Viv Mcwaters

What I learned about facilitating by doing stand-up comedy

Viv Mcwaters

Earlier this year I co-hosted an experimental event called Radical Acts. The premise being that we need to do things differently – maybe not big things, sometimes the smallest of acts can make a huge difference.

2018 194

Third best job in the world

Viv Mcwaters

My job – working with groups, helping them come alive, unearth their creativity and make discoveries – is the third best job in the world.

2016 198

There’s training, and then there’s Creative Facilitation training!

Viv Mcwaters

There’s lots of things I can’t do well – way too many to list here – but I can cook a pretty good risotto and I can host facilitation training that’s memorable. I know this to be true because I love designing and delivering training that rocks.

2017 169

Engaging the Resistance

Viv Mcwaters

I’m riffing some ideas here based on the four themes we’ve been exploring for Creative Leadership: Having bolder conversations. Connecting more deeply. Engaging the resistance. Staying alive. This one is hard!

2016 200

Can improv save the world? It can’t make it any worse!

Viv Mcwaters

There seems to be bad news around every corner. It’s a volatile and unpredictable time, and we all need to draw on all of our skills and resources just to cope, let alone, be of any use to others.

2016 200

Honor Among Thieves: A Review

Viv Mcwaters

Edges are interesting places. Unpredictable stuff happens there. Much of what many of us take for granted every day – belonging, security, understanding – can be missing, or at least fleeting. In his latest book, the second in a trilogy, J.

2015 232

But what would you do instead?

Viv Mcwaters

2014 268

A few thoughts about what it’s like to be a free agent gleaned from John Hagel’s talk

Viv Mcwaters

When John Hagel started speaking about the dark side of technology as mounting performance pressure, the inevitable comparison with others and the pressure to keep up, I found myself nodding in agreement.

2014 252

Creative Facilitation – the Book!

Viv Mcwaters

Exactly two years ago, I spent six weeks with my ankle in plaster after an operation. With nothing better to do, I wrote a book. This week, we’re releasing it into the wild.

2013 284

Bring your meetings to life in 2016 – February workshop dates announced

Viv Mcwaters

It’s a whole new year, and a great opportunity to come to one of my Creative Facilitation workshops – still at 2015 prices. . Where? Parkville, Melbourne. February 25 and 26. How much? $440 440 per person for two days (if you book 3 or more people) or $700 for a single registration.

2016 184

‘Easy and safe’ is over-rated

Viv Mcwaters

Working with groups generates lots of dynamics. I want to focus on the dynamic between the facilitator and the group. There’s a long held position about facilitation that the facilitator needs to make the task easy for the group, and to create a safe space. I disagree. When I’m tired, feeling a bit vulnerable, and wanting to be cared for I relish the easy choice in a restaurant of the chef ‘just bringing food’ I don’t want to make choices, or decisions.

2016 160

Screenwriting and facilitation: it’s all in the cut

Viv Mcwaters

“It’s all in the cut.” ” This is a description of where the magic happens in movies. It starts with a writer, and an idea, a story, and a screenplay.

2017 130

Games connect

Viv Mcwaters

On our recent trip to Mongolia, in winter, I knew we’d be spending a lot of time indoors, with host families and with each other. It seemed like a good idea to take some table-top games to play. I chose games that did not require any understanding of English: Ghost Blitz and Skip-Bo.

2017 141

Fractals

Viv Mcwaters

Have you ever been to an event that is talking about being one thing while being something else ? For example, a conference about innovation that uses well-established, mainstream and predictable processes?

2016 176

Imagine if you were the type of leader YOU would want to follow

Viv Mcwaters

Fancy three days of fun, engaging learning on a theme of leading creative teams? Johnnie and I are bringing our Creative Leadership workshop to Melbourne, February 7th to 9th. Here’s some reflections from those who came to this workshop in Cambridge earlier this year.

2016 151

What are the 3 big mistakes that Meeting Leaders make that keep them frustrated with drawn out meetings and a lack of enthusiasm?

Viv Mcwaters

Number One: They do all the work themselves. This means you are in front of the group, maybe chairing the meeting or leading a workshop, and seem to be doing all the work, while the participants sit passively – you’re not even sure if they are listening.

2013 242

When improvisation meets Open Space

Viv Mcwaters

There are few things that have influenced my way of working – and way of living – as much as Open Space and Improvisation. And it’s not so much what they represent, as the people they have enabled me to meet, befriend, and learn from.

2014 208

Becoming who we are not

Viv Mcwaters

My photocopier is broken. I’ve been searching for the manual. I haven’t found it yet. However, I did find a yellow notepad that I paid US1.49 for at the San Francisco Marriot in 2004. The price sticker is still on the back. I remember buying this notepad in the hotel gift shop.

2016 169

Learn facilitation?

Viv Mcwaters

Facilitating is like rock balancing – you never know if you can do it until you try. Everyone’s offering training at this time of the year (let’s face it, everyone’s offering training all year round!) How do you choose? Not sure, but here’s my advice: PICK ME! PICK ME!

2015 201

Creative Facilitation in Melbourne Nov 26-27

Viv Mcwaters

You might be surprised by the variety and depth of ways to engage people,especially if you’re stuck in a meeting rut, listening to others drone on, and rarely having time to discuss what really matters. I make my living from facilitating, so I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and better, more creative, and more engaging ways to get the best out of people in a meeting. I’m hosting a two-day Creative Facilitation workshop in Melbourne on November 26 and 27.

2015 178

Assumptions and revelations – a book review of Letters Left Unsent

Viv Mcwaters

There’s an activity I did once at an applied improvisation conference about the assumptions we make about other nationalities. We were a large, mixed group from a dozen or so different countries.

2016 164

Passive or active?

Viv Mcwaters

I used to edit other people’s writing. I remember one time editing a rather long, scientific article. The author came back to me and said I hadn’t done my job. Nothing had changed.

2014 225

Where ‘YES!’ leads

Viv Mcwaters

Early mornings are not my best time. People I used to work with joked that no-one should talk to me before 10 am. Bit rough, I reckon.

2014 194

Creative Facilitation training

Viv Mcwaters

Johnnie and I made this little video that describes our approach to facilitation training. It also includes some footage from our Creative Leadership workshop at King’s College, Cambridge – coming in February 2017 to Melbourne. Related posts: What is Creative facilitation?

2016 141

On being a novice – again

Viv Mcwaters

There’s an activity I sometimes use with groups to find out what expertise is lurking amongst the participants: it asks people to nominate themselves as a novice, practitioner, expert or ninja for a particular skill or knowledge of a particular topic.

2014 193

Birdwatching from my desk

Viv Mcwaters

Glancing just a little to my left of my computer screen, I can see, through my office window, one of the bird baths in our garden. It is an endless source of joy for me.

2014 185

And that’s a wrap!

Viv Mcwaters

We wish you a fabulous festive season, and a happy healthy, and above all, playful 2017. Related posts: Creative Facilitation training Johnnie and I made this little video that describes our. YARPP powered by AdBistro Powered by. General

2016 130

Facilitation training workshops

Viv Mcwaters

Back by popular demand is Creative Facilitation: Bring Your Meetings To Life , a one-day workshop on Tuesday, April 29th, full of processes and tips on how to get people involved and keep them engaged.

2014 203

What is the purpose of a conference?

Viv Mcwaters

“The best part of the conference are the breaks. I put up with all of the other stuff so as I can catch up with friends, and meet new people, during the breaks.” ” I’ve heard variations of this over the years.

2015 158

Facilitation is hit and miss too

Viv Mcwaters

I’ve been reading about different approaches and processes in facilitation recently that proclaim their use will guarantee success, change, results, transformation and so forth. Nonsense.

2013 219

Facilitating for engagement in isolated communities

Viv Mcwaters

There are ways to facilitate meetings and events of all sorts that encourage participation and engagement. This week, while working in Papua New Guinea and helping community leaders learn how to facilitate in isolated communities, I’ve come to understand the following.

2013 220

Facilitation resources updated

Viv Mcwaters

I’m updating my RESOURCES page. About time too! You can find it just up there, on the menu – between About and Learn. If you click on FACILITATION RESOURCES you will find a long list of processes, games, and activities that I use in my facilitation. The names help me remember them. Sometimes the same activity might be known by multiple names. I’ve also credited the source of the activity, where known. Let me know of any omissions.

2017 100

Remember that time.

Viv Mcwaters

You know that time you felt nervous before you stood up in front of a group? And that time when you thought everyone was glaring at you? And that time when you forgot to say something really important? And that time you wished the floor would open up and swallow you?

2013 223

The meaning of words

Viv Mcwaters

Musing over the meaning of these words – play, playfulness, game, activity, ice-breaker and warm-up – I invited others to share their understanding. Even with a sample size of 14 responses*, there’s some interesting insights regarding word meanings and the use of language when facilitating.

2014 176

Why do groups need a facilitator?

Viv Mcwaters

If the job of a facilitator is to get out of the way, why have one in the first place? Because boundaries matter. Boundaries provide safety, and structure, and edges.

2013 219

Best summer ever!

Viv Mcwaters

I’ve just had the best summer. Yet it wasn’t summer. Not here. And I wasn’t here. I was there, in the UK, hanging out with my friend and business buddy Johnnie Moore in Cambridge.

2016 130

Learning is an adventure

Viv Mcwaters

Training is on my mind at the moment. I’ve always believed in the importance of helping others learn to do what I do with facilitation, and more, rather than build a dependence.

2015 158

Staying Alive

Viv Mcwaters

I’m riffing some ideas here based on the four themes we’ve been exploring for Creative Leadership: Having bolder conversations. Connecting more deeply. Engaging the resistance. Staying alive.

2016 130

Bolder Conversations

Viv Mcwaters

I’m riffing some ideas here based on the four themes we’ve been exploring for Creative Leadership: Having bolder conversations. Connecting more deeply. Engaging the resistance. Staying alive. None of us like to feel uncomfortable when talking with others.

Connecting More Deeply

Viv Mcwaters

I’m riffing some ideas here based on the four themes we’ve been exploring for Creative Leadership: Having bolder conversations. Connecting more deeply. Engaging the resistance. Staying alive. This is one of those things that’s easy to say, hard to do.

2016 130

Let the music begin

Viv Mcwaters

I’m really keen to bring music to my workshops, and having no talent whatsoever with any form of instrument or voice, I have to rely on technology. Thank goodness for those devices, I say.

2013 213

Change, and strategy, and creativity – another take

Viv Mcwaters

I love this! Change as creating. Did I mention how much I love this? Congratulations to Karen Dawson , Julie Huffaker , Ian Prinsloo , Sarah Moyle , Andrea Grant and Leonardo Spinedi , and Laila Woozeer.

2014 176

Creative Facilitation – New stuff. Yay!

Viv Mcwaters

How does a facilitator announce new stuff? A musician brings out a new song or album, an artist has an exhibition of their latest paintings, a writer releases a new book or poem – and a facilitator announces…”I have new stuff to share with you.” ” Sounds a bit lame really.

2015 158