NorthStar FACILITATOR

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Welcome! Read posts with helpful case scenarios, training ideas, videos, Facilitator Learning Module recommendations for specific training, and competency skills. Learn new techniques or keep your facilitation skills refreshed with quick, easy to read posts.

“I am so inspired by your blogs. I eagerly look forward to them. I find myself pausing in my workday to read them immediately.  Wonderful, practical AND workable tips to use immediately in my work. Keep up the wonderful work.”  –Rachel

“Although I may not read every edition, when I do, your newsletter always contains some gems.” –I.B.

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    Avoid Team Gridlock! Move Forward Using Consensus

    28 Jun, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    Today, I am co-training one of my favorite two-day courses called ToP Facilitation methods with my incredibly talented colleagues Judy Weddle and Teresa Lingafelter. We have 23 people from 18 different organizations. And, last week I was teaching this course in Wisconsin with my wonderful colleague, Bev Scow at her workplace, Wise Women Gathering Place. […]

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    Groups Want Safety – A Facilitator’s Guide to Creating Safe Space

    14 Jun, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    With a recent event in the US around a mass shooting in a nightclub in Orlando, I grieve once again for the fact that safety is not apparent or a given for many people around the world. I was born and spent most of my life in a country, Canada, where we have not had […]

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    No tools, techniques or theory! Just facilitation theology

    31 May, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    You may not know that I was once the director of religious education for a church in the 1980s. I have always been quite fascinated with religion and theology. I do not profess to be a scholar of religion. I have been brought up in, practiced and studied several. But I do know of all […]

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    Recipes for Energizing Your Team Celebrations!

    17 May, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    Who doesn’t love to celebrate?! And it’s an important step for our teams and groups as well. I want share with you three meaningful “games” for three different scenarios. These activities are related to celebrating an aspect of the team or organization. I will include the learning theory behind the game, the process for delivering […]

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    Are You “Dropping In” or “Dropping On” Your Group?

    3 May, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    I recently passed my 21st anniversary in business and I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about a long time. This is a concept of dropping in vs. dropping on your client group. This is what I mean by each term: “Dropping on” is the process of creating an agenda and moving from item […]

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    Tips from Trini – What I Learned From an Astrophysicist and More

    19 Apr, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    I know everybody does not get to attend facilitator conferences. Last week I got home from the Trinidad Tobago International Association of Facilitators North America (IAFNA) conference and honestly, my memories are still very soft, precious and almost indescribably delicious. I feel compelled to give you a brief overview of some sessions I attended and […]

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    Get a Group “Inside” a 100+ Page Document in 12+ Minutes

    5 Apr, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    How is that possible you ask? I do this regularly both in my facilitation and training events. I adapted the idea for this technique from an organization called Learning Strategies in Minneapolis. About 18 years ago, they called it “photo-reading”. I added in my own touches based on good facilitator protocols I learned from ICA’s […]

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    Human Rights Show Up in Every Meeting – Are You Honoring Them?

    22 Mar, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    I want to talk to you about a very special place I visited when I was in Winnipeg, Canada last week. See the bottom of this blog for more information about this museum.  This place touched my heart so deeply as I think human rights is at the forefront of our work as facilitators, mediators and […]

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    Four Facilitator Lessons From Dancing Under the Moon!

    8 Mar, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    I am giving you permission to NOT read this blog because after all I am just going to share about one of the most powerful experiences of my life and how it makes me understand even more deeply the power of facilitation….  And how we might best offer our essential and urgent services to the […]

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    How to Find Out if You Have Enough Tools

    23 Feb, 2016 - Barbara MacKay

    At every course I teach, I hear participants say, “I want more tools for my facilitation toolkit or meetings.” Even if you are an experienced facilitator, you may be surprised at what you learn in this article. Do you know what type of tools you need? Do you have enough of each type of tool? […]

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