NorthStar FACILITATOR

Blog

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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    Magical Experiences in Mumbai! Highlights of IAF Asia 2015

    25 Aug, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Scenes from our pre conference led by Lilian Wang, Yvonne Yam and me with 23 people from India, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and possibly Taiwan, and me from USA. Food was consistently amazing. Best vegetarian food I know of plus some amazing meat dishes. One night we restaurant hopped to the best Biriyani, best [...]

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    Raise the Bar on Meeting Participation – The Art of Visuals

    11 Aug, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    No one remembers what went on in your meeting. No one knows what to do. People look blank when you ask them a question in your meeting. People repeat themselves over and over in the same meeting or from meeting to meeting. People are literally falling asleep in the meeting. These may be signs that [...]

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    Sweat the Small Stuff

    28 Jul, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Think Like an Astronaut…Oops, Like a Facilitator (Part 2) In our second video series, learn how thinking like an astronaut can help you prepare and execute a facilitation “mission”. This video provides specific, on-the-job tips. 4. Sweat the Small Stuff – Everything Counts.  In contrast to the famous book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, our [...]

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    Think Like An Astronaut…Oops, Like a Facilitator (Part 1)

    13 Jul, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Think like an astronaut – what are we talking about? I read a cool book of that name by Chris Hadfield who was the first Canadian man to walk in space. It seems like he has a lot of great lessons for us in general as earthlings but also for us as meeting facilitators. I [...]

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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) [...]