As a leader or facilitator, never underestimate how you create an atmosphere, the moment you walk into a room you. One key question is, what kind of atmosphere does your presence generate? 

The answer to this question, must be attuned to who you are (being yourself) and the particular work that you do (for example, conflict resolution vs. strategy brainstorm). Given the fact that I tend to be a people-oriented initiator ("DI" on the DiSC, ENTP on Meyers-Briggs) and that I work in the field of vision, here is a description of the atmosphere I want to create:

  • Engaging - creating positive connections with EACH person

  • Thoughtful - being interested and not just interesting

  • Expectant - modeling enthusiasm and confidence that God is at work

  • Curious - reminding people that I bring questions before answers

Here are some of the practical facilitation steps I keep in mind when I work with teams.

#1 Set up early enough in order to  focus 100% on people when they come in. This seems like a no brainer but it's easy to slip here. If  I'm distracted with tasks when people come in the room, the desired atmosphere dies quickly. 

#2 Greet each person in the room starting with the least important person, if there is any "hierarchy" present. (For example, children before adults, lay leaders before staff people, people who don't know me before people who do know me.)  The dynamic here is that everyone feels more at ease when each person sees that everyone matters. I don't start a meeting until I have shaken every hand with an eyeball-to-eyeball genuine greeting. Think about the "hierarchy" idea: What parent doesn't appreciate you greeting their children first?

#3 Start interaction early and have everyone speak. I don't like kicking off a meeting with a long intro by me or an extended prayer time. There is a time where people get to know me and there is a time for extended prayer, but not to kick things off. This strategy creates interaction, positive energy and let's people know that I am there to listen more than talk.

#4 Pray passionately and expect God to show up. Even though I don't start with extended prayer, I do start by clearly and strongly "leaning into God" confessing our utter dependence on Him and faith-full anticipation of His blessing. I always ask for supernatural wisdom, with James 1:5 as a springboard.
Topics: Date: Apr 24, 2010 Tags: coaching / consulting / facilitating / meetings / team dynamics