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.

  • 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 […]

  • Facilitator Succinctness

    5 Sep, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    SUCCINCT! I’ve always loved that word. So my question to everyone of us who facilitates meetings and workshops is: Are you succinct enough? In our recent concurrent session at IAF Asia, several people noted that we needed to be clearer in our instructions with the big group. This is an example of where we were […]

  • Deepen Your Impact – What Seoul Taught My Soul

    22 Aug, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    In just a minute, you will read and see more about deepening your impact when you facilitate groups. But first, take a tour of Seoul’s, South Korea, incredible depth via a few photos. Imagine what this country has been through and is going through. Breathe in the richness, depth, resilience, creativity of these people! Then, […]

  • Facilitation Tools – Do’s and Don’ts!

    8 Aug, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    Everyone seems to want to know more facilitation tools. Every course we teach, we hear participants say, “I want more tools for my facilitation toolkit”. We’d like to remind you that a facilitation tool is worth nothing if you don’t know how to do it correctly and you don’t have the right tone and stance […]

  • 6 Facilitator Styles That Will Keep You Out of Trouble!

    25 Jul, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    In this blog we will talk about our facilitator style and presence. These are the things you need to cultivate in yourself to effectively solicit meaningful participation or group engagement. Personally, as I look back over 20 or more years of facilitating, I think my style has been one of the most important aspects of […]

  • Four Steps to Elegant Meeting Design

    4 Jul, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    Recently I have been thinking a lot about designing. For months, I’ve been designing a three-part series for people who want to learn the essence of elegant meeting facilitation. There is nothing more satisfying to me than designing an agenda, or a curriculum. It is a creative and logical process that uses every once (gram!) […]

  • Finding Joy in Facilitation

    27 Jun, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    I realized that for several blogs in a row, I have written about fairly heavy topics. And my mood is lighter these days. How about we talk about finding joy in facilitation? Hummingbirds are messengers of joy thus the art piece in the banner above. My friend, Julie, another facilitator among many other talents, gave […]

  • Team Collaboration – Ten Simple Tools

    13 Jun, 2017 - Barbara MacKay

    One dictionary definition of the word “collaborate” is “to work jointly on an activity especially to produce or create something together”. I’ve been thinking lately of the recent nationalistic actions in the US and Britain as two prominent examples of collaboration efforts that failed for many reasons. It is easy to blame. Sometimes the set […]