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.

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  • Facilitator Marketing 101: Demystifying Blogging and YouTube

    9 Jan, 2018 - Barbara MacKay

    Since we are doing our first pilot of a marketing course for ToP Facilitators and trainers today in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, I thought I would talk about how to market yourself as a facilitator. In particular, I would like to cover blogging and “YouTubing”. I would have to say that blogging and creating YouTube videos […]

  • Got 10 minutes? The Power of Reflection

    26 Dec, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    I started to write my blog today and part way through it I felt like throwing it out the window – it was sooooooo boring! I felt I had said the same things a million times. So instead I’m just talking to you from the heart today – it is something I have wanted to […]

  • Create a Meeting Agenda Quickly – Template Inside!

    6 Dec, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    You’ll notice below that I’ve done a short 4 minute video introducing you to designing meeting agendas. However, I get to share the joy of my mosaic practice with you as well. Because I enjoy designing things so much, it’s likely no surprise that the art of mosaics is quite fascinating to me. In this […]

  • Facilitating When You Are Sick

    28 Nov, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    I haven’t been feeling well for a few days. I can feel a cold coming on. Usually I get pretty worried about getting sick. The worry comes from not being able to perform my so called duties. When I actually think about just the getting sick part, it brings up an amazing feeling of just […]

  • Tinkering with Open Space!

    14 Nov, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    A number of colleagues and I occasionally debate whether it’s ok to modify a well known, well established, outstanding framework. In the course of a recent conversation, a few of us came up with a modification to one of the steps in the Open Space Technology (OST) framework. For me, OST has always been a […]

  • A Facilitator’s Dilemma – Too Scary or Not Scary Enough?

    31 Oct, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    My Portland, USA colleague, Nanci Luna Jimenez (see Resources below) introduced me to the Comfort/Grow/Panic Zone model. We’ll show you more of this model inside the blog but suffice to say, I am constantly struggling with this as a life question. I am sure I am not alone based on discussions with colleagues. It is […]

  • Four Lessons from 22 Years of Facilitation Practice

    24 Oct, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    Next year is my 23rd anniversary for being in business as North Star Facilitators. That’s a relatively big piece of history for me.  As I reflect on my own journey, it’s sometimes hard to notice my successes. Likely many of us tend to focus on where we have struggled. I am no exception. In this […]

  • When the Facilitator Knows Nothing or Everything About the Subject

    17 Oct, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    A client asked me recently, “How do you facilitate when you know nothing about the subject?” I had to gulp and pause because it was actually true of what I was about to facilitate for that client. So I took a deep breath and, well…I’ll get back to that! Or, what about the opposite situation? […]

  • The Honest Truth About My Facilitation Footprint

    3 Oct, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    Today, I want to tell you how my facilitation practice has evolved over 25-30 years. What are the footsteps I have taken and what are the footprints I’ve left behind? How have I evolved in this time? This is a question that the IAF (International Association of Facilitators) has been asking us to answer for […]

  • Preparing to Facilitate – Are You Ready (Enough)?

    19 Sep, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    The photos we use in the banner and narrative for this revised 2011 blog are from my current trip in Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada. There are magnificent coastal views of course being on a spectacular island with much rain forest – albeit much of it has been logged. I was thinking […]