Apologize-Give a compliment-Make others feel important-Follow suggestions or directions Say Thank you Acknowledge others effort-Say Yes-Say No Accept situations Give-up control- Say you don’t know- Clarify Summarize-Restate- Reflect other people’s feelings State and own your feelings and emotions Show empathy-Know and recognize feelings- Be observant Be open to negotiate-Express sympathy and sadness for others –Own your feelings and actions-Take time-outs to cool down- Ignore distractions- Take turns speaking and listening- Take responsibility and accountability for actions-Remind others to be flex and open to other view points- Play devil’s advocate-Influence and convince others with strong factual arguments-Deal with Other’s overreactions and anger – Deal with fear and anxiety – Stand-up for your rights- Be assertive- Respond and accept teasing or sarcastic put-downs- Deal with failures and embarrassments- Learn to problem solve and complete in-completions- Don’t run away from unresolved conflicts- Set priorities for action. 

Potential Uses for using the list for Team Development:

1. To assess a team’s readiness for problem solving and opportunity finding.

2. To evaluate a team meeting session from the point of view of satisfaction with the interaction

3. To measure a team’s group stage for effectiveness.

4. For identifying skill areas for team training and development in collaborative and supportive behaviors.

5. Efficiency of team’s ability to maximize time management.


Part I: Improving Meeting Dynamics and Productivity–Learn the three Critical Needs of Groups.

Part I: Improving Meeting Dynamics: Identifying and understanding  3 categories of team meeting needs — Task, Individual, and Group Maintenance Needs.

It’s Sunday evening, and you settle down to watch tennis , football or hot melodramatic detective show and then start to think about the mandatory Monday morning sales and operation meeting.  The agenda has been send out on Friday and everyone has had an opportunity to contribute to the agenda. So why as you ponder this meeting does dread rise up and you stomach start to grumble? Let’s review the group dynamic that states when a group of people get together, there are several kinds of things that need attention, different kinds of need. There are three principal kinds of need or categories which are important to understand when operating within a group environment.

These three needs are:

1. task needs–the group has a job to do

2. individual needs–every individual because of their uniqueness may have different needs that need to be met, such as recognition, control or status.

3. group or team maintenance needs–this is the need of the group as whole to maintain, support and work for corporate cohesion and accomplishment of team goals.

This last team process of group maintenance needs is one element that many team leaders and groups overlook in managing and conducting meetings. This element is called the “maintenance function” because it tries to prevent problems and issues that will reduce the ability of the group to work in an efficient and effect manner to produce desired results.  This 3rd element is difficult to to define because we spent so much time and are so familiar with the other critical group element the “task function.”  So for the remainder of this post I will explain why this element of group maintenance is the most important element for you as a manager or facilitator to understand.   The “maintenance function” is a soft skill need of members to identify and share how they feel about the process elements of the meeting, like agenda building, how to arrive at consensus, and other ways the group works together to build trust, set guidelines for interaction and how the group can continually improve their communication skills and problem solving. Although the feelings about working together start with individuals I have found that the group as whole has a need to maintain and enrich its own identity through openness of discussions, sharing of view points and feelings, and working for cooperation and cohesiveness in decision making and planning.

In part 2 the next post, we will look in more detail at the Task and Individual needs of group members how these needs impact the roles and effectiveness of team meetings.

Daily Quote and Reflection by Bill Bradley-Synergistic Teamwork Formula 1+1 =3

Daily Quote: Bill Bradley, a great basket ball player for the New York Nicks and US Senator, once summarized teamwork saying, “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it.”  

Reflection: Following his thoughts, I feel will help you go along way to building a truly effective and transforming team. You will address employees’ needs to feel valued and respected by creating the climate for trust and support of a synergistic team being able to accomplish more than they could by themselves. I call this the Synergistic Team Effect.

Self-Coaching Challenge: 

Identifying the obstacles that block your team from being more synergistic. Once identify use the Smart-Step model or Plus 1 Principle to help open up constructive dialogue to see if your team can problem solve on how to eliminate these barriers.

Want to be a Thought Leader? Learn Facilitation Skills for Virtual Meetings

Overview and Role Issues for Thought Leader and Facilitator

In virtual meetings it is critical for the facilitator to play the role of initiator, information giver and seeker so as to keep the discussion on topic. Facilitators help the group to not lose sight of the overall goals of the program. They present issues, share opinions, and discuss practice concerns and challenges. Their main goal is to influence participant’s thinking and practices.  A facilitator can bring an intensified focus that increases the energy of the group and an outside perspective that helps to re-instill effective group dynamics and focused communication techniques.  This can overcome complex obstacles or information overload.

Professionals and executives  are always facing hectic schedules and demanding workloads, the virtual meeting environment requires all the strengths you bring to a face to face meeting.  The more is high energy and a commitment you bring the more the participants are in engaged and learning. Drawing from a mix of communication, creativity, meeting management, and project management tools, your role as a facilitator can be particularly helpful in teasing out challenges and obstacles for change, resolving disagreements, and replacing deeply entrenched ways of doing things with new and creative practice behaviors that improve patient care and recovery.


During the session you will be asked to play two roles: thought leader and facilitator. In your thought leader role participants want you to provide new ideas and clinical tips that will improve their effectiveness. So you need to try and fulfill these expectations. How to execute as a “thought leader” and a “facilitator” include the following behaviors:


Thought Leader

  • Model the ability to listen closely, while at the same time assertively communicating the goals of the session.
  • Remain neutral and objective
  • Provide evidence and stories that support your point of view
  • Seek win/win solutions over “I am the expert” which creates tension and a potential win/lose learning atmosphere.


  • establish rules of the road—guidelines for how the team will operate
  • focus the group on the goals and expectations for the session
  • set the expectations early on for a successful session
  • keep all the participants engaged and involved
  • ask the obvious and even so called stupid questions (there are none)
  • record observations and feed back ideas and challenges to the participants
  • provide closure to sessions
  • appreciate the value of staying on time and finishing on time.

The thought leader and facilitator role enables you to take control and at the same time involve participants in the group session. If you are successful in the new combined roles, the session will move from a “tell and sell” lecture into an interactive discussion and peer-to-peer learning experience.


As with any consultant, facilitators have varying preferences, capabilities and approaches.

There are two distinct result orientations: producing results/task orientation (Goal Directed) versus improving group communication and learning process effectiveness (Process Directed).

Task or Goal Directed Facilitation

Sometimes a very specific task needs to be tackled in order to deliver a specific result, such as idea development, decision making, mission statements, or problem solving. A skilled facilitator can help the group focus on the task at hand and employ communication techniques (information providing, questioning etc.) that are effective in solving a particular task. Asking thought provoking questions, summarizing discussions, identifying and categorizing components, and root cause analysis are examples of specific task oriented group directed facilitation activities. Each technique is selected to support the group in delivering the needed results. Techniques can be combined or alternated to tackle even the most complex issues.

Process Directed Facilitation

These process techniques build the capacity to have meaningful dialogues that can lay the groundwork for interactive discussions and support changes in the behavior of participants. Facilitated discussions encourage critical thinking and exploration of ideas so that all assumptions and past practices can be reviewed and new learning can take place.


Facilitators need to possess basic skills to help a group communicate in an open and involved manner. Timely interventions are the key to you success. The tools we are focusing on will be active listening, questioning, and empathy.  Special tools and techniques are utilized to diagnose and address specific issues that face the group. The focus of this workshop is to improve your specific skills such as conflict resolution, reflection of feelings, and honest direct communication. Building interpersonal skills and dealing with problems that block adult learning can dramatically improve the overall productivity of the sessions.



Want to understand communication “Blind Spots” –Take the Presentation Style Index.

“Whatever strengthens and purifies thinking, ignites the imagination and adds knowledge  about who we are, is useful and necessary for individual growth. “ Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Presentation effectiveness is all about helping people learn how to connect and communicate with others, starting with ourselves.  Committing to self-understanding and awareness is challenging and risky.  No one else can do it for you.  There are many ways to find out more about your preferences, strengths and areas for improvement.  You can pay more attention to informal/formal feedback from others, access your core personality attributes, seek understanding through trying different life experiences and challenges and seek insight through assessment instruments like the Presentation Style Index (PSI).

Why do many of us know more about our favorite sports team or our next car, than who we are and how our communications are experienced by others? Generally, it is because we do not seek feedback.  We assume that what we have been doing brings us success so there is no need for improvement. This indicates that you might be living in denial, contentment, confusion or fear about learning how you come across to others.

Taking responsibility for our choices and being responsible for life is no small task.  This ownership begins with self-understanding.  In taking the Presentation Style Index (PSI) we encourage you to examine what you say and do.  This knowledge provides information to gauge your impact on others and then own the responsibility for changing those things needing improvement.  Many have said we develop our communication effectiveness by understanding our strengths and managing our weaknesses, so let’s get started on exploring and finding out that unique person –you, your presentation style and how it impacts others. Continue reading “Want to understand communication “Blind Spots” –Take the Presentation Style Index.”

Excellence in “sticky” presentations–Nail the Opening

“Excellence in presenting is not just informing or sharing technical knowledge. One must make a unique and emotional connection that rises above techniques or delivery style so that audience expectations are met and exceed” Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Your first task as a presenter is to set a positive and enthusiastic tone for the meeting. To accomplish this task of rapport building you need to introduced every participant and agree on some “rules of the road” for interacting. Llike, saying their names before making a comment and putting their cell phones on mute etc. Next briefly highlight the purpose for the meeting. For example, say: “The goal of the meeting today is to share and problem solve “best practices” for the Transplant Team to positively impact the recovery of patients. This beginning process needs to be completed within 90 -12o seconds of starting the meeting. If you start too slow or with low energy you can lose participants from the get-go.

Next you need to review and agree to the Agenda making sure it meets the participants expectations and needs for learning. You need to take this opportunity to hook and get commitment from the participants that what is going to be discussed is relevant to their needs. Practice delivering the Agenda with clarity and conciseness. Don’t go into  minute detail because you run the risk of losing the audience. This review needs to be done in about 30-45 seconds to be effective. Before moving forward ask the listening audience for input and commitment to go forward with the body of your presentation. After this brief discussion summarize the Agenda by saying the following: Our agenda now includes these three key points: First, I will review the key process components for success in the Transplant Recover process, Second, we will review the roles of key personnel in the process and how each role is linked to the healing process.And finally we will have Mary introduce the Case we will discuss and analyze for more key learnings in Transplant process. Finally, we will share key take away points that can make a difference in how we add value to the process by finding better ways to  connect and care for our patients.

Now let’s start with one of the key points I would you to take away from this discussion: ( This is called the learning “hook” or attention grabber). Continue reading “Excellence in “sticky” presentations–Nail the Opening”

Want to be a Credible and Sticky Leader or presenter- Learn the Law of Source Credibility.

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses. -Friedrich Nietzsche

Law of Source Credibility: Is an attitude of an audience member which references the degree to which a speaker (source) is seen as believable. If an audience member doesn’t think or perceive a presenter as believable, there is little reason for them to engage and listen to the presentation. The results of extensive research in Social Psychology suggest there are three critical components of presenter credibility and how to become a “sticker” presenter. These are trustworthiness, caring and competence.

1. Trustworthiness.

Credible leadership is trustworthy. Trustworthiness is the degree to which the presenter or leader is perceived as honest by others. We develop trust through open, honest communication. Presenter-Leaders need to be vulnerable and open to opposing ideas. The fear of being hurt often prohibits them from developing relationships that encourage trust and that reduces our influence on others. Trustworthiness is “the state of being able to count on another person’s words or deeds.

2. Caring or empathy. Caring means “understanding, support and fairness to others without judgment or agreement.”

  • Be sensitive to people’s needs and interests. Develop a genuine interest in people. Ask questions that show you care and demonstrate concern and understanding about their points of view, their needs and interests. Listen to the tones of their voices.
  • Foster a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.
  • The sensitive, effective presenter and leader knows he doesn’t have a corner on the truth or all the answers.
  • Effective leader-presenters see others’ perspectives. They sell the advantages of cooperation instead of demanding it.
  • Organized leaders plan their presentations and communication. They choose the right times and places to present their ideas clearly and concisely.

Credibility is the “reasonable grounds and behavior for being believed and trusted.” One who is credible is trustworthy. We have confidence in a person’s  caring and competence. Socrates said, “The first key to greatness is to be in reality what we appear to be.” In other words authentic and grounded in reality.

Leaders gain respect and trust when they do what is right, listen, support and care for others. celebrate excellence, follow through on commitments,  overcome personal weaknesses admit mistakes, advise others, solve problems creatively, and teach well.

How credible are you as leader-presenter? Next post I will discuss competence and it’s relationship to credibility.

Are your team meetings “Stuck” –Try this feedback exercise.

”A team is more than a collection of people. It is a process of give and take.”

Guidelines For: Constructive Feedback

  • Cover only behaviors over which the individual has some control
  • If the situation is not changeable, do not offer feedback
  • Refer to performance and be specific, not abstract
  • Specific behavior or outcomes rather than criticizing the person
  • Describe behavior on a continuum, for example, on a 1-10 scale–how high (10) or     low (1)  do you see  my need to control others and always be right
  • “More or less” – discuss highs and lows of performance
  • Focus on the sharing of ideas, listening and asking meaningful and challenging questions
  • An exploration of alternatives – if there are technical solutions of established     procedures, suggest as many as possible.

Team Exercise Instructions: Try this at your next team meeting .

  • Each team member writes one role clarification message to each team member.
  • The team members then exchange messages.
  • Each team member then reads their message and has an opportunity to ask for clarification.
  • Next, the message receiver responds to the message sender as to whether they can or will comply with the request.
  • The message sender and the message receiver then have an opportunity to negotiate expectations and reach agreement and commitment.
  • Finally, the message sender and message receiver draft an action plan outlining the agreed to tasks, responsibilities and completion dates.

An effective role clarification message needs to be:

  • Be specific and action oriented
  • Describe the help you need and the reason you need this help (the why)
  • Describe the action required from the other team members (the what)

Message Form-Use this form to capture and facilitate feedback-

To:  _____________________________________


From:  ___________________________________


In order to help me:

I need you to:

Do More:  ______________________________________________________________

Do Less:  ______________________________________________________________

Do the Same:  _____________________________________________________________



Part 1–Six Secrets for Creating “give and take” in Communicating

We cannot see our own reflection in running water…stay calm and breath deeply”. Wickism

Part 1 –Six keys for Creating a Supportive and Open Communication climate

There six important and critical skill sets require for being successful in communicating with others. The essence of communication is a “give and take” process. Being flexible and adaptable in using these skills make communication flow in an open two way exchange and reduce misunderstandings. What are these skills?

1. Responsive. Three of these skills are responsive and supportive in nature—Active listening, questioning, and empathy. These require the communicator to be in a receptive, non-judgmental and observing frame of mind. The result in using these skills is to move closer and connect better with whom you are communicating. Indeed these are understood by most of us as the essence of of open and responsive communication.

2.  Assertive. Three of these skills require a proactive, evaluative and risk-taking frame of mind-describing observations, structuring & directing conversation and drawing conclusions. These skills are assertive in nature. Assertive behavior requires the communicator to possess an open and flexible frame of mind and the ability to apply the right communication technique to the right situation.

Stay tuned more to come on next blog…

Want to improve Team Meetings-Learn these 3 Principles of Group Dynamics

“The basic principle of effective team dynamics is for the facilitator to promote the feeling that every human being is equal, unique and adds value for accomplishing the team’s goals.”  M.W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Three critical success factors of Group Dynamics

  1. Inclusion
  2. Control
  3. Openness

Inclusion- “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Dr.Stephen Covey 

Everyone wants to feel welcomed and part of the team. Since  your team meeting is a social and interpersonal interaction establishing early and strong connections with your members is critical for creating a positive climate. Begin to establish strong rapport before meeting begins.  One way I have found that is helpful is to welcome everyone with a one-on-one contact and check how their day has gone.Try asking questions such as, What are they ready to discuss? Are they preoccupied or cleared to go? Do they need time to re-focus before taking up the agenda?  As the meeting proceeds try to include and get comments from everyone around the table or on the phone. I find using the “go around” tool helpful in getting everyone involved from the beginning of the meeting.

Control–In the beginning, the designated leader is seen as the conductor of the orchestra. It is imperative that you accept this role. You can accomplish this by setting direction and structure for the meeting. Providing a clear road map for the meeting solves the issue of formal leadership for the the group.  In other words, inform members in a clear and concise way what the purpose and objectives are for the meeting and then check to see if this meets their expectations or do they have new items to ad to the agenda.  This practice involves and engages group members.  Also, acknowledge their experience and expertise. Request their input and contributions. Focus on learning from each other not just sitting and listening to the formal leader pontificate. Give the team choices on how to proceed and reminding them of the “ground rules” for interacting for having an effective and worthwhile conversation. Encourage challenges and request from the group in order to facilitate shared leadership and learning.

Openness–Is all about being non-defensive and authentic in responding to group members. As the group leader you need to model for members directness, caring and assertive style. You need to practice active listening using the power of clarifying points of view, paraphrasing to show understanding, and responding in a leveling and constructive manner that leads to more engagement and interaction. If members feel you are not leveling it will lead to fragmentation and divisiveness in the conversation. You must challenge the group to use their imagination and problem solving skills when discussing case studies and simulation activities. By being open you will teach the group to trust and work together in learning to solve problems and discover new ways to do things.

Next time you facilitate a meeting keep these principles in mind and I promise less frustration and more success in accomplishing the team’s goals.

12 Principles of Facilitation–#1 Remain “in Here and Now”

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  Coach Vince Lombardi

Principles of “here and now” communication form a bridge between values, insights, strategies and techniques to solve problems or create opportunities. Principles are those things we say and do that enable us to live aligned with the “here and now” and our values. In this case principles of facilitation help us realize our goals for more productive meetings. From my experience I have identified 12 critical Interaction Principles. They are as follows:

1. Remain in “here and now” and be neutral and unbiased: focus on group process and maintenance not always just content.

2. Be pragmatic and results focused: Plan and Engage participants to accomplish targeted goals and desired outcomes.

3. Plan before doing but be flexible in execution: Design the session and prepare for potential obstacles before the event, not during. If it happens during the event be quick on your feet to recognize audience needs. Don’t try to control everything and everyone.

4. Use Proper Models, Methods, Tools & Techniques: Select the appropriate methods & techniques for the group and situation. Don’t use gimmicks to persuade or give canned answers.

5. Understanding Group Dynamics and Individual Strengths: Understand the dynamics driving individuals and groups on multiple levels.

6. Encourage Participation: Engage participants by using a variety of interactive and participative tools and methods.

7. Collaboration in Decision Making: Build participant support by using dialogue, effective discussion, and testing for understanding and agreement.

8. Manage the learning Environment and Climate: The facilitator’s has the opportunity to create a safe environment for positive interaction while using structures and group dynamics and communication tools to create success.

10. Manage Conflict and Resistance: Understand and address resistance in appropriate ways. Conflict is very important for the team to grow. Conflict can not be ignored because it undermines trust and openness.

11. Seek and Use Feedback before, during and after the meeting: Feedback is crucial for content, process and outcome effectiveness

12. Monitor and Manage Yourself: Practice self-awareness and control of your strengths, preferred presentation, style and model appropriate behavior.

Keeping Meetings Alive–Use a facilitator and Set Rules for the Road

“Facilitators serve the needs of others by being respectful and concerned about creating a positive climate, keeping the meeting on agenda, and accomplishing agreed to goals.” Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Rules 4 the Road: Effective Facilitation Tips.

We developed a set of ground rules, based on the core values, which describe specific behaviors for effective group communication:

1.  Start with energy and enthusiasm

2.  Share all relevant and pertinent information.

3.  Focus on needs and interests, not persuading audience to particular “point of view”.

4.  Be concrete and specific rather than using generalizations—use relevant examples from your experience.

5.   Agree on agenda and how long meeting will last.

6.   Explain the reasons behind opinions and questions. Provide evidence based answers.

7.   Be assertive but caring in openly disagreeing with any member of the group.

8.   Make statements, and then invite questions.

9.   Jointly design ways to evaluate problems, disagreements and solutions.

10.  Discuss the difficult issues. Be honest leave the “spin” home.

11.  Keep the discussions focused and on track

12.  Don’t take cheap shots or “zingers”. This will create a tense and defensive climate and cause facilitator to lose respect and connection with participants.

13.  Try to get everyone involved. Encourage full participation

14.  Convey information in clear and concise way–leave the jargon home.

16.  Listen, Ask and Problem Solve not “tell and Sell”

17.  Be open to critiques and feedback

18.  Stay in the “here and Now” leave other distractions and issues outside of the room.

What other guidelines would you offer?

Getting Started: Role of Facilitator in building High Performance Teams

Stage One: Team Formation

In the first stages of team building, the forming of the team takes place. The forming stage of any team is important because, in this stage, the members of the team are selected, first meeting set and people get to know one another, exchange some personal information, and begin to establish team’s purpose,  norms and roles. Build consensus on how team is going to operate by establishing team contract and ground rules. This is also a good opportunity for the facilitator to see how each member of the team works as an individual and how the group interacts. Good time to set-up expectations and mission of the team.

During the forming stage, the individual’s behavior is driven by a desire to be accepted by other team members, and avoid controversy or conflict. Serious issues and feelings are avoided, and people focus on being busy with tasks, such as team organization, who does what, when to meet, and how long meeting are to be scheduled for.  It is a time to gather information and impressions about each other, and about the scope of the task and how to approach it. This is a comfortable stage to be in, but the avoidance of conflict and threat means that not much actually gets done.

The team meets and learns about the opportunities and challenges, and then agrees on goals and begins to tackle the tasks. Team members tend to behave quite independently. They may be motivated but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives of the team. Team members are usually on their best behavior but very focused on themselves. Mature team members begin to model appropriate behavior even at this early phase. Sharing the knowledge of the concept of “Teams – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing” is extremely helpful to the team. It is also helpful for the team to evaluate how the team meeting went and what they could to differently to improve their interaction and work processes.

Team leaders are expected to be quite active and directive during this phase. The sets the tone and creates the climate for interaction. They solicit volunteers to help facilitate discussion and record team’s ideas and keep the team on time schedule. The discussion facilitator and leader roles are usually combined into one person’s role. The facilitator makes introductions and helps team build their agenda for the meeting. Helps team interact by asking questions, using the “go-around” or round robin technique to give everyone an opportunity to speak and share their point of view on goals to be pursued. Encourages creative ideas for solving problems. Challenges members who are being negative or just supporting same old thinking about problems. Reviews agreements reached during the meeting, ask members to share take home learnings, and areas in which the team can improve their interaction and task accomplishments.

Art of Facilitation–Understanding Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics and the Art of Facilitation

  1. What is group dynamics?
  2. How is facilitation defined ?
  3. What are the Roles and Critical Success Factors for Facilitators
  4. How do groups get started and evolve?
  5. What helps and hinders interpersonal communication?

Internal Group structures and Methods for Operating

Goals—What does the group want to accomplish or your mission as a group

Roles–What part will you play on the team; everyone understands their own job and responsibilities

Norms--In group dynamics a norm, is a social rule of how team members need to behave in order to be accepted by the group. If norms are broken conflict will develop and consequesnces can be poor group productivity or individual isolation or shunning.that is socially enforced.

Methods or procedures-How is the work going to get done? Who is going to record the group recommendations. Procedures and methods for discussing issues are clear to everyone. The procedures are flexible and easily adated to different situations The methodsare consistent and viewed as fair so that everyone can carry out roles and achieve group goals.

Studies would indicate that groups that have successfully achieved goals over an extended period of time are the groups that have members perform task, process and maintenance functions. Here, the group effort is not only directed by its immediate work objectives (task,) but it is also building its own resources and stability for members working together (process and maintenance.) Such a group is able to observe its own process, modify its procedures, and take immediate action to provide relationship or task functions as needed. A group that limits itself only to task functions, however, is often found to be high producing for a short period of time. Such groups, if they fail to deal with the “people” value and concerns, as well as the task itself, soon lose their commitment to achieving the work goals.
Continue reading “Art of Facilitation–Understanding Group Dynamics”