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Preparing Yourself to Facilitate by Martin Pearson

Try These Top 6 Tips to Prepare Yourself to Facilitate.

If you aim to be confident when you facilitate groups, don't forget to prepare yourself.

When getting ready to facilitate a group, it’s natural to focus on logistics and your meeting design. If you focus only on these elements prior to your meeting, you’re missing a vital element to the art of facilitation – preparing yourself!

Prior to your meeting, take some time to explore what kind of presence you need in order to best support the group to achieve its purpose. As Larry Dressler, in his book, Standing in the Fire, says,

‘…Who shows up as the meeting convener is as powerful an intervention as any technique or method.’

When you are nervous or anxious about a meeting, the tenseness in your body can cut you off from your experience, wisdom and confidence. Taking time before a meeting to connect with yourself can make a big difference to your ability to respond effectively to the inevitable challenges that will come your way.

Below are 6 top tips to help you prepare prior to facilitating an event. Experiment and see what works best for you.


Review and affirm your guiding intention

Ask yourself the following questions:
o Who am I here to serve today?
o What is the purpose I seek to serve?
o What of my skills and myself can I best contribute?


Affirm the talents and gifts you bring

You (not somebody else!) have been asked to lead the meeting. Get connected with the talents and gifts you bring. Knowing your value and what you believe you have to offer the group, helps you be clearer of your role, meaning you are less likely to ‘over-stretch’ trying to prove your worth to the group.


Identify the meeting scenarios that could ‘press your buttons’

It’s possible there are situations or personality types you can anticipate which may ‘press your buttons’ and threaten to knock you off balance. Before a meeting, imagine possible scenarios or characters that you could find challenging and prepare neutral ways you can respond to each.


Explore any attachments you may have


Unhealthy attachments (such as a need to achieve a certain outcome or for the group to see you in a certain way) hold you back from being able to be fully present to a group. Ask yourself what attachments you have as you prepare for the meeting. Acknowledge and let go of any attachment that does not serve you or the group. 


Tune in to your body 

Take a few minutes to sit / lie quietly and become aware of sensations in your body that may be connected to unconscious fears, concerns, anxieties etc. Try to describe the sensation without judgment and then see what meaning emerges as you sit with the sensation.


Identify a phrase to help you remain present

During those most challenging moments in a meeting, it can be useful to have a phrase you can repeat to yourself. If you tend to work too hard and do some of the group’s work you could have the phrase, ‘Let the group do the work’. If you tend to be over-critical of yourself and / or others ‘Is it good enough?’ may be useful.

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