We are surrounded by noise, internal and external. After a while it just seems like a cacophony of sound and it becomes harder and harder to discern what I need to listen to. At the same time, it seems like it is more important than ever to figure out how to listen to one another and come to some sort of mutual understanding. How do we do that?
As a facilitator it’s my job to make sure that everyone in the room knows what we are trying to accomplish, that everyone has a voice and that we have some ground rules in place to keep the lines of communication open while honoring our intention.
Sounds easy enough, right? Where this breaks down is often due to a lack of transparency in any given process or conversation. If the participants come to the table with different expectations, opposing agendas and with a defensive mind-set they are set up to fail. Creating a safe space is the first task of the facilitator in such a situation.
My personal cocktail for these types of situations is a blend of vulnerability and humor. Start with the easy, less personal questions that create some laughter, releases tension and helps to pave some common ground. Momentum is built and used to propel the group to a deeper place, holding that vulnerability and transparency that is required for authentic communication.
When this type of authentic communication can be achieved – things change. A discerning process creates a container for movement from the surface, where our differences separate us, to a deeper place of unity. The individual stories are told and woven together into a new story that is bigger, more open and able to hold it all.
Have some high stakes conversations in your future? Let me help you create a safe space for you and your team to gather and discern, together, the next steps for your organization.