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Managing Large-Group Presentations. Dr. Sharon Walpole University of Delaware. Professional Development Nightmares. Be honest. Tell about a nightmare presenter or a nightmare group. . What strategies have you noticed used in these meetings?. Goals. Define role of external facilitator
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Managing Large-Group Presentations Dr. Sharon Walpole University of Delaware
Professional Development Nightmares • Be honest. Tell about a nightmare presenter or a nightmare group.
Goals • Define role of external facilitator • Provide “tips” for management and planning • Brainstorm possible scenarios and solutions
A great resource Eller, John. (2004). Effective group facilitation in education: How to energize and manage difficult groups. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
What is a facilitator? John Eller, in Effective Group Facilitation in Education (2004) argues that employing a facilitator to run a team meeting has distinct advantages over having the leader run the meeting
A facilitator does not assume or use any positional power • A facilitator’s role is to serve the group • A facilitator is interested in the process and its integrity, not in the results or application • A facilitator sets up conditions for success, and adjusts those conditions if necessary • A facilitator can tap “true feelings” and create a safe and open atmosphere
And an external facilitator . . . • Comes with an open mind • Has to rely on the messages communicated during the meeting rather than established norms or culture
And an effective external facilitator • Puts needs of groups before own needs • Understands his/her own limitations • Works to build rapport • Understands the goal/content of the session • Watches and listens to participants • Depersonalizes negative events or comments • Stays calm under pressure
How can you show interest in others and in their success? • How can you stay calm in negative or uncomfortable situations?
Some concrete things you can do to start . . . • Put up a welcome sign • Greet everyone at the door • Have music playing? • Plan an ice breaker
And once you are ready to open • Be welcoming and thankful for participants’ time • Give a short and humble (funny?) introduction of yourself • Give some ground rules for the day • Share the agenda and the logistics • Make sure that everyone is comfortable and make any adjustments needed in the room • Consider a way for the participants to meet and connect with one another
Be yourself when you introduce yourself • There are different ways to start the meeting; spend time thinking about what works for you. Don’t imitate someone else (unless that works for you).
How can you involve the participants in setting ground rules? What rules are important?
Forming random groups • Use playing cards or tokens • Groups of 4 by card (kings, twos, etc) • Larger groups by adding to the deck • Use candy or jelly beans • Put numbers on the handouts • Organize by month of birthday
During the meeting, there are some things that you can control (Eller) • The conditions and tone • The pacing • The meaningfulness • The connections that participants build to you, to one another
And some that you can’t • The attitudes people arrive with. • The task/materials • People’s past experience with PD • People’s past experience with people in the room • Whether individuals actually do what you say • Crazy people
What if the group is breaking down? • Use redirecting language: • I understand that you are concerned with ______. That will be addressed ________. Here we have a change to work on ____________. • Write down the participants’ issue and tell them that you will communicate it.
What if an individual is giving you fits? • Make every effort to connect directly to the individual. • Privately express your concern that the meeting is not meeting that person’s needs. • Privately ask whether there is anything you can do personally to better meet that individual’s needs. • Privately ask if the person needs to take a break.
Think of things that you can control • How prepared you are • How positive you are • Whether you listen or not • How quickly you respond to problems • In general, don’t ignore them
Some things that I focus on because I control them: • Be prepared • Be honest and take responsibility immediately when things aren’t going right before the participants call you on it • Create an atmosphere of service