Resonates through an organization until a consensus emerges that brings dramatic business results.

How to Ensure Participant Engagement

By Michael Barrett | May 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Our last video discussed why participants may be disengaged during meetings. In this video we discuss ways to prevent those sources of disengagement and keep participants hooked in.

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5 Reasons Participants are Disengaged in Meetings

By Michael Barrett | March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

In this video learn five reasons people might be disengaged in meetings. Our next video discusses how to mitigate these factors.

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How to start EVERY workshop with Impact

By Michael Barrett | October 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

In this video, you’ll learn the six topics you should share in the kickoff to EVERY workshop you lead.

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The Impact of the Size of Your Team on Session Design

By Michael Barrett | August 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

 In this video, you’ll learn the most important considerations of team size on your facilitated session design.

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Encouraging Participants’ Personal Reflection

By Michael Barrett | July 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

In this third of three videos extracted from a recent 50+ person virtual workshop of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, you’ll learn the three reasons you should close every workshop with an opportunity for your participants to reflect on the session and see how to incorporate it into yours.

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How to Set Up Your Virtual Breakout Sessions

By Michael Barrett | June 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

In this second of three videos extracted from a recent 50+ person workshop of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, you’ll learn a best practice for setting the stage for your breakout sessions.

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Virtual Facilitation Techniques in Practice – Welcome Slide

By Michael Barrett | May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Excerpts from a recent SouthEast Association of Facilitators ( virtual session.

As we transition into the world of virtual delivery, it can be helpful to see how others do it well.  In this video (these videos), Michael Barrett, Certified Master Facilitator and President of the Southeast Association of Facilitators, models several best practices as he moderates a recent SEAF session with over 50 participants.  

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One That Went Well: Best Practices for Mixed/Virtual Meetings

By Michael Barrett | April 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

 In this video you’ll learn how you can apply six best practices of a Certified Master FacilitatorTM for your next mixed/virtual workshop 

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The Importance of Joining a Facilitation Organization

By Michael Barrett | March 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

In this video, learn three reasons why YOU should join an association of your facilitation peers.

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Flip Chart Best Practices

By Michael Barrett | February 2, 2020 | 2 Comments

In this video, you’ll learn four best practices for using flip charts in your workshops and the value they will bring to you AND your participants.

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The Power of Visuals in your Workshops

By Michael Barrett | December 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

Learn why posting content on the walls is such a powerful tool for your workshop.

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Participant Briefing Books: the Whats, Hows and Whys

By Michael Barrett | November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

Learn everything you need to know about Participant Briefing Books: What they are, How to Create them, and Why you should use them.

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Starting Virtual Meetings with Impact

By Michael Barrett | October 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

 In this video, learn a Certified Master Facilitator’s best practices for kicking off your virtual meetings with impact, poise and composure.

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How to prepare participants for your virtual workshops

By Michael Barrett | September 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

Five tips to ensure that your participants are as prepared as you are for your next virtual workshop.

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What to pack for your next facilitated workshop

By Michael Barrett | August 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

What supplies do you need for your next facilitated session? In this video, you’ll see what a Certified Master Facilitator TM packs for virtually every engagement.

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How to Design Virtual Workshops

By Michael Barrett | June 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

Saturday, June 08, 2019 – by Michael Barrett

Virtual workshops are MUCH more complex than face-to-face events. In this video, you’ll learn five best practices for designing virtual sessions from a certified master facilitator.

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How to get Better Results with Fewer Meetings

By Michael Barrett | May 5, 2019 | 1 Comment

Sunday, May 05, 2019 – by Michael Barrett

In this video, you’ll learn from a Certified Master Facilitator five practical, tactical ways to reduce the number of meetings you have while making each one much more productive. 

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The TRUE Costs of a Facilitated Meeting

By Michael Barrett | March 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

Monday, March 25, 2019 – by Michael Barrett

Professional facilitators typically represent one of the smallest costs involved in running a great workshop. In this video you’ll explore the TRUE costs of workshops facilitated well and those run poorly.

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Tension and Release: Another key to great workshop design

By Michael Barrett | March 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

In this video, you’ll learn how to apply a jazz musician’s trick to the workshops you design and facilitate.

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The importance of divergence and convergence in your workshops

By Michael Barrett | February 28, 2019 | 4 Comments

Regardless of the topic, learn why these two elements should be part of ANY workshop you facilitate.

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How to Build A Workshop Agenda

By Michael Barrett | January 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ever wondered how to build a great workshop agenda? In this video, learn how to think like a golfer in designing your workshops.

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Essential Skills for Facilitators

By Michael Barrett | November 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

Learn why Questioning, Listening and Neutrality are absolutely essential skills for workshop facilitators.

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Be Present

By Michael Barrett | October 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

Learn why and how “being present” is THE difference between good facilitators and GREAT facilitators.

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The differences between facilitation and training

By Michael Barrett | September 23, 2018 | 2 Comments

Learn the subtle and significant differences between facilitation and a training from someone who does both.

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An Introduction to “Executive Presence”

By Michael Barrett | August 31, 2018 | 1 Comment

In this video, learn about Paul Aldo’s flagship workshop, “Executive Presence” from a senior facilitator, Michael Barrett.

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“Toss a bouquet” to Keep the Energy High

By Michael Barrett | July 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

Learn how to use a very simple yet very effective facilitation technique to keep your workshop participants engaged while you’re capturing their input.

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The biggest pitfalls in recording your participants’ input

By Michael Barrett | July 6, 2018 | 3 Comments

In this video, you’ll learn the three “cardinal sins” when capturing the input of your workshop participants.

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How to Include Virtual Participants in Your Meetings

By Michael Barrett | June 18, 2018 | 6 Comments

Learn four techniques to ensure that those who are out of the room are still in your meetings.

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Why Non-Verbals Matter

By Michael Barrett | May 18, 2018 | 2 Comments

As a workshop facilitator, what you DON’T say can be much more important than what you DO. Learn why and how to manage your non-verbal communications in this video.

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How Adults Learn

By Michael Barrett | April 22, 2018 | 4 Comments

In this video, you’ll gain useful tips on how to incorporate adult learning theory into the meetings you lead.

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Why People Disagree

By Michael Barrett | March 22, 2018 | 7 Comments

It seems like there are thousands of reasons people disagree, doesn’t it? There are actually only three. In this video, you’ll learn what those three reasons are AND how you can deal with them in the meetings you lead.

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What to do When Life Gets in the Way of Your Workshop Plan

By Michael Barrett | March 2, 2018 | 14 Comments

Learn the three simple questions you should ask whenever your participants suggest a radical change to our workshop agenda.

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Breakout Teams: Who and How Many?

By Michael Barrett | February 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

Breakout teams often breakdown because they haven’t been sufficiently planned. Learn practical, time-proven tips you can use from a Certified Master Facilitator (TM) on how to construct breakout teams by asking three simple but powerful questions.

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Breakout Sessions – How to Plan and Time Them

By Michael Barrett | January 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Learn how to master breakout sessions with these four steps for planning and timing them.

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The Power of Commitment Over Content

By Michael Barrett | January 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

As a facilitator, if you’re focused on how right your participants are, you are focused on the wrong thing. In this video, learn what you should focus on instead.  

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How to Close Your Workshops

By Michael Barrett | December 9, 2017 | 1 Comment

Learn how to close your workshops with a five-step process to ensure your participants leave with a sense of accomplishment and momentum.

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How to Use Breakouts in Your Facilitated Sessions

By Michael Barrett | November 12, 2017 | 1 Comment

Learn how to plan and manage this powerful engagement strategy in your workshops.

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How to Time a Workshop

By Michael Barrett | October 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Learn four specific considerations for planning the timing of your workshop.

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Why and How to Start Your Workshops on Time

By Michael Barrett | October 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Learn why it’s so important to start your workshops on time and four simple techniques to ensure you do.

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To Survey or Not Survey: That is the Question

By Michael Barrett | September 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Learn if and how to survey the stakeholders of your workshops to ensure you’ve got the right foundation of information for your discussion.  

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Workshop Engagement Strategies

By Michael Barrett | August 27, 2017 | 10 Comments

In this video, you’ll learn about what engagement strategies are, why they are so important and how you can incorporate them into your workshops.

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How to Use Lobbying in Your Workshops

By Michael Barrett | July 30, 2017 | 1 Comment

Giving your participants the opportunity to lobby each other before they vote is a great technique to improve the quality of AND the buy-in to their decisions. Learn the seven steps to successful lobbying in this video.

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How to Use a Workshop Parking Lot

By Michael Barrett | June 24, 2017 | 7 Comments

Many people attempt to use this powerful facilitation tool…Few use it well.In this video, you’ll learn how to set it up, how to use it and how to close it out in every one of your meetings

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Meeting Ground Rules

By Michael Barrett | May 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

In this video, learn about meeting ground rules: What they are; Why they matter and How you can use them to significantly improve the effectiveness of your meetings. 

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Executive Presence – The “Expressive Dimensions”

By Michael Barrett | May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

In this video, you’ll learn about how people recognize executive presence in leaders through nine “expressive dimensions”.

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Executive Presence Making it Work for You – Intro

By Michael Barrett | April 12, 2017 | 2 Comments

Here’s a glimpse of Executive Presence from a recent team-teaching event with my training partner, Charles Lewis. In this video, learn why Executive Presence is so important to you in both your professional and personal lives and how you can learn more.

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Executive Presence: Making it Work for You, Part 1

By Michael Barrett | March 17, 2017 | 1 Comment

Hear how powerful it can be to focus on the expressive dimensions of Relationship for your own executive presence in this excerpt from a recent class that Michael taught. 

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Managing Dysfunction in Your Workshops – Part 3

By Michael Barrett | February 11, 2017 | 1 Comment

How can you manage dominating personalities? Managing this dysfunction is important – ARTFULLY managing it is even better. 

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Managing Dysfunction in your workshops – Part 2

By Michael Barrett | January 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

Learn how you can turn “naysayers” into strong supportersAND improve the product of the workshop.

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Managing Dysfunction in Your Workshops Part 1

By Michael Barrett | January 18, 2017 | 7 Comments

What do you do when participants are checked out? Learn how to bring “just enough” intervention.

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How to Prevent Dysfunction in your Workshops

By Michael Barrett | December 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

The best workshop dysfunction is the dysfunction that NEVER occurs. 
Learn about three common types of meeting dysfunction and how to prevent them before they ever happen.

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Conflict vs. Dysfunction

By Michael Barrett | November 26, 2016 | 3 Comments

Knowing how to recognize the difference between conflict and dysfunction is a very important facilitation skill. Learn the subtle signs of each in this video. 

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The Power of Intention

By Michael Barrett | November 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

See how a lesson from my massage therapy experience can fundamentally change the workshops you facilitate.

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Are you a facilitator or a consultant?

By Michael Barrett | October 5, 2016 | 15 Comments

Many people who lead meetings don’t recognize the critical distinction between facilitating and consulting. Let me share how to recognize if you’ve crossed the line from facilitator to consultant, and what the consequences might be.

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Suggested Ground Rules for Facilitating Next Steps Discussions

By Michael Barrett | September 20, 2016 | 1 Comment

Learn about 3 simple ground rules to ensure the next steps in your meetings position the participants for success. 

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Your Workshop Participants’ Personal Objectives

By Michael Barrett | August 21, 2016 | 1 Comment

Learn the importance of understanding participants’ personal objectives and how to utilize them in your workshop.

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Managing Your Boss in Your Meeting

By Michael Barrett | July 29, 2016 | 2 Comments

Your boss is in the meeting you are facilitating. See how you can you plan ahead to ensure that they help and not hinder the discussion with your team.

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How to Prep for Your Next Workshop

By Michael Barrett | July 10, 2016 | 1 Comment

Without proper planning, it’s almost impossible to have an effective and impactful workshop. Learn about three of the most important planning considerations in this video.

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Decision Rights

By Michael Barrett | June 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Is your team providing input or making decisions? Find out why this question is so important and how you can confidently answer it.      

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When to Hire a Facilitator

By Michael Barrett | May 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

Knowing when to hire a facilitator is a skill all good leaders should have.

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When to Update Your Plan

By Michael Barrett | May 4, 2016 | 2 Comments

There are 3 important indicators that it is time to update your strategic plan.

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Enough! Let’s Move On

By Michael Barrett | April 8, 2016 | 6 Comments

A powerful ground rule you and your session participants will love…

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How do you choose a workshop facilitator?

By Michael Barrett | November 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

In the fragmented marketplace of workshop facilitators, it can be very hard to know who to choose to lead your team through the next “high stakes” discussion your organization needs right now.  

And make no mistake, it has a huge impact.

You want to make sure you’re not poised to throw away a bunch of money – or squander the opportunity to have this specific conversation with your team. You may only have one shot at this.

Choosing your next meeting / workshop facilitator

1. Look for professional certifications. 
There are two that define the current ‘body of knowledge’ in workshop facilitation. 
Find someone certified in one/both of these and your confidence should go WAY up that they’ve studied the craft and embrace a proven methodology.

“Certified Professional Facilitator” (CPF) from the IAF is a good entry level certification. There are hundreds world-wide, which narrows the search field quite a bit.

“Certified Master Facilitator” (CMF) from INIFAC is the clear “gold standard”. There are less than 2 dozen of these in the world. No kidding. In the world.

2. Ensure you’ve got great chemistry with whomever you choose. 
You’ll be working closely with them for several weeks or months at a time. 
Work with someone you can connect with.

You’ll be putting a lot on the line with them. 
Work with someone you can trust to help you meet your goals.

Net – Find someone you can feel VERY comfortable sharing all the stuff you’d like to see improved and someone you feel is CLEARY a proven expert in helping clients achieve those same ends.

If any of this resonates with you, please let me know. I’d love to chat. 

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Every ‘master’ needs a light saber…

By Michael Barrett | October 15, 2015 | 3 Comments

I had one of the most enjoyable experiences of my facilitation career this week and thought that this group of fellow Certified Master Facilitators in particular would appreciate it.  

I was facilitating a small (7 person) workshop over the last two days and during the introductions, my client said to me, “I’ve got a gift for you…”

He then shared the story of the conversation he had with his 6 year old son the night before, when he asked his dad what he was going to be doing the next day…

Dad: “I’m going to be in a workshop that will be led by a certified MASTER facilitator.” 
Son: “A MASTER???? REALLY???” 
Dad: “yep” 
Son: “Like a JEDI MASTER???” 
Dad: (beginning to chuckle) “I supposed so, yeah…” 
Son: “Do you think he has a light saber?” 
Dad: (really trying not to lose it at this point…) “I’m not sure, son…probably not…” 
Son: “Daddy, would you please give him one of mine? EVERY Jedi master needs a light saber”

At which time his dad, my client, presented me with the light saber you see attached.

At the end of the session, I told him that, in spite of how touched I was by the gesture, I REALLY didn’t want to take his son’s toy.

To which he replied…

“Michael, two things: 1) He really, really wants you to have it. He thinks that the whole “master” thing is just off the charts cool… And 2) we’ve got so many of these around the house I keep tripping over them. PLEASE take one!”

I can NOT stop smiling whenever I see it.

I am sure this will become part of my kit box going forward.

How could it not?

I hope you all have a great weekend.

And may the force be with you!

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Watch The Water, Not The Rocks

By Michael Barrett | October 8, 2015 | 0 Comments

On a recent “old guys reunion” boating trip, I was reminded of a lesson I learned years ago. As a novice kayaker facing a new set of rapids, I would focus on all the obstacles in the path: the big rocks, the “keeper” rapids, the tree branch lodged in the middle of the river. As I started into the flow, I would keep all these dangers in sight, so I could be sure to avoid them. Invariably, I’d wind up on, in, or under the very things I was trying to avoid.

One day, as I desperately tried to keep from bouncing off rocks and getting sucked under water, I saw a veteran kayaking friend easily surfing every wave, and even hamming it up to the crowd lined up along the banks of the river. When we met up at the bottom of the run, I asked with humility, “how in the world can you do that?”

His answer: “Once you know where the dangers are, watch the water, not the rocks”.

This concept was and is profound, and one I continue to use often in business:

– You move toward what you see and what you see is a function of what you choose to look at. 
– If you focus on the obstacles in your way, you will go toward them. 
– If you focus instead on the water flowing between the rocks, you hold your line and not only survive, but even enjoy the run.

Make no mistake. Then as now, the dangers ahead are very real; the obstacles in front of us are enormous; the margins for error are small. If you find yourself facing a set of business rapids you’ve never run (and who among us has ever run THIS river before?) consider his advice.

Now more than ever, it’s time to focus on the water, not the rocks.

If you know others for whom this might resonate, feel free to pass it along. If you’d like to chat about how to successfully navigate your course, we would love to help. Contact us today >> 

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