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.

  • Contract-Clients

    No Regrets! 5 Lessons for Contracting with Clients

    13 Jan, 2015 - Barbara MacKay

    Whether we are in-house or external facilitators, we all have a client group. This group is depending on you to help them transform how they do business in the future. How you establish and meet your client’s expectations is critical to your and their success. I am just finishing up at our annual gathering of Technology [...]

  • Turtles-2

    Nervous Before the Big Gig? Five Ways to DeStress

    30 Dec, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    Feeling stressed about anything at all but especially before you start a gig or facilitated event? Take JUST five minutes of your time today — Here are my five “fav” destress before the big “gig” techniques  demonstrated in this short video.  Each one takes two minutes or less. Result: You are grounded, feeling present, able [...]

  • Planning-collage-2

    Things Go Better With Planning – Three Proven Processes

    16 Dec, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    For many of us, sometime over the next few months, we begin to think about how we want our next year to be (i.e., plan!). If you are working with your own team, it’s likely that you will make planning for your upcoming year a high priority. Some of you will be doing a simple [...]

  • Suitcase-collage-3

    Pack Your Bag – 6 Props for Awesome Meetings

    2 Dec, 2014 - Barbara MacKay

    In this video and written blog, I’m going to actually share what I do to get ready for a meeting and take you into my dining room to open up my workshop suitcase. Enjoy the video or just read below to get more ideas.   Every time I get ready for facilitating meetings, I notice [...]

  • Struggles-Successes-3

    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 [...]

  • Squirrel-Collage1

    “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 [...]

  • Better-Meetings-1

    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 [...]

  • Heat-up-banner-1

    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 [...]

  • Design-Collage-2

    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 [...]

  • Certification-Banner2

    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 [...]