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Trust the group, and some amazing stuff can be achieved together!

Hello dear Reader,

I’m Jani Turku from Finland, my original background is in engineering, which is a tingling combination for the project since ere I am representing the improvisor’s mindset and never-ending curiosity.

Most of my days are somehow related to facilitation, it can be about facilitating a client process or facilitating a skills building that can be applied to presentation skills, interaction skills or how to improvise together. My experience in applying improvisation in theatre and for life skills in and out of work combined with the technical background helps me to understand what the content experts need and how they wish to be trained and on the other hand through improvisation I have the courage and methods to get people on their feet and start experiencing and co-creating together.

Facilitation is about an understanding of human interaction, and how to make the most of this valuable time spent together. Facilitators can disrupt existing habits and help the group to achieve their full potential. A facilitator can be a part of, or apart from, the group. In either case, the role is a special one. A facilitator is concerned about the overall arc of a meeting or workshop, encouraging participation, surfacing dissenting views, encouraging listening and dialogue, and building connections and meaning.

No two groups are the same, no two meetings are the same, no two workshops are the same.

An approach that works brilliantly in one context can fail badly in another. Facilitation is a muscle and there’s be a substitute for personal experience. Keep going to the gym and your muscles will grow.

My approach in any facilitation is to do my homework properly, i.e. read about the subject, get to know the participants and the company, and prepare 1–3 plans of how the meeting or workshops should go. It never goes as planned, so usually I will have to improvise. General misinterpretation regarding improvisation is that when you don’t prepare, then you have to improvise, but that’s not actually improvising, that’s surviving. With proper preparation you are most skilled and able to improvise when needed.

The recipe to do good facilitation is easy, you need

A) personal skills, so-called metaskills of improvisation to be the facilitator you need to be,

B) some sort of collection of exercises, your personal library of activities for specific needs or general methods to get people going

C) capabilities of running a proper debrief that will support the participant learning, and

D) Facilitator’s Mindset to select proper processes, suitable environment/space, and handling the practicalities of time and progress.

The factor analysis for this is easy, the multiplication result is as strong as these factors together: A x B x C x D. Simple math is that improve in all areas by 20% and you are twice as good and double your efforts and you are eight times what you used to be.


Author: Jani Turku, cultural entrepreneur, project partner in the LEEN project

The LEEN project is funded by the ERASMUS+ programme (Agreement No. : 2015–1-BEO2-KA2O1-O12334). Project webpage: http://l33n.eu/