The Art of Connected Facilitation
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The Art of Connected Facilitation

Stop Wasting Time in Zoom and Make Plans that Stick

About the Book

How much of this week did you spend in online meetings? How much of that time were you listening to the same old perspectives from the same people? Could you have predicted before the meeting who would talk and who would stay quiet?

Did the conversation race from topic to topic without reaching decisions or actions?

Did you watch as people began to multitask, their faces flashing different colors as they worked in email or Slack with Zoom in the background?

Did you sense that the smart, quiet ones were staying quiet because they couldn’t find a way to break in before time was up?

Do you wish your group could just somehow make a decision?

Do you feel like that potential for real collaboration is sitting right below the surface?

For leaders of teams that aren’t in the same room, this book introduces connected facilitation skills. Unlike other facilitation books, we do not assume remote or in-person work is better but rather accept the reality of both.

You'll learn:

  • Why we need online facilitators, even when many are returning to the office
  • How to improve your weekly team meetings and decision meetings
  • Why we hate structured work, and why we need it
  • How to design remote workshops
  • Why deep collaboration is harder online
  • How facilitation changes online compared to in a room
  • How to manage the online 'space' using everyday or specialized software.
  • How to handle mixed / hybrid workshops
  • Power moves for remote facilitators

If you're new to facilitation, this book will get you started. If you're a seasoned 'in the room' facilitator, this book will give you a framework to approach online work that's less fatiguing and brings better results.

About the Author

Alex Pukinskis
Alex Pukinskis

Alex has been facilitating collaborative workshops for over 17 years. He's been a computer builder, a customer support rep, a web developer, a software engineer, an agile coach, a product manager, and portfolio manager. He's worked in management consulting and product leadership. He loves hiking, kayaking, and discovering new spaces, and lives in Berlin with his wife and two American cats.

Alex Pukinskis

Episode 269

Table of Contents

    • 1:Prologue
    • 2:Welcome
    • 3:Why we need connected facilitation
      • Distributed work is here to stay
      • Meetings are where we create culture
      • Connected Meetings are harder
      • Facilitation is the key to connected meetings
    Part I:Meetings
    • 4:Simple Decision Meeting
      • Context
      • Script
      • What you’ve just learned
    • 5:Facilitation Toolbox 1
      • 1. Offer the group a simple framework they can use to decide together
      • 2. Make everyone feel heard through note taking
      • 3. Co-create a shared reference
      • 4. Separate analysis, ideation, decision, and action
      • 5. Steer the discussion: Screensharing with intention
      • 6. Increase perspective by making space for the quiet people to speak
      • 7. Expand or close dialogue using “What else?” and “Anything else?” language
      • 8. Decide how we will decide
      • 9. Dot voting to prioritize options
      • 10. Check for commitment to actions
      • 11. Set a check-in date to make sure action happens
    • 6:Weekly Team Meeting
      • Context
      • Script
      • What you’ve just learned
    • 7:Facilitation Toolbox 2
      • 12. Offer to serve the group
      • 13. Silent brainstorm
      • 14. Time-boxed readouts
      • 15. Timekeeping
      • 16. Bending Time
      • 17. Roman voting
      • 18. Record action items to steer discussion
      • 19. Gather topics ahead
      • Stepping Up
    • 8:Why we hate structured meetings
      • The joy of spontaneous collaboration
      • The Tyranny of Structurelessness
      • What stops us from stepping up to faciltiate
    Part II:Workshops
    • 9:Why ‘design’ collaboration?
    • 10:Purpose, Outcomes, and Outputs
      • A simple purpose statement
      • Rachel’s Reverse Timeline
      • Is it one workshop, several, or no meetings at all?
      • Communicating the approach: To/by/so that
    • 11:Questions drive the agenda
      • Write the agenda backwards
      • The Kaner Model
      • Plan for both Divergence and Convergence
    • 12:Generating more ideas and perspectives
      • Starting with silent work adds perspective
      • Silent Brainstorm with stickies in meeting board software
      • Spoken brainstorm for speed: Round Robin with scribe
      • Shoutouts with Scribe
      • Toss the Ball
      • Open Dialogue
    • 13:Psychological safety, and how to increase it
      • Why psychological safety matters
      • Anyone can feel unsafe at times
      • Making it safe to talk about safety
    • 14:Breakout Groups
      • Script: Basic Breakout Groups (1-4-all)
      • Forming different kinds of groups
      • Exploration with pairs and triads
      • Asynchronous breakouts
    • 15:Building the Online Room
      • The Calendar Invitation is part of the space.
      • Tooling: Documents or Boards?
      • The role of Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, or Webex
      • Keeping the purpose and agenda accessible
      • Other organizing tools: Decisions, Parking Lot, Communication Plan, Action Plan
    • 16:Templates for breakouts
      • Strategy Template
      • Problem-Solving Template
      • Thoughts on using templates
    • 17:Selecting options and finding agreement
      • Affinity Grouping
      • Sorting a list of items
      • Arranging on a timeline
      • Voting
    • 18:Checking for commitment
      • Fist of Five
      • How to check consensus or commitment
      • What if some can’t commit?
      • Roman Voting
      • Consent
      • Repeated Checks
      • How to increase the odds of commitment
    • 19:Planning for time
      • How long can humans can survive in Zoom meetings?
      • How much time do you need for your activities?
      • Add it up: Activities + Breaks + Buffer
      • Splitting your workshop over multiple sessions
    • 20:Review: Designing Connected Workshops
    Part III:Facilitating
    • 21:Why deep collaboration is harder online
      • Video meetings transmit impoverished information
      • Interruptions are important
      • Social pressure helps face-to-face groups
      • Online work offers infinite exits
      • Summary: Factors that change online meetings
    • 22:Energy and Momentum
      • In-person workshops often increase energy
      • Online workshops often drain energy
      • Tricks for keeping up your own energy
    • 23:Preparing yourself and attendees
      • Empathy Interviews
      • Why interview during the design stage?
      • When are empathy interviews needed?
    • 24:Script the critical moves
      • Why write a script?
      • Good prompting saves time
    • 25:Start the collaboration before the meeting
      • International teams need more time to process language
      • Your workshop is much longer than the meeting itself
      • Example: Start Divergence before the meeting
    • 26:Opening online
      • Music
      • Walking in activity
      • Read the Purpose and Agenda out loud
      • Should you share your screen in the opening?
      • Working Agreements
      • Get your first group agreement
    • 27:Checkins, early engagement, emotional discharge
      • Techniques
      • The effect of the checkin
    • 28:The Screen
      • Not everyone sees the same thing
      • Compose your screenshare
      • Facilitator’s workspace: Arrange your own screen
    • 29:Partnering
    • 30:Hybrid workshops
      • Hybrid facilitation is more work
      • Treat everyday hybrid workshops as remote-first
      • Bigger hybrid workshops take more facilitation work
      • Hybrid Quarterly Planning
    • 31:Emergency Procedures
      • Technical disasters
      • Presence
      • Fights and bad behavior
      • Emergency Procedure: Not Converging
      • Emergency Procedure: Out of Time
    • 32:Closing Moves
      • Review Agenda to remind them of the journey
      • Review Decisions to remind them of the results
      • Build an Action Plan
      • Clear the Parking Lot
      • Build a Communication Plan
      • Appreciations
      • Gathering Meeting Feedback
      • Don’t hang up
      • After the Session
    Part IV:Closing
    • 33:Your Action Plan
    • 34:Feedback on this book
    • 35:Remaining Questions about Online Facilitation
    • 36:Appreciations and Acknowledgements

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