What pops into mind when you think about your best Forum experiences? Try to describe what made them stand out. Did your group have a breakthrough with a fresh perspective? Did you discover an intriguing topic? Perhaps it had amazing energy and engagement.
You can turn this exercise on its head and use it to evaluate Forum meetings and retreats that hit a rough patch, as will happen now and then. Think about your most disappointing Forum experiences. Why did they fall flat? Were the topics boring, or did people lose their energy? Or maybe you found that you weren’t getting to the 5% often enough.
As a certified ForumSherpa facilitator nearly all of my clients are in a Forum such as YPO, EO and PEG. I absolutely love my clients’ growth mindset and understand it is often supported by their Forum. Yet, despite their desire to learn and grow, I’ve worked with many Forums that have fallen into a rut. We can help members in multiple ways.
1. Facilitators Are Catalysts
A certified facilitator can help members look at issues from a fresh angle and energize a group that has gotten too comfortable. I can serve as a catalyst that inspires new ways of thinking within the Forum. In fact, I’ve noticed that my curiosity as a facilitator often leads to a deeper exploration of a topic by the members.
2. New Resources and Processes
Your facilitator can introduce new resources and processes. For example, many Forums I’ve served follow the same update format for a year or more. Trying something new pushes individuals to think differently about their relationships, their experiences and themselves. I keep up to date on new resources, tools and processes and deliver them to group members when I facilitate Forums. Even a simple change such as a new update form can inspire members to go deeper.
3. Support for Deeper Sharing
Facilitators shoulder the burden and responsibility for helping members dig deeply and grow. They provide an extra level of support that allows Forum members to open up about personal and professional topics. Plus, everyone, including the moderator and the retreat planner, gets to relax and fully enjoy the process because the facilitator is handling the details.
4. Reduced Burden on Retreat Preparation
Your certified retreat facilitator is responsible for preparing the “work” agenda for your retreat, gathering exercises, providing pre-work for members to complete in advance and preparing a workbook of materials for the retreat. This takes a considerable burden of time, energy and resources off of the Forum members, especially the retreat planner. For some people, this is the best part!
5. Getting to the 5%
Finally, getting to the 5% effortlessly can be the best reason to use a certified facilitator for your Forum retreats and boosts throughout the year. The facilitator can bring resources, ideas and topics that inspire Forum members to share their 5% with less pre-work. This is an exciting and rewarding process for the Forum and the facilitator.
Consider again your best and worst Forum retreats. Are you ready to maximize your Forum experience? Please contact ForumSherpa to schedule your next Forum retreat or Forum boost. We love helping Forums reach new heights of depth and increase Forum take-away value!