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Techniques for Successful Facilitation: Preparing for Personalities

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The authors of Designing the Conversation: Techniques for Successful Facilitation offer advice on how you, as a facilitator, can prepare for and learn to deal with different types of personalities and behavior traits.
  • I’m kind of a big deal around here...
  • — Ron Burgundy

One of the great wonders of the human race is that every person is unique. This wonder can wreak havoc for you as a facilitator, no matter your skill level. Past dealings with a variety of people help you prepare for certain types of personalities and behavior traits. However, it’s still a crapshoot when you sit down and start the conversation about how participants will actually react during a session.

When gathering a diverse group of participants, keep this old saying in mind: “It takes all kinds to make the world go around.” Likewise, it takes all kinds of people and personalities to understand complex problems and create game-changing solutions.

Creating a happy place

Regardless of the kinds of personalities in a group of participants, the best tactic is to create an environment where people feel safe to share, collaborate, and, most importantly, fail. By paying attention to participants’ behavior, their reactions to one another, and their body language, you can create an atmosphere of encouragement. If participants are willing to take risks and share ideas or information that is unexpected, participants of any personality type can become productive and engaged.

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