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

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    Four Lessons from Twenty Years of Facilitation Practice

    18 Nov, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    Next year is my 20th 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 [...]

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    “Did you say conflict?”

    4 Nov, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    Recently I have had a number of people download our free webinar recording on conflict. Thanks for doing that. Given this interest, I decided to write about conflict this week. These are the four things we will tackle briefly in today’s every second Tuesday blog: Why is conflict scary? Why should you NOT be afraid [...]

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    11 Must Do’s For Better Meetings

    21 Oct, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    This week and last week I have been delivering a customized version of our Meetings That Rock in webinar format to a group of managers in Alaska who are motivated to improve the way their meetings are conducted.  One of the handouts we provide them is on the 11 steps of participatory meetings.  I thought [...]

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    When Things Heat Up – What Expert Larry Dressler Does

    7 Oct, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    Over the last year we have featured a number of facilitators asking them the same questions.  This month we have the wonderful treat from hearing from a well known facilitator and author, Larry Dressler.  Larry wrote “Standing In The Fire” and has just had his book translated into Japanese!  I met Larry for the first [...]

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    Stop Wasting Everything You’ve Learned About Facilitation

    23 Sep, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    I pulled a book off my shelf today by Susan Jeffers, “Embracing Uncertainty: Breakthrough Methods for Achieving Peace of Mind When Facing the Unknown”. The title is totally relevant to what I call facilitation design. (Ms. Jeffers also wrote “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”).   In this blog, I’m going to talk about a model [...]

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    To Certify or Not To Certify

    9 Sep, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    Many people ask us whether to certify as a process facilitator or not.   In this brief video blog, I’m going to answer “Why” facilitator certification is invaluable and highlight “What” 3 different processes will require.   Do You Remember? Here are my top 3 reasons to start your journey towards facilitator certification: It’s an invaluable [...]

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    Let’s Talk About My Mistakes

    26 Aug, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    Making mistakes.  We all make mistakes yet it is fairly painful to talk about them.  It also potentially compromises our credibility.  I listened to a radio show last night about a Canadian doctor who shared a TedTalk about the biggie mistakes he had made.  Wow! Doctors talking about mistakes! Then I heard Brene Brown talk [...]

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    Just Say “Yes” to Small Groups

    12 Aug, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    I heard some birds chirping outside my window while I was meditating the other morning. I am supposed to just notice the chirping and then go back to my breath. But instead I took a moment to really enjoy those sounds. Unfortunately, I digressed even further because it reminded me of my childhood. I used [...]

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    Calling All Gen X & Y Facilitators – We Need You!

    29 Jul, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    You’ve been thinking about becoming an independent, solo facilitator for a long time.  You have a good job and you’re a little reluctant (or a lot reluctant) to give up the security of your job, the camaraderie of your colleagues and/or perhaps the prestige of your position.  I faced this decision in mid-1990′s.  I was [...]

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    An Amazing Journey – Triumph in Hong Kong

    15 Jul, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    It is important to know our stories as facilitators, coaches, mentors and facilitation trainers. What are the diverse pathways we take? Our confidence and spirits are boosted by hearing about how others’ triumph over challenges and the pathways they take to have profound impact in the world. A few months ago, we featured three Three [...]