Bitesize: How to Define your Personal Facilitator Style

BITESIZE: HOW TO DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL FACILITATOR STYLE I’ve recently taught a course in my membership programme about developing your personal facilitation style. We’ve had 4 classes over the last 4 months and we’ve covered a range of subjects in our time together. In the very first classes we explored what our personal facilitation style is and how we might define it. BUT, before I share the exercise with you, let's look at what a personal facilitation style is and why it's important.  WHAT IS A PERSONAL FACILITATION

Tips for facilitating meaningful discussions around sensitive subjects

TIPS FOR FACILITATING MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS AROUND SENSITIVE SUBJECTS In the light of recent world events and the troubled times we live in, in today’s episode I’m going to share some thoughts about facilitating discussions with artworks and objects around sensitive subjects in difficult times. Some programmes, tours or sessions specifically involve sharing difficult narratives and directly addressing challenging subjects. Other types of programmes might touch on subjects that can be contentious and/or sensitive. Or you may visit artworks or objects that can surface and bring up emotions, feelings and more. Particularly now with the devastation occurring in

How to Read a Group

HOW TO READ A GROUP In today's episode I'm exploring ways to read a group. This is the ability to understand the mood in the room and how receptive people are.  When you’re working with groups in the museum or online, it’s extremely helpful to be able to know how to ‘read the room’. Paying attention to others and listening for clues can pay dividends.  Being able to read a group and see how engaged they are, whether they are enjoying the programme, following along or even whether they are listening is extremely important.  It's important to

How to get over a ‘tumbleweed moment’ (and avoid one in the future)

HOW TO GET OVER A 'TUMBLEWEED MOMENT' (AND AVOID ONE IN THE FUTURE) WHAT IS A 'TUMBLEWEED MOMENT'?  Have you ever asked a question that was greeted with nothing but silence? You look around and all you can see are blank faces. The silence is scary because you don’t know what people are thinking. It could mean anything. You wait a little longer and still nothing happens. Just the sound of tumbleweed rustling by…. You've just experienced a 'tumbleweed moment' - a period of dead air or silence.  And it’s awkward and uncomfortable - not just for you

The Art of Facilitation

The Art of Facilitation Facilitation is a key part of creating engaging and interactive discussions around art and museum objects. But developing the skills of a good facilitator is an art form in itself – it requires practice, patience and the best facilitators MAKE IT LOOK SO EASY. Sometimes people wonder why I chose the word 'facilitator' - rather than guide, educator, teacher, docent, or interpreter - to describe people who lead participative, discussion-based experiences around art and objects. It’s certainly not the easiest word to say, but it does sum up what we do. As a facilitator, you are guiding

The 9 roles of a good facilitator of art discussions

Facilitation is a key part of the Visible Thinking in the Museum method. But developing the skills of a good facilitator is an art form in itself - it requires practice and patience. So, what does good facilitation look like? And what roles will you be expected to play?  1. Coordinator You are the person who ensures the session goes well - this means that everyone stays on track and on time, everyone understands their roles, and feels a part of the process. It’s part of your job as a facilitator to manage the discussion - and that means keeping

How to Make your Art Discussions Engaging On Zoom (Part 2)

Once you’ve done you’ve got to know the tech, prepared yourself and practised with a test group as we talked about in Part 1, the next step is to design and develop your session, so that it’s as interactive and engaging as an in-person art discussion would be. This is more than just presenting content or narrating a lecture. Remember that when using my method, the focus is on the participants rather than on the educator or teacher. The key to achieving engagement in a virtual art discussion is to design a process that is interactive, varied and tailored to

How to Make your Art Discussions Engaging On Zoom (Part 1)

If you’ve never taught or led discussions online, you might be a little nervous or wary of virtual facilitating with artworks or objects. You may be wondering how your skills will transfer to an online environment or whether your sessions will be as effective or as engaging. Here are my top tips for confidently leading and facilitating engaging discussions about art and objects online. I started teaching & facilitating online 3 years ago. I was a little nervous and extremely wary at first. I didn't think that the online teaching experience would match up to the in-person one. Since then,

Verbal Facilitation Tools to Make Your Guided Tours More Interactive

In my previous post on facilitation skills, 'A Quick Guide to Facilitation Skills on Guided Tours', I talked about the many skills required to being an effective facilitator and the 4 areas that I focus on and offer coaching around for my ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ trainings. Today I'm going to focus on the verbal facilitation tools that you can use to help to engage participants and make sure everyone is involved on a guided tour. Encourage & Guide Looking Pointing & Paraphrasing Clarifying  Linking or bridging Summarising Encourage quiet group members Giving balanced feedback Encourage & Guide Looking