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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

The Art of Virtual Art Facilitation (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 The Art of Virtual Art Facilitation 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 Visible Thinking in the Museum, 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

The Art of Virtual Art Facilitation (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