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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    Creating Group Guidelines for Terrific Teamwork

    30 Jun, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Getting teamwork off to a solid start is critical to the success of the project and to the team. Here are some tips for how to set customized team guidelines (also known as ground rules) as well as offer them typical guidelines from which they could pick and choose.  Both activities take from 15 to [...]

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    What’s the Strategic in Strategic Thinking and Planning?

    16 Jun, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Why bother learning how to think, decide, prioritize and plan more strategically? Most of us are “getting through” life and work reasonably using our current thinking skills and abilities, experience and knowledge. Why bother with continuing to learn and practice the specifics of strategic thinking and planning? In this blog, I offer some of my [...]

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    Bringing Our Whole Selves to the Group – Reflections from Banff IAF

    2 Jun, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    In my last newsletter, I was raving about the location and the people I encountered at IAF North America in Banff, Alberta, Canada. I’d like to share some of the key learning highlights for me. They range from sessions I co-facilitated related to virtual facilitation and reflective/spiritual practices to organizational culture change to looking at [...]

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    All Things Sticky – Care and Use of Sticky Walls

    19 May, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    What is this sticky wall tool? Many of you have seen me or others around the world use the infamous facilitator tool called the sticky wall. Sticky walls typically come in blue or purple and other colors, are 5’ X 12’ (about 1.5 X 3.7 meters), and are made of ripstock nylon.  You can purchase [...]

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    When Your “Perfect” Agenda Isn’t Working Perfectly

    5 May, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Three perfect jobs! Each one of them required major adjustments to the agenda. Each of these adjustments turned out beautifully. So as I reflect back on these three perfect yet challenging client meetings, I realize that I have become consciously competent at changing agendas on the fly! Here’s my attempt to share the steps and [...]

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    Choose the BEST EVER Professional Development Plan – For You!

    21 Apr, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Thousands of dollars. Hundreds of thousands of miles. Weeks and weeks of my time. What could possibly justify this level of investment? Why do I go to the IAF (International Association of Facilitators) conference at least once, if not twice a year? Why do I make it a good part of my professional development (PD) [...]

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    Take My Advice After 20 Years… Just Fly!

    7 Apr, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Next week is my exact 20th anniversary for starting my business. I officially started it on April 15, 1995. With this blog, I reminisce about how it is to start a business, what are the stages you go through, where I have been, where I am now, and where I would like to go. Here’s my story [...]

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    Leverage Your Tools – Turning One Method Into MANY

    24 Mar, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    How many of us have a smartphone that we rarely use just as a phone? It was originally designed to be a phone but now we also use it for a GPS, an audio recorder, a camera and video recorder, alarm clock, newspaper, MP3 player, social media, email, restaurant and movie finder, TV, blogger, etc. [...]

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    Wake Them Up! Raising Energy in Meetings

    10 Mar, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Low energy, boring, waste of time. What do these 3 words conjure up for you? Likely most of you answered – meetings! What if we could get all of our meetings off to a positive, high-energy, anything but boring start? Today, we’ll focus on the benefits of perking your group up right from the start [...]

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    This is Why You Shouldn’t Give Up on Virtual Meetings

    24 Feb, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    So here’s what happened… I had what felt like a major failure with my free webinar last week. We had practiced everything. All the layouts were perfect – well not exactly perfect but good enough. But the technology surprised us to say the least. Close to the beginning, we were in the middle of conducting [...]