Facilitation Tip: Grounding

With our new Advanced Certified ScrumMaster course, I’ve been focused on facilitation skills for leaders.  I thought maybe sharing quick small facilitation techniques and tips would be a good series posts (to compliment the exercise write-ups posts).

Facilitation Challenge: As a facilitator, everyone (or at least majority) in the room are at a heightened emotional state. People are talking over each other – not listening – starting to yell, etc.

Habits: A common habit or initial reaction to this challenge is the urge to tell everyone to just calm down a little. Only you know telling people to calm down will actually result in anything but calming down.

Better Approach: Ask for everyone to sit down. Place their hand on the top of their legs and for the next minute just slowly press down their leg towards their knees. Repeat slowly thinking – allow your mind to clear.

What happens the first time you do this:

  • Some people will breathe very deeply as they do this
  • Some people will do it once or twice and be ready
  • Some will need the full minute
  • Some people will right to pass
  • The energy should shift to allow for better communication.

Then you will explain this technique:

  1. Sometimes when we are doing difficult work, we need to ground ourselves.
  2. There are numerous ways to help our brains engage back: deep conscious breaths but also in this grounding movement.
  3. Feel free to do this whenever you need to help yourself.

What happens the next time:

  • More people will do this immediately with you
  • Some will do this randomly as they need

The benefits are really simple but powerful. We need to respect our brains quest of helping us survive.  As facilitators, we need to honor the challenging emotional work being down and create a space where people feel grounded to continue.

What technique do you use to get people feeling grounded?

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