The best thing about best practice…

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

.. is the practice.

The “best”? Not so much.

I usually panic a little when people ask me about best practice in facilitation. I found myself emailing this to a client the other day (he was asking about training facilitators): People often say they want best practice as if there is a safe and official way to run meetings whereas I believe everything is contextual. On the whole I don’t really like giving people recipe cards; I prefer them to see the excitement and challenge of facilitation is to be willing to try new things not rely on established formulae and each time be willing to “fail” as gracefully as possible, and carry on.

I have a similar response to models. As a wise man once said, to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Following preset methods for running meetings may blinker us in the same way. I met an open source software developer a while ago. He said if he invented a hammer today, he wouldn’t suggest it was a tool for hitting nails; he’d have to give it to people and watch what they do with it with an open mind. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

So for me, facilitation is a practice. As in, you never stop experimenting, you never stop learning. And one of the things you get to keep practicing is making mistakes and not allowing that to stop you trying new stuff.

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