LEGO® Serious Play®

Warwick Facilitator Neil Fogarty uses the LEGO Serious Play Methodology in his workshops as well as Executive Coaching & Mentoring


As a child of the 60s, my formative years included Spangles, being frightened by Alvin Stardust, and deeply loving LEGO®. These days, I am a facilitator that makes use of the LEGO Serious Play methodology – something that appeals to my love of facilitation with a half-century relationship with plastic bricks.

LEGO was pretty much the default toy for me and my brothers through the 70s.  In fact, even 1982’s Sinclair ZX Spectrum only temporarily knocked LEGO off the #1 spot in our house.

The great thing about LEGO of that time was that it held no limits to your imagination – sticking a few pieces together could be a sword, a light sabre, a small car (remember, this was a house of boys) – as we got a little older, we built football stands to go with our Subbuteo pitch.

But life moves along – the teenage years; the pub & club years; the courtship, love & marriage years!

Whilst I had been changing and growing, so had LEGO – but I didn’t like what I was seeing.  I loved the freedom of LEGO bricks and yet everything on offer from my first childhood sweetheart seemed to be prescribed kits – picture on the front, instructions inside: “place this brick here”.

Where had the creativity gone?  Was there fun to be had in doing what you are told?

Concurrent to this apparent mid-life crisis of the search for the mystical brick, I had been reviewing my career choices.  What did I want to do?

I’m lucky inasmuch I am doing what I want in terms of writing my books, contributing articles, speaking to audiences, facilitating workshops (as opposed to having to be the subject matter expert / know-it-all) and a coach / mentor.  I’d steadily moved away from relying on PowerPoint / Keynote and, instead, fell back in love with flipcharts, post-it notes and coloured pens.

Yet, haunting me… the bricks.

LEGO Serious Play came to the rescue: giving me the same flexibility and desire for creative exploration and playing with LEGO with both my hands and my imagination.

 


Another brick in the wall? from Eskil on Vimeo.


LEGO Serious Play

Like I say, I’ve played with LEGO for a fair old time. Having kids has been an ideal excuse to empty a large crate of bricks onto the floor and make stuff (and to also stand on it, of course!). Straight away, intuitively, the kids have gone about making their own forts, cars, houses, aeroplanes, rockets, etc.

No instructions required.

I think that this is why my learning & development interventions (workshops, coaching & mentoring, turnarounds) are activity-oriented and (dare I say it?) fun-based.

Now I know that every organization promises its staff that “it will be fun”, “we should have fun”, “this is a fun company”.

The truth is that, when we get down to it, no, it isn’t.

In fact, the reality of it is that it’s the activities where we are at the centre that we enjoy the most. In this instance, executive coaching, performance coaching, mentoring are the ones that are more enjoyable. This is down to the fact that it’s where the individual gets the chance to talk and reflect without being talked at.

Let’s pretend that we’re in a meeting

I’m pretty sure that this won’t be hard to do as many organizations (particularly during times of stress) sure do love a meeting.

So let’s have 15 people in the room – how many people do you think are actually involved?

More than 10 out of 15?
Consider the learning styles of Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic and most internal meetings are a talking shop (auditory). There may be some use of whiteboards and pens as a nod to the people who process information through visuals), but there’s nothing to touch / feel and so the kinaesthetic people are out of the game already.

More than 5 out of 15?
People are either introvert, extrovert or (like me) ambivert.

Definition: Introvert – “someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing and regain their energy by spending time alone. This is largely because introverts’ brains respond to dopamine differently than extroverts’ brains.” (source: Introvert, Dear)

Definition: Extrovert – “often described as talkative, sociable, action-oriented, enthusiastic, friendly, and out-going. On the negative side, they are sometimes described as attention-seeking, easily distracted, and unable to spend time alone.” (source: Very Well Mind)

Definition: Ambivert – “someone neither strongly introverted nor strongly extraverted. Research by Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Management has found that ambiverts make the best salespeople; tend to be adept at the quality of attunement; know when to push and when to hold back, when to speak up and when to shut up. On the flip-side, ambiverts may feel torn between which side of their personality to follow, leaving them feeling stuck.”

Click here to see if you are introvert, extrovert, or ambivert.

In the meeting, introverts will want to reflect on what is being discussed – to think before they speak. How does this fare in a modern organization where time pressures push people for instant opinions and decisions? If you don’t give them enough advanced warning about the meeting, the agenda and desired outcomes… well then they are sidelined too. Let’s assume that, of the 5 potential ambiverts in the room, 1 of them is inclined more to introversion.

So here we are with 4 people left out of fifteen. But here’s the rub: in a meeting are you looking for someone to be creative or someone who is analytical?

Given the recruitment process of many organizations, it is likely that more than 70% of your staff have analytical leanings.  So let’s assume that 3 out of the remaining 4 are analytical.

Your meeting of 15 is a meeting of 3. If we’re honest, one fo the fifteen called the meeting. There’s also a strong chance that the same person has decided the issue and identified a solution. They just need to appear democratic as they push through their idea.

Move from 80 / 20 to 100 / 100

Regardless of the type of meeting, we rarely want 20% of the room dictating the outcome.  This kind of 80 / 20 sucks – 20% of the people talking, talking, talking… successfully disengaging a room.  There is a better way than having 80% of a room just sitting back and watching the show.  Wouldn’t it be better to have 100% of the people engaged and 100% of them joining in?

I’ve sat in these meetings. Now, some of these meetings are essential (e.g. monthly operational reviews) but there’s a myth to address.  Many organizations tell their people that they are inclusive, innovative, ‘fun to work for’ (insert value statements here).  The truth is that organizations rarely demonstrate their ‘fun’ side.

The caveat to this is simple: you might want Extrovert Auditory Analytical people making all the decisions.

A recent workshop with a team of banking directors was convened to explore employee engagement.  We started with a review of the data gathered by an employee engagement survey.  We then discussed behaviour before undertaking a pre-lunch activity designed to raise the appreciation of non-verbal communications, feedback and ‘interference’.  After lunch, we explored communications from a DISC perspective and then played with LEGO.

This was a 16-minute activity (5 minutes to explain, 5 minutes to assign, 6-minutes of activity).  It led to a 40-minute discussion about workplace communications, colleague empathy, importance of feedback and building employee engagement.

The follow-on to this is drawing out plans of action so that the team goes beyond rhetoric into practicalities.

 

Intrapreneurship Speaker

Ani Bedda has retained UK Facilitator, Speaker & Advisor Neil Fogarty on many occasions as intrapreneurship speaker including psychology and culture

We invited Neil to deliver a workshop on intrapreneurial ecosystems and company culture and I must congratulate ourselves for this decision, the workshop was brilliant and a highlight of our Intrapreneurship Conference as per delegates feedback. It is a pleasure to work with Neil, and I hope we will have many more collaborations in the future.

Anis Bedda
transforma bxl

Personal Accountability

Marin Milos retained Warwick Facilitator / UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty to work with a cohort of 20 in exploring communications, mindset, personal accountability and problem solving in Croatia, 2018

Before we actually met, Neil already had very positive reputation on his approach and teaching style in his previous engagements in Croatia. Knowing my people from Comping and having clear view of what they need (not what they expect to get), we worked closely as we agreed on focal points of his ‘intervention’. Combining his practical experience with creative and provocative teaching style, Neil fully confirmed his great reputation as a trainer and managed to incite and engage our people in fun, approachable and interesting ways. But, even with such a flexible and relaxed approach, he didn’t risk losing their focus on the most critical point – emphasize personal accountability for the common organizational goals. I hope that we’ll have a chance to jointly add much more value to our people in the following months and years.

Marino Miloš
Comping

Team Cohesiveness

Mustafa Qamar-ud-Din attended a workshop facilitated by UK facilitator Neil Fogarty on the subject of Team Cohesiveness including Collaborative Intelligence, Communications and Trust

I had the pleasure to attend a workshop given by Neil about “Entrepreneurship – Collaborative Intelligence”. Moreover, My business partner & I received a very informative startup mentoring session from Neil which had lasted for more than 30 minutes. I have to admit that Neil’s coaching skills are beyond expectations. The content was very well organized and presented. The workshop was given in a very interactive manner. As a result of the workshop and the mentoring, my partner and I have managed to spot multiple ways to scale our business.

Mustafa Qamar-ud-Din
mQuBits

Corporate Social Responsibility

Neil Fogarty facilitated a workshop focused on Corporate Social Responsibility with the sponsorship and active support of Ove Haukåssveen, AIM Norway

We had the pleasure of working with Neil mid-October 2016 to further develop our framework for Corporate Social Responsibilty. Neil demonstrates impressive knowledge in this field and he is very skilled in transferring this in a practical way to our business needs. I can strongly recommend Neil.

Ove Haukåssveen
AIM Norway

Corporate Speaker

Noam Tamari-Wesker shared the stage with corporate speaker Neil Fogarty in Barcelona as a fellow intrapreneurship speaker & advisor

Neil is one of the most charismatic and interesting people that I came across. He is one of the best presenters that I ever saw in action with a great ability to keep his audience engaged through his entire lecture/presentation. Neil is a pure leader, Intrapreneur and entrepreneur, always demonstrated out of the box thinking, business orientation, leadership and consistency.

Noam Tamari-Wekser
SellMore.Guru

Compliance

Rosa Rosanelli attended a Compliance Conference in Norway where Neil Fogarty facilitated sessions for managers on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Neil made a thought provoking presentation at the Compliance conference AIM Norway organized in Farris Bad. Not only it was excellent, but it was almost as if it was not a presentation but a real conversation. It left me enthusiastic about the discussions it brought up.

Rosa Rosanelli
Pratt & Whitney

Problem Solving

UK Facilitator, Neil Fogarty facilitated a problem solving & decision making workshop in Croatia

Working with Neil was truly inspiring. Personal and professional benefits gained through his workshops will have a deep impact on my future decisions and interpersonal skills. I hope that I will have another chance to work with Neil again someday and find additional motivation in his unconventional sessions.

Drazen Marjanovic
Comping

Intrapreneurship

Neil Fogarty spoke at a conference in Zagreb on the issue of intrapreneurship with Primoz Zupan from Slovenia speaking at the same event

I had the chance to meet a really impressing speaker yesterday who is a walking treasure of experience and knowledge about intrapreneurship and organizational change, how to transform organizational dinosaurs and arouse the entrepreneur within employees. Neil has totally owned the stage and after his talk I was full of thoughts, ideas. Neil made a big impression and I am admiring him for what he did/is doing, what he knows and for his openness to share that experience and knowledge. I am looking forward to future cooperation with him. Unicorns do exist! 😉

Primoz Zupan
MBILLS E-Money and Payment Services

Sales Skills

Neil facilitated host of sessions for 120 of our retail sales employees at various levels and did a splendid job of it. The feed-backs were testimonial to the amount of effort gone in to design and customize the program and linking it to the business goals. His ability to translate complex concepts into simple to understand methodologies was the biggest asset.  I would recommend him for sales and business development programs

Sumit Anand
Viva Telecom, Kuwait

Collaborative Intelligence

Youssef Girgis curated a series of events for MSA University in Cairo where Neil Fogarty spoke and facilitated sessions on leadership, intrapreneurship, collaborative intelligence and communications

I had an amazing experience when I attended the speech and the workshops that Neil gave in Cairo last month.  But this is the least that could be said as he doesn’t hesitate to help you when you ask him or even if he knows you need something that you haven’t asked about.  He has helped me and my partners to reach better grounds through his collaborative intelligence module which has helped us kick-start our own startup.  He doesn’t just TALK about collaboration, he actively demonstrates it!

Youssef Girgis
MSA Career Placement Center

Culture Shift

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with sales professionals within Tribal Group as a condition : recondition moving them into a proactive, collaborative sales environment

The interim health market is a relatively new area of business for us, and in the absence of a Health Business Development Manager, Neil has been absolutely instrumental in providing me with support and guidance as to how I can build our health offering. This has resulted in the establishment of solid and trusted relationships both internally within Tribal and externally with our associates, interims and clients. Neil’s introduction of 1:1 mentoring and coaching sessions are a testament to his 100% dedication to developing and supporting his team. Neil’s approach is very much “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. His empathic nature and his ability to bring a fresh perspective enables you to refocus on the task at hand and to derive key actions to achieve your goals. Without a shadow of a doubt, Neil is a huge asset to us and to anyone looking for an energetic and enthusiastic personality to develop, mentor or coach their business team.

Rochelle Ireland
Tribal Group

Condition : Recondition

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with key individuals in Cherwell District Council's Transformation team to condition : recondition as they stepped into a commercial mindset

Being mentored by Neil is not always comfortable but the challenges posed are always focused on exposing the underlying currents that constrain or inhibit positive action. There is no room to either hide or procrastinate so whilst I whole heartily endorse Neil as an effective business mentor, beware, he will challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone.

Jonathan MacWilliam
Cherwell District Council

Sales Excellence

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with sales professionals within Tribal Group as a condition : recondition moving them into a proactive, collaborative sales environment

As someone who helps guide and develop salespeople in the world of New Business Development, Neil is equally fanatical about effective account management. His approaches are proven and effective and have been applied in numerous environments including his work with Tribal – a global professional services company. Having known Neil for 15 months, his coaching and mentoring style has been particularly useful in assisting me in strengthening relationships with existing and new clients – and seeing him apply his knowledge in a hands-on manners means that I have learnt a lot from him during the time I have known him and plan on learning a whole lot more!

James Brennan
Tribal Group Plc

Leadership Team Workshop

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with Marina Mesaric Radojcin in the design and delivery of a leadership team workshop in Zagreb, Croatia, 2018

It is not an easy task to facilitate a short workshop and to meet clients desires while creating the environment for insight gathering. It requires great knowledge and skills to pin-point those specific needs. And when you get all that you wanted, even more for some, with loads of fun, then you have to thank Mr Neil Fogarty for delivering The Workshop.

Marina Mesaric Radojcin
PBZ

Leadership Speaker

Leadership Speaker, UK Facilitator, Executive Coach Neil Fogarty spoke at a series of events in Cairo, Egypt organised by Sarah Samy of MSA University

I was lucky to meet Neil at 2 great events in Egypt in 2017 organized by MSA University; Leadership and Organization Development Conference and Entrepreneurship Hub. I was truly impressed by his intense knowledge and interesting way of delivery. During the panel discussion, his success story was an inspiration for our young entrepreneurs and his profound experience is something to surely learn from. I’m definitely looking forward to another fruitful co-operation.

Sarah Samy
MSA University

Reflective Thinking

After only one session with Neil I came away feeling more focused and confident than I had in a while. He gave me some great ideas, a bit of constructive provocation and the beginnings of my career plan for the next five years. He’s already been as good as his word and hooked me up with a potential mentor and has shown great integrity. Neil seems pretty unique in that he doesn’t seem to be out for himself but rather the betterment of local government. A big thumbs up from me.

Hayley Lewis
HALO Psychology

Entrepreneurship

Mark Kabonero attended an MBA module facilitated by UK facilitator Neil Fogarty on the subject of entrepreneurship

As my professor for Entreprenuership at ESLSCA, I found Mr. Neil Fogarty to be uniquely capable of capturing my attention and helping me learn confidently. His tactics of open space learning and free contribution helped me in understanding and archiving good grades in his subject. Comments from many of my classmates confirm that I am not alone in this impression of Mr. Neil Fogarty. This university has many fine professors, and Mr. Fogarty is a credit to it.

Mark Kabonero
PKPF Consultants

Organisation Development & Leadership

Michael Boushra spoke at an organisational development and leadership conference for MSA University with Neil Fogarty

I met Neil the first time in the Organisation Development & Leadership Conference in Cairo.  In person he is very attentive and very willing to help, he creates opportunities for growth for all the people around.  I have personally learned a lot from his open selfless attitude.  On a professional level his breadth of experience plays a great role in the customized solutions that he provides.  I recommend Neil as a powerful consultant in the field of leadership and as an equipped speaker for leadership related topics.

 

 

Michael Boushra
AstraZeneca, Egypt

Partnership

In his capacity as Senior Manager, People & Organization Development with MSA University, Amin Sorour invited Neil Fogarty to speak and facilitate on a number of topics including leadership, collaboration, and intrapreneurship

I was privileged to work closely with Neil to bring about a magnificent learning experience to our guests in the first international organization development & leadership conference, in the MEA region and the Entrepreneurship hub event, few weeks ago. Neil was one of our key speakers in both events, and I was not only impressed with his capability of delivering a truly effective and memorable learning experience, but how beautifully he constructs and designs the whole experience to be enlightening, engaging and enjoyable. He is definitely an expert in his field and I used to think of him as a genius and highly innovative speaker. Working with Neil is an emblem for real partnership, and he is a true partner who is really keen on delivering value to you, your audience and your team.

Amin Sorour
MSA University

All of my learning & development interventions are serious play based, ranging from 0.5 day through to my 100-day tailored intervention programs.

Posted on

Facilitator Builds Participation

As a buyer of learning & development intervention, you want to know that there’s going to be an outcome / output supporting your corporate ambition. Sometimes, a slide-driven trainer can be fine – PowerPoint is all that is needed. However, in many cases, the reality is that a facilitator can drive a greater return. An effective facilitator builds participation of everyone in the room.

The key determinant for the success of a workshop is how well you are getting people participating.

I’m sure that, like many people, I’ve been in training sessions that have sucked – partly due to badly defined training needs, bad trainers and disengaged participants.

In education, we talk about the importance of student engagement through active learning. In fact, there’s plenty of research that shows that engaged students are more attentive and focused, and motivated to practice higher-level critical thinking.

International Facilitator UK Facilitator Warwickshire Facilitator Neil Fogarty is a member of the International Association of FacilitatorsConsider this: how many times has a key stakeholder, senior manager, or even a colleague completely closed down a line of discussion just because it’s something that they don’t want to hear?

If you think of the butterfly effect (with reference to chaos theory) whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, does a closed down conversation have wider ramifications?

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF) promotes professional facilitation and has outlined a series of competencies.

The Association also accredits facilitators through the IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) designation which serves to confirm that a facilitator is competent in each of the six Core Competencies.

Six IAF Facilitator Competencies

  • Create Collaborative Client Relationships
  • Plan Appropriate Group Processes
  • Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment
  • Guide Group to  Appropriate and Useful Outcomes
  • Build and Maintain Professional Knowledge
  • Model Positive Professional Attitude

 


Faciliation is Participation from Eskil on Vimeo.


How the facilitator builds participation

Over the years, I have worked out how to build participation.  To be honest, some of this comes from my own inability to build a sense of consensus, my own lack of rapport, poor communication skills and being skilled in closing down unwelcome lines of discussion.

Courtesy of over a decade of applying business psychology tools, methods and approaches, I have been able to appreciate ‘the better way’ and they align closely with IAF’s “Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment”:

Participatory skills

Apply a variety of participatory processes (for example, I use a number of opening activities including café dialogue, the future workshop, network circles, fishbowl discussions, open space technology, and OPERA).

Guidelines for participatory processes:

  • Be open and flexible
  • Leave the ego at the door
  • Smaller groups are better for developing trust
  • Not everybody WANTS to participate – but you can always use their expertise as moderators, timekeepers, and observers
  • If the participants are ‘new’ to each other, create homogenous groups to start with (e.g. group by common interest) before forming mixed groups later on
  • Plan to have plenty of time for all aspects of the process (explanation, facilitation and the plenary) – don’t make people feel rushed

Interpersonal communication skills

  • Give everyone a chance to contribute (I tend to introduce the concept of Six Hats with an explanation that everyone has a voice and everyone will have a chance to speak)
  • Actively listen
  • Use relevant open questions to build upon what is being said by participants
  • Recognize the contribution of the participants
  • Observe and feed back your observations to the participants

Ensure inclusiveness

  • Cultivate cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Create a climate of safety and trust
  • Encourage positive regard for the experience and perception of all participants
  • Create opportunities for participants to benefit from the diversity of the group

Manage group conflict

  • Ensure that we are working with evidence first and opinion second
  • Identify barriers and beliefs that are causing conflict points
  • Enable open conflict to bring points / issues to the surface but keep the participants on point and focused on evidenced statements
  • Help participants to identify and review underlying assumptions
  • Ensure that the participants are all equal – no hierarchy in play to undermine points / counterpoints
  • Manage disruptive group behaviour

Evoke group creativity

  • Bear in mind the thinking styles of the people in the room
  • Don’t be frightened of arts & crafts!
  • From the get-go, encourage creative thinking
  • Every idea is valid and can be built upon by others in the room
  • Ensure that all activities have a ‘point’

The main thing is, as always, the facilitator is there to make it easy.

 

Corporate Social Responsibility

Neil Fogarty facilitated a workshop focused on Corporate Social Responsibility with the sponsorship and active support of Ove Haukåssveen, AIM Norway

We had the pleasure of working with Neil mid-October 2016 to further develop our framework for Corporate Social Responsibilty. Neil demonstrates impressive knowledge in this field and he is very skilled in transferring this in a practical way to our business needs. I can strongly recommend Neil.

Ove Haukåssveen
AIM Norway

Entrepreneurship

Mark Kabonero attended an MBA module facilitated by UK facilitator Neil Fogarty on the subject of entrepreneurship

As my professor for Entreprenuership at ESLSCA, I found Mr. Neil Fogarty to be uniquely capable of capturing my attention and helping me learn confidently. His tactics of open space learning and free contribution helped me in understanding and archiving good grades in his subject. Comments from many of my classmates confirm that I am not alone in this impression of Mr. Neil Fogarty. This university has many fine professors, and Mr. Fogarty is a credit to it.

Mark Kabonero
PKPF Consultants

Leadership Speaker

Leadership Speaker, UK Facilitator, Executive Coach Neil Fogarty spoke at a series of events in Cairo, Egypt organised by Sarah Samy of MSA University

I was lucky to meet Neil at 2 great events in Egypt in 2017 organized by MSA University; Leadership and Organization Development Conference and Entrepreneurship Hub. I was truly impressed by his intense knowledge and interesting way of delivery. During the panel discussion, his success story was an inspiration for our young entrepreneurs and his profound experience is something to surely learn from. I’m definitely looking forward to another fruitful co-operation.

Sarah Samy
MSA University

Condition : Recondition

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with key individuals in Cherwell District Council's Transformation team to condition : recondition as they stepped into a commercial mindset

Being mentored by Neil is not always comfortable but the challenges posed are always focused on exposing the underlying currents that constrain or inhibit positive action. There is no room to either hide or procrastinate so whilst I whole heartily endorse Neil as an effective business mentor, beware, he will challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone.

Jonathan MacWilliam
Cherwell District Council

Sales Excellence

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with sales professionals within Tribal Group as a condition : recondition moving them into a proactive, collaborative sales environment

As someone who helps guide and develop salespeople in the world of New Business Development, Neil is equally fanatical about effective account management. His approaches are proven and effective and have been applied in numerous environments including his work with Tribal – a global professional services company. Having known Neil for 15 months, his coaching and mentoring style has been particularly useful in assisting me in strengthening relationships with existing and new clients – and seeing him apply his knowledge in a hands-on manners means that I have learnt a lot from him during the time I have known him and plan on learning a whole lot more!

James Brennan
Tribal Group Plc

Compliance

Rosa Rosanelli attended a Compliance Conference in Norway where Neil Fogarty facilitated sessions for managers on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Neil made a thought provoking presentation at the Compliance conference AIM Norway organized in Farris Bad. Not only it was excellent, but it was almost as if it was not a presentation but a real conversation. It left me enthusiastic about the discussions it brought up.

Rosa Rosanelli
Pratt & Whitney

Sales Skills

Neil facilitated host of sessions for 120 of our retail sales employees at various levels and did a splendid job of it. The feed-backs were testimonial to the amount of effort gone in to design and customize the program and linking it to the business goals. His ability to translate complex concepts into simple to understand methodologies was the biggest asset.  I would recommend him for sales and business development programs

Sumit Anand
Viva Telecom, Kuwait

Leadership Team Workshop

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with Marina Mesaric Radojcin in the design and delivery of a leadership team workshop in Zagreb, Croatia, 2018

It is not an easy task to facilitate a short workshop and to meet clients desires while creating the environment for insight gathering. It requires great knowledge and skills to pin-point those specific needs. And when you get all that you wanted, even more for some, with loads of fun, then you have to thank Mr Neil Fogarty for delivering The Workshop.

Marina Mesaric Radojcin
PBZ

Partnership

In his capacity as Senior Manager, People & Organization Development with MSA University, Amin Sorour invited Neil Fogarty to speak and facilitate on a number of topics including leadership, collaboration, and intrapreneurship

I was privileged to work closely with Neil to bring about a magnificent learning experience to our guests in the first international organization development & leadership conference, in the MEA region and the Entrepreneurship hub event, few weeks ago. Neil was one of our key speakers in both events, and I was not only impressed with his capability of delivering a truly effective and memorable learning experience, but how beautifully he constructs and designs the whole experience to be enlightening, engaging and enjoyable. He is definitely an expert in his field and I used to think of him as a genius and highly innovative speaker. Working with Neil is an emblem for real partnership, and he is a true partner who is really keen on delivering value to you, your audience and your team.

Amin Sorour
MSA University

Reflective Thinking

After only one session with Neil I came away feeling more focused and confident than I had in a while. He gave me some great ideas, a bit of constructive provocation and the beginnings of my career plan for the next five years. He’s already been as good as his word and hooked me up with a potential mentor and has shown great integrity. Neil seems pretty unique in that he doesn’t seem to be out for himself but rather the betterment of local government. A big thumbs up from me.

Hayley Lewis
HALO Psychology

Intrapreneurship Speaker

Ani Bedda has retained UK Facilitator, Speaker & Advisor Neil Fogarty on many occasions as intrapreneurship speaker including psychology and culture

We invited Neil to deliver a workshop on intrapreneurial ecosystems and company culture and I must congratulate ourselves for this decision, the workshop was brilliant and a highlight of our Intrapreneurship Conference as per delegates feedback. It is a pleasure to work with Neil, and I hope we will have many more collaborations in the future.

Anis Bedda
transforma bxl

Collaborative Intelligence

Youssef Girgis curated a series of events for MSA University in Cairo where Neil Fogarty spoke and facilitated sessions on leadership, intrapreneurship, collaborative intelligence and communications

I had an amazing experience when I attended the speech and the workshops that Neil gave in Cairo last month.  But this is the least that could be said as he doesn’t hesitate to help you when you ask him or even if he knows you need something that you haven’t asked about.  He has helped me and my partners to reach better grounds through his collaborative intelligence module which has helped us kick-start our own startup.  He doesn’t just TALK about collaboration, he actively demonstrates it!

Youssef Girgis
MSA Career Placement Center

Intrapreneurship

Neil Fogarty spoke at a conference in Zagreb on the issue of intrapreneurship with Primoz Zupan from Slovenia speaking at the same event

I had the chance to meet a really impressing speaker yesterday who is a walking treasure of experience and knowledge about intrapreneurship and organizational change, how to transform organizational dinosaurs and arouse the entrepreneur within employees. Neil has totally owned the stage and after his talk I was full of thoughts, ideas. Neil made a big impression and I am admiring him for what he did/is doing, what he knows and for his openness to share that experience and knowledge. I am looking forward to future cooperation with him. Unicorns do exist! 😉

Primoz Zupan
MBILLS E-Money and Payment Services

Organisation Development & Leadership

Michael Boushra spoke at an organisational development and leadership conference for MSA University with Neil Fogarty

I met Neil the first time in the Organisation Development & Leadership Conference in Cairo.  In person he is very attentive and very willing to help, he creates opportunities for growth for all the people around.  I have personally learned a lot from his open selfless attitude.  On a professional level his breadth of experience plays a great role in the customized solutions that he provides.  I recommend Neil as a powerful consultant in the field of leadership and as an equipped speaker for leadership related topics.

 

 

Michael Boushra
AstraZeneca, Egypt

Corporate Speaker

Noam Tamari-Wesker shared the stage with corporate speaker Neil Fogarty in Barcelona as a fellow intrapreneurship speaker & advisor

Neil is one of the most charismatic and interesting people that I came across. He is one of the best presenters that I ever saw in action with a great ability to keep his audience engaged through his entire lecture/presentation. Neil is a pure leader, Intrapreneur and entrepreneur, always demonstrated out of the box thinking, business orientation, leadership and consistency.

Noam Tamari-Wekser
SellMore.Guru

Problem Solving

UK Facilitator, Neil Fogarty facilitated a problem solving & decision making workshop in Croatia

Working with Neil was truly inspiring. Personal and professional benefits gained through his workshops will have a deep impact on my future decisions and interpersonal skills. I hope that I will have another chance to work with Neil again someday and find additional motivation in his unconventional sessions.

Drazen Marjanovic
Comping

Culture Shift

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty worked with sales professionals within Tribal Group as a condition : recondition moving them into a proactive, collaborative sales environment

The interim health market is a relatively new area of business for us, and in the absence of a Health Business Development Manager, Neil has been absolutely instrumental in providing me with support and guidance as to how I can build our health offering. This has resulted in the establishment of solid and trusted relationships both internally within Tribal and externally with our associates, interims and clients. Neil’s introduction of 1:1 mentoring and coaching sessions are a testament to his 100% dedication to developing and supporting his team. Neil’s approach is very much “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. His empathic nature and his ability to bring a fresh perspective enables you to refocus on the task at hand and to derive key actions to achieve your goals. Without a shadow of a doubt, Neil is a huge asset to us and to anyone looking for an energetic and enthusiastic personality to develop, mentor or coach their business team.

Rochelle Ireland
Tribal Group

Personal Accountability

Marin Milos retained Warwick Facilitator / UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty to work with a cohort of 20 in exploring communications, mindset, personal accountability and problem solving in Croatia, 2018

Before we actually met, Neil already had very positive reputation on his approach and teaching style in his previous engagements in Croatia. Knowing my people from Comping and having clear view of what they need (not what they expect to get), we worked closely as we agreed on focal points of his ‘intervention’. Combining his practical experience with creative and provocative teaching style, Neil fully confirmed his great reputation as a trainer and managed to incite and engage our people in fun, approachable and interesting ways. But, even with such a flexible and relaxed approach, he didn’t risk losing their focus on the most critical point – emphasize personal accountability for the common organizational goals. I hope that we’ll have a chance to jointly add much more value to our people in the following months and years.

Marino Miloš
Comping

Team Cohesiveness

Mustafa Qamar-ud-Din attended a workshop facilitated by UK facilitator Neil Fogarty on the subject of Team Cohesiveness including Collaborative Intelligence, Communications and Trust

I had the pleasure to attend a workshop given by Neil about “Entrepreneurship – Collaborative Intelligence”. Moreover, My business partner & I received a very informative startup mentoring session from Neil which had lasted for more than 30 minutes. I have to admit that Neil’s coaching skills are beyond expectations. The content was very well organized and presented. The workshop was given in a very interactive manner. As a result of the workshop and the mentoring, my partner and I have managed to spot multiple ways to scale our business.

Mustafa Qamar-ud-Din
mQuBits

 


Neil Fogarty works locally as a Warwickshire Facilitator in addition to facilitating workshops in Middle East, Africa, Europe and USA.

e: enquiry@eskil.co
t: +44.(0)1926.497.211
w: eskil.co

 

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Musings of a Warwick Facilitator

There seems to be a fundamental difference between speakers and facilitators: speakers speak… a LOT. When I am in a room full of professional speakers, it seems to be a constant battle of the egos. When in a room of facilitators, it feels more collegiate and inspirational. Maybe this is a reflection of where I am in my own life and the perception I have of the extroverts on stage. Whilst I am, geographically, a Warwick Facilitator, I speak, facilitate and consult globally.

Warwick Facilitator, Neil Fogarty facilitates workshops as well as mentors, coaches, advises and consults with public sector and private sector clientsI have to admit that working internationally is great – but not because of the travel. Accepting that travel broadens the mind, ‘travel’ seems to be taxi, airport, taxi, hotel, venue, hotel, taxi, airport, taxi, home. What is great about it is the different people and cultures that are experienced.

In my experience, culture can eat strategy for breakfast and it varies both within sectors as well as countries (not to mention, where an organisation may be in the corporate lifecycle). This calls for a sensitivity and awareness that I know I didn’t have a decade ago!

The key lesson that I learnt on my travels is to NOT be the performer that stands up on stage as a speaker but, instead, sits back, listens and watches.

 

Organisation Development & Leadership

Michael Boushra spoke at an organisational development and leadership conference for MSA University with Neil Fogarty

I met Neil the first time in the Organisation Development & Leadership Conference in Cairo.  In person he is very attentive and very willing to help, he creates opportunities for growth for all the people around.  I have personally learned a lot from his open selfless attitude.  On a professional level his breadth of experience plays a great role in the customized solutions that he provides.  I recommend Neil as a powerful consultant in the field of leadership and as an equipped speaker for leadership related topics.

 

 

Michael Boushra
AstraZeneca, Egypt

Leadership Speaker

Leadership Speaker, UK Facilitator, Executive Coach Neil Fogarty spoke at a series of events in Cairo, Egypt organised by Sarah Samy of MSA University

I was lucky to meet Neil at 2 great events in Egypt in 2017 organized by MSA University; Leadership and Organization Development Conference and Entrepreneurship Hub. I was truly impressed by his intense knowledge and interesting way of delivery. During the panel discussion, his success story was an inspiration for our young entrepreneurs and his profound experience is something to surely learn from. I’m definitely looking forward to another fruitful co-operation.

Sarah Samy
MSA University

Partnership

In his capacity as Senior Manager, People & Organization Development with MSA University, Amin Sorour invited Neil Fogarty to speak and facilitate on a number of topics including leadership, collaboration, and intrapreneurship

I was privileged to work closely with Neil to bring about a magnificent learning experience to our guests in the first international organization development & leadership conference, in the MEA region and the Entrepreneurship hub event, few weeks ago. Neil was one of our key speakers in both events, and I was not only impressed with his capability of delivering a truly effective and memorable learning experience, but how beautifully he constructs and designs the whole experience to be enlightening, engaging and enjoyable. He is definitely an expert in his field and I used to think of him as a genius and highly innovative speaker. Working with Neil is an emblem for real partnership, and he is a true partner who is really keen on delivering value to you, your audience and your team.

Amin Sorour
MSA University

Intrapreneurship Speaker

Ani Bedda has retained UK Facilitator, Speaker & Advisor Neil Fogarty on many occasions as intrapreneurship speaker including psychology and culture

We invited Neil to deliver a workshop on intrapreneurial ecosystems and company culture and I must congratulate ourselves for this decision, the workshop was brilliant and a highlight of our Intrapreneurship Conference as per delegates feedback. It is a pleasure to work with Neil, and I hope we will have many more collaborations in the future.

Anis Bedda
transforma bxl

Intrapreneurship

Neil Fogarty spoke at a conference in Zagreb on the issue of intrapreneurship with Primoz Zupan from Slovenia speaking at the same event

I had the chance to meet a really impressing speaker yesterday who is a walking treasure of experience and knowledge about intrapreneurship and organizational change, how to transform organizational dinosaurs and arouse the entrepreneur within employees. Neil has totally owned the stage and after his talk I was full of thoughts, ideas. Neil made a big impression and I am admiring him for what he did/is doing, what he knows and for his openness to share that experience and knowledge. I am looking forward to future cooperation with him. Unicorns do exist! 😉

Primoz Zupan
MBILLS E-Money and Payment Services

Corporate Speaker

Noam Tamari-Wesker shared the stage with corporate speaker Neil Fogarty in Barcelona as a fellow intrapreneurship speaker & advisor

Neil is one of the most charismatic and interesting people that I came across. He is one of the best presenters that I ever saw in action with a great ability to keep his audience engaged through his entire lecture/presentation. Neil is a pure leader, Intrapreneur and entrepreneur, always demonstrated out of the box thinking, business orientation, leadership and consistency.

Noam Tamari-Wekser
SellMore.Guru

Compliance

Rosa Rosanelli attended a Compliance Conference in Norway where Neil Fogarty facilitated sessions for managers on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Neil made a thought provoking presentation at the Compliance conference AIM Norway organized in Farris Bad. Not only it was excellent, but it was almost as if it was not a presentation but a real conversation. It left me enthusiastic about the discussions it brought up.

Rosa Rosanelli
Pratt & Whitney

Collaborative Intelligence

Youssef Girgis curated a series of events for MSA University in Cairo where Neil Fogarty spoke and facilitated sessions on leadership, intrapreneurship, collaborative intelligence and communications

I had an amazing experience when I attended the speech and the workshops that Neil gave in Cairo last month.  But this is the least that could be said as he doesn’t hesitate to help you when you ask him or even if he knows you need something that you haven’t asked about.  He has helped me and my partners to reach better grounds through his collaborative intelligence module which has helped us kick-start our own startup.  He doesn’t just TALK about collaboration, he actively demonstrates it!

Youssef Girgis
MSA Career Placement Center

I really thought that this would be a difficult trick to manage but I have become comfortable in understanding that I am an introvert who has done well faking extraversion. Facilitation has actually been my natural state inasmuch as there's no need to be the star performer.

I actually enjoy being the one guiding a workshop without the pressure of being an all-knowing subject matter expert.

 

#Facilitation isn't about fees and plaudits - it's about moving people along their journey from Eskil on Vimeo.

 

Making a Warwick Facilitator smile

There's no denying that being a facilitator offers access to some amazing experiences. In addition to this, by removing the need to be the star performer, you remove any conflict or competition with the participants. A facilitator builds rapport quickly with his / her cohort.

So what makes me smile is a client who appreciates that there are a lot of questions to ask before the design work begins - and can also appreciate the scale of work involved in developing an agenda that flows as well as satisfies desired outcomes.

Yes, the recognition by participants is important - but that is down to me as to whether or not it's been a success.

Finally, the biggest of them all... knowing that new lessons have been learnt and are being applied.


Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

e: enquiry@eskil.co
t: +44.(0)1926.497.211
w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitation & Ambiguity

One of the skills of the facilitator is to seek out ambiguity – breaking it down, giving it clarity, achieving consensus and moving forward. Accepting that ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ can be hard! Facilitation Ambiguity is an ever-present – ambiguous client needs; ambiguous cohort sentiments; multiple possibilities.

UK Facilitator Neil Fogarty explores Facilitation Ambiguity - an ever-present - ambiguous client needs; ambiguous cohort sentiments; multiple possibilitiesCorporate complexity is fairly standard (evidenced by the continuous battle for simplicity) and this is common in facilitated sessions. In the workshops that I facilitate, I have used Fishbowl Discussion, World Café, and Open Space for group discussions. These activities are designed to explore issues and to determine a common understanding.

Once we are able to baseline the understanding (removing some of the facilitation ambiguity), we can then move on in whichever direction the client has identified.

One of the key factors to managing facilitation ambiguity is simple: the capability of the facilitator.

Facilitation Ambiguity isn’t just ‘the unknown’ – it’s also when we have multiple stakeholders with many viewpoints regarding diverse issues with several potential solutions. Again, the facilitator needs to be able to listen closely, challenge at the right times, and let the room talk.

 

 

 

Facilitation & ambiguity from Eskil on Vimeo.

Clarifying The Facilitation Ambiguity

Your facilitator will:

 

Pre-wiring of the event

  • Analyse organisational environment
  • Clarify the corporate perception of the situation / issue / opportunity
  • Agree delivery roles & responsibilities
  • Agree outcomes – and then design an agenda that supports the intended outcomes
  • Check back at each stage the level of understanding and consensus
  • Begin initial engagement with the participants

 

During the event

  • Establish clear context for the session
  • Understand problem solving and decision-making models
  • Use the space available to create a sense of ‘safety’ where opinions can be expressed
  • Ensure that everyone has a voice
  • Manage the over-enthusastic participants so that the views are balanced
  • Remove ‘hierarchy’ from the room so that everyone is equal and is recognised as being valid
  • Work to an agenda that allows for unhurried conversation – give everyone room to think
  • Use active listening to feed into the best questions to keep the discussion moving
  • Encourage critical thinking (accessing data where possible) as a way to review underlying assumptions
  • Be sure to encourage constructive conflict as a source of exploration
  • Manage disruptive group behaviour
  • Encourage creative thinking
  • Allow some tangential discussion but always redirect to the task
  • Be mindful of the energy flow in the room and vary the pace of activities accordingly
  • Help the group synthesise patterns, trends, root causes, frameworks for action
  • Assist the group in reflection on its experience
  • Flex with the room – don’t micromanage the timetable or the activities
  • Modify personal behaviour / style to reflect the needs of the group

 

After the event

  • Reflect on personal behaviour and results
  • Follow up meeting with key stakeholders to ensure that outcomes were achieved
  • Identify the shift (if any) in the perception of the situation / issue / opportunity
  • Agree next steps

 

Retaining a Facilitator

One of the main causes of problems in an organisation is ambiguity – the lack of information and the proliferation of opinions being at the base of it.  Your facilitator is there to dismantle the ambiguity, develop consensus, and objectively move you forward.

 


Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

e: enquiry@eskil.co
t: +44.(0)1926.497.211
w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitation of CSR Commitment

I have started to set out my various experiences as a facilitator in case studies as well as in the form of blogs, articles and my storytelling speeches.

One of the most impactful sessions that I facilitated was with an organisation within the Norwegian Military specialising in maintenance, repair and overhaul of equipment for the Norwegian Armed Forces as well as the private sector.

Neil Fogarty is a facilitator, speaker, mentor working with multinational organisations in the development of a strong CSR commitmentI was invited to Geneva to meet the two key stakeholders of the organisation – the CEO and the General Manager – where we worked flexibly over a 4-day period (late start on Monday, early finish on Thursday) with the specific output of a CSR Commitment.

At the end of each day, I reviewed all notes and then modified the workshop for the next day as we ended up redefining mission, values, and the CSR commitment.

During the sessions, we explored communications, stakeholder engagement, and the positioning of CSR between Values and the Quality Management Systems.

 

Facilitation of CSR Commitment from Eskil on Vimeo.

Facilitating your CSR Commitment

By the end of our session, we had determined a clear view of what CSR is; the benefits of it; what factors impact upon it; and how it supports the corporate commitment to business ethics.

We revisited their current value statements and re-worked them based on a reflection of what the organisation does rather than aspires to.

Finally, we built the CSR Matrix – a matrix of proposed CSR actions, set out by environmental, social and economic aspects, (accepting that there are overlaps). The leadership team plotted current and possible CSR activities, processes, products and impacts on the matrix, cross-referencing them against the firm’s current activities and structure to see how well they fit.

I have facilitated in excess of 300 interventions and I have chosen this one as the first to refer to as it a) one of the most satisfying in terms of client engagement and happiness b) it was a topic that I enjoyed exploring in order to help the client and c) I was invited to work with the client beyond the workshop and into other aspects of the topic (e.g. policy writing and management briefing).

In my experience, a genuine interest and enthusiasm in the topic is essential for facilitation – the skills of a facilitator can transfer into the majority of interventions but people aren’t stupid: if the facilitator isn’t into it… everyone knows.

 


Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

e: enquiry@eskil.co
t: +44.(0)1926.497.211
w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitator Planning

There seems to be an interesting difference between trainer and facilitator with a trainer transferring knowledge and the facilitator planning how to make knowledge growth as easy as possible.

This isn’t to say that some trainers don’t invest time in making knowledge transfer easy, but they are still expected to ‘know more’ than the learners in front of them.

There is an investment by the facilitator planning to enable individuals and groups to evolve and grow – there is less of a need to be the subject matter expert with exercises at the beginning and end to ‘measure your understanding’.

The facilitator plans out the right kind of mental and physical space for people and makes use of skills in managing group energy, exploring & solving problems, reaching impactful decisions, and intervening when appropriate.

 

IAF Facilitator Competency : Plan Appropriate Group Processes from Eskil on Vimeo.

Facilitator Planning

When working with any client, the facilitator respects and encourages the respect of client culture, norms and participant diversity – it may seem to be common sense but a facilitator invests a great deal of time into ‘knowing the room’. This understanding helps us to understanding the communication, thinking and learning styles of the individuals and to make sure that we can deliver as effectively as possible.

Beyond the spiritual and emotional space, there is the need for a great physical space – something that gives the people i the room a sense of comfort and safety as well as the ability to freely move around rather than be locked behind a desk / table or a screen.

One of the lessons learned over the years is that not everyone in the room is there to learn: some are there under duress; some are determined not to join in; some are not prepared to get involved; some will wilfully disrupt. Whereas a trainer will grimly work through the slide deck to get to the other end, a facilitator has the flexibility to explore belief systems and attitudes as part of the session. A facilitator isn’t so tightly coupled to ‘the client outcome’ as to ignore the needs of the group themselves.

 


Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

e: enquiry@eskil.co
t: +44.(0)1926.497.211
w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitator Competency

As with anything, with a lack of understanding, we believe ourselves to be expert (it’s referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect). At a certain point, the more experience we have, the more aware we are of what we are missing – and this affects our confidence in our own abilities. From a facilitator point of view, this is where we seek to validate and build our skills by working on our facilitator competency.

 

Neil Fogarty is a facilitator, business speaker, writer, blogger and advisor. He explores facilitator competency as a key differentiator in a cluttered market.

The International Association of Facilitators (IAF)

The IAF is the worldwide professional body established to promote, support and advance the art and practice of professional facilitation through methods exchange, professional growth, practical research and collegial networking.

The IAF has a Core Facilitator Competencies framework which forms the foundation for the IAF Certified™ Professional Facilitator (CPF) designation.

 

Introducing IAF’s Six Facilitator Competencies from Eskil on Vimeo.

Facilitator Competency

There are six aspects to reflect upon with regards to your facilitator competency:

  • Create Collaborative Client Relationships
  • Plan Appropriate Group Processes
  • Create and Sustain a Participatory Environment
  • Guide Group to Appropriate and Useful Outcomes
  • Build and Maintain Professional Knowledge
  • Model Positive Professional Attitude

Create Collaborative Client Relationships

There are 3 areas to consider: develop working partnerships; design and customize applications to meet client needs; Manage multi-session events effectively.

I’m a big fan of Design Thinking and consider effective facilitation to be customer-centred. This means that we clarify mutual commitment and activities; ensure that the workshop is designed to achieve intended client outcomes (which means that we should be confident enough to keep asking ‘why’ and drilling down into solving the root issues); and to have the skills / experience to develop and deliver something unique to the customer need.

 


Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

e: enquiry@eskil.co
t: +44.(0)1926.497.211
w: eskil.co

 

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Effective Communications

Effective communications is critical to so many aspects of your organisation – conflict, collaboration, consensus… resistance to change, stakeholder engagement… the list goes on! As a facilitator, one of my key interests is enabling effective communications – giving people a simple yet effective mapping approach to support your initiatives.

In the modern connected age, we have more stakeholders than ever: the interested parties can include customers and also employee families as well as shareholders, regulators, etc. And let’s not forget that, with social media, almost everybody has an opinion! The complexity of the stakeholder map grows and this means that we need increasingly effective communications strategies.

Whilst we use a 14-point stakeholder mapper in Eskil, I tend to use a simplified version as a standard in many of my facilitated workshops. To fully explore mapping your stakeholders, you may want to set aside a full day whereas the simplified model can be covered off in 1-2 hours.

If it is a unit within a broader workshop, it can be covered off in an hour but only introduces you to the concept rather than the drill-down.

So what can you expect in a facilitated stakeholder comms session?

Effective communications
Sales is a key part of my background and so have spent a lot of time in the area of stakeholder mapping, communications and engagement. When mapping your sales stakeholders (specifically for complex B2B sales), I map out:

  • Communications style of the decision maker(s)
  • Role of the decision maker(s) (economic, blocker / enabler, user community, guardian angel)
  • Level of authority of the decision maker(s) regarding the sale opportunity
  • Level of influence of the decision maker(s) in the organisation specific to the sale opportunity
  • Level of sentiment of the decision maker(s) towards the sale opportunity (exploring the impact of the sale)
  • The mindset of the decision maker(s) (growth, trouble, oblivious, no need for change)
  • The intrinsic (internal) motivator of the decision maker(s)

In my experience, sales is caused by and causes change – and change calls for sales skills. So it is no surprise that the model above is pretty much identical when mapping the communications of your bosses, your peers, your subordinates, your external partners (including suppliers)…

 

How are you transmitting your message and how is it being received? from Eskil on Vimeo.

Building your effective communications

I say this all the time in workshops: “you will not know the answer to each of the points mentioned until you sit down and have a tea / coffee with the people involved. Without chatting these points through, you are guessing – and guessing is not good enough!

My consistent recommendation to building an understanding of your stakeholders is simple: “go for a coffee and have a chat”.

There’s no more science in the early days than this.

 

When it comes to any kind of change in the organisation (strategy, technology, policy, etc.) then you need to communicate. The culture of your organisation is informed by how we speak and engage with each other – listen to the soundwaves fizzing around – are you a collegiate, open, honest and supportive entity? Do you transmit messages without considering how they will be received? Do you have a plan of action to build stronger internal & external relationships?

 


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Facilitation is Asking

When you look at the various skills of the facilitator, a key one for me is this: facilitation is asking questions.

Feeding into the willingness to ask is curiosity whilst what spins out of questioning are further questions, better understanding, collaboration, and new thinking.

Historically, I would have been making a good trainer but quite a poor facilitator – using PowerPoint / Keynote to dictate the flow of the conversation / workshop / session; focusing on the messages that I wanted to get across; concentrating mainly on the symptoms rather than the cause.

Facilitation is asking, “why?” and driving for the root cause of an issue – giving the people in the room an opportunity to work with material that is 100% relevant to the organisation and giving them the chance to build solutions that can be applied.

Equally, as a critical thinking tool, facilitation is asking “why” all the time – not putting up with the barriers and beliefs that stop positive change taking place.

 

Common sense begs 'why?' yet it always seems like the most amazing insight ever… why?! from Eskil on Vimeo.

Facilitation Is Asking Why

We should all know about the open questions (starting with who, where, why, what who, and when) but it’s quite common in the workplace to try to answer questions immediately rather than go away and reflect – so we answer the open questions without thinking them through.

There can be a tendency to find ‘evidence’ to support your point of view rather than find arguments both for and against: giving a balanced response. Facilitation is asking for more (evidential) information and seeking out the balance.

 

One of the best facilitated sessions that I have attended is where people were not allowed to offer solutions to a particular issue but to ask qualifying questions instead (and, no, the question, “have you considered-?” is not a valid question in this approach). Do you fix before you qualify? Would we be happy with our medical professions suggesting surgery before a check-up?

 


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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Delivering Your Training ROI

As a facilitator, I am always interested in ‘what is out there’ – whether this is research, new ideas, compliance (GDPR springs to mind!) and more. One of the things that always interests me is helping clients to see their training ROI – to drive out a return on training investment.

As I search for research on the issue of hand-drawn graphics in workshops, Emer O’Leary at Collected Works in the UK made me aware of a 2014 article by Professor Zakary Tormala at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Professor Tormala teaches courses in the areas of attitudes, persuasion, and consumer behavior. In 2014, his research “Whiteboard-Imagery Found More Effective Than Traditional PowerPoint Approaches” found that “whiteboarding works best for engagement, enjoyment, credibility, recall and persuasive impact versus polished PowerPoint decks.”

Tormala’s Study

[pullquote]Both studies found a statistically significant difference in favor of the whiteboard approach in all categories outlined – engagement, enjoyment, credibility, recall and persuasive impact, outperforming the PowerPoint and Zen presentations approaches.[/pullquote]
Professor Tormala’s online study was conducted with participants who were randomly selected to watch a two-minute video description of a concept called ‘the hammock’ accompanied by one of three possible visuals:

  • Whiteboard-style visuals
  • Traditional PowerPoint with bullets and photography
  • Large metaphorical image with a few words (sometimes referred to as a “Zen” presentation technique)

In a second study conducted a few weeks later, participants were run through the same experiment. This time, however, new measures were included to directly tap into the persuasive impact of whiteboards as compared to PowerPoint and Zen presentations.

 

Don't bring in trainers unless you know that you will see a value and an ROI from Eskil on Vimeo.

Building your training ROI

In the first study, despite the fact that all participants received the exact same information and message content, the whiteboard presentation outperformed the PowerPoint and Zen presentations on a wide range of messaging impact metrics. More specifically, the whiteboard presentation statistically outperformed the two other approaches in engagement, credibility, presentation quality, and information recall.

In the second study, 401 new participants took part in the same experiment (assessing engagement, credibility, presentation quality, and recall) but were also asked:

• How convincing was the presentation to you personally?
• How important is it to remember the idea of “the hammock” when giving presentations?
• To what extent will the presentation about “the hammock” change the way you deliver your messages to others?
• How likely are you to follow the advice from the presentation the next time you have to speak?
• How likely are you to share the information from the presentation with someone else?
• Do you intend to tell anyone you know about “the hammock?”

On average, the whiteboard presentation enhanced the persuasive impact of the message by approximately 8 percent.

Realising the Training ROI

A follow-up survey was sent to the same participants two days later to evaluate recall and sustained engagement and impact. None of the original presentation was shared in the follow-up survey, and participants needed to rely on their memory to respond to the following three key questions:

• How often have you thought about the content of the presentation since you viewed it?
• How likely is it that you will use or apply the insights from the presentation in the future?
• Has the presentation changed, in any way, the way you interact or communicate with others?

In this follow-up test, the whiteboard presentation again produced a statistically significant boost in recall relative to the PowerPoint and Zen presentations. On average, two days after its viewing, the whiteboard presentation outperformed the other presentations by 14 percent and 17 percent on recall and engagement/impact, respectively.

 

When it comes to looking for your Training ROI, consider the immediate, short-term and long-term impact of learning & development. Does technology work as well as you would hope? As humans, are more inclined to recall and use a more physical medium than the technology-driven screen-based content? Does your current Learning & Development create conversations in the business?


 

Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:

 

e: enquiry@eskil.co

t: +44.(0)1926.497.211

w: eskil.co

 

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