Group Facilitation-Introverted/Extroverted engagements
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Group Facilitation-Introverted/Extroverted engagements

I use to teach a class online on group facilitation. One of the key points was: Moderate the Extroverts, Stimulate the Introverts.

Everyone has a definition for Extroverts and Introverts, but mine has to be a little on the humorous side. *smile* 

Extroverts: Speak first, and may think second; Introverts Think first, and if they feel safe, may speak second.

The point being that if you are in a brainstorming group trying to get ideas, if you allow the extroverts to blather on and on, you most likely will not get any new ideas. They are entertaining themselves with clever reparte and dominating the sound waves, while the thinkers and ponderers are silent.

So if you want a new idea in business, do not dismiss your quiet thinkers. But how can you get them to share their ideas? By truly making it safe and encouraging for them to express their thoughts.  Some refuse to speak in public. Invite them to submit notes, and welcome and thank them for their efforts and thoughts, even if their ideas are not used.

In virtual worlds, I choose to facilitate what I call the voice floor. The taking of comments are done in a circle. Those who wish to contribute sit in the circle; those that do not, sit in the bleachers to observe. As we go around we ask if they would like to contribute their thoughts in Voice, Local Chat, Notecard (meaning they have typed their thoughts in advance, such as a long tale), or Pass.

Everyone that submits a comment will have the same air time. If they only want to submit in text, I will read their comments into the voice floor.

Safe and non-threatening environment. The introverts will most likely start with some safe repetition of an idea already expressed. If their comment is validated and appreciated the next will be more risky. I believe I have gotten at least 50% of my introverts to eventually speak up on voice in a meeting, and most all have made text contributions of value within text chat.

Now tuning down extroverts, smile, can be the other major hurdle. They have great thoughts, but may be a bit verbose on their presentations. Again appreciation, validation, and mentioning time constraints is a trial and error kind of a thing. Contacting them afterwards with validating conversation might also stimulate the thinking component that they didn't allow for during the race for ideas.

Virtual group facilitation makes it more possible than in Real to extract unique viewpoints. Come to the Roadside Philosopher's sometime and see what you think, or experiment on your own. 

I have a new facilitator in the Think Tank that is trying out his methodology, adding to my core construct. I am pleased to see things progress. Some day I hope to have the Think Tank filled at all hours of the day and night with Socratic conversations and pondering. 

The world is turning, changing faster than any one person has privy to, so do we have time to close off other perspectives? Absolutely not.

If you wish me to assist?  You know where I am.. Hugs, Pam

4 Comments to Group Facilitation-Introverted/Extroverted engagements:

Comments RSS on Thursday, September 27, 2012 7:34 AM
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Gannon Billy on Monday, October 29, 2012 12:42 AM
Nice expose! I'm pleased to know about the Group Facilitation-Introverted/Extroverted engagements from your post. I got some important info after reading out your post. Thanks and carry on...
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[email protected] on Friday, November 09, 2012 1:51 PM
That's a good technique for encouraging participation from everyone in your group. Some people will always tend to be reluctant to speak up in group environment, for fear of being criticized. I think the actually percentages vary depending on the age group and the culture that you are in. Giving people so many options in order to encourage them to make their contribution works. Thanks for sharing it with us so we can implement it in our own groups.
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Pamala Clift on Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:23 AM
I would like a more amiable method of collaborating, so love to think that the blog has contributed. Thanks so much for your input and the time to write. Please don't be a stranger, would love to hear how things change as a result of your new efforts. Hugs

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