What Food Network taught me about facilitation skills

I love Food Network. I never get tired of it. In fact, I could probably find more time for writing this blog (and a number of other things) if I watched less Food Network on Saturday mornings with a cup or three of coffee.

Ages ago – probably at least 5 years ago – I was watching an episode of Food Network Star. One of the team coaches, culinary brainiac Alton Brown, was dishing out advice to one of the contestants before filming a segment. He said something that stuck with me and I wrote it down….then yesterday, I found it stuck in a book that I never finished reading.

His statement was as memorable yesterday as it was back then. He said:

“The world will not explode if you are quiet for a moment.”

Thank you, Alton!

I know he was simply trying to calm the nerves and get the best on-camera performance from his chatty team member, but it was also a great reminder for facilitators.

Just because a facilitator is the one in front of the room, it doesn’t mean the facilitator needs to spend the entire time talking. Some of the most effective workshops, seminars and training sessions have been the ones have been the ones where the facilitator presents a concept, then takes a step back and allows the participants to make a discovery on their own.

I’m digging back in the phase(two)learning archives today…here are a few resources for my facilitator friends that have stood the test of time – they’re as relevant today as when they were first posted on the blog:

11 adult learner turnoffs (AKA: Don’t be THAT facilitator!) <— fun fact: this is the all-time most popular post in 7 years of phase(two)learning posts!

3 facilitation tips from Jimmy Fallon

3 tips to facilitate with confidence (even when you’re not an expert)

The introvert’s guide to being an awesome facilitator

Your turn: What are your tried-and-true facilitation tips? Discussion strategies? Go-to icebreakers? Share a tip or resource in the comments so we can learn together!


Speaking of facilitating…I’m facilitating at #ATD2019!

ATD2019 - Oprah.png

I’m excited to share that I’ll be presenting again at the ATD International Conference & Expo in Washington D.C. in May 2019! This year, I’ll be presenting the session, Driving Business Results Through Strategic Onboarding. I am deeply connected to this organization – if you are in the Talent Development profession, there is immense value in being involved at both the national level and with your local chapter. 2018 has been a big year for ATD – the organization is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary. Enjoy this video to commemorate this milestone (and you’ll catch a quick glimpse of my good friend (and master Langevin facilitator) Jeff and me mid-conversation at the 5:13 mark – those camera folks were sneaky!)

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Hope to see you in Washington next spring!

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