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round table discussions

How to Energize People in a Round Table Discussion

I have been preparing to facilitate some round table discussions at a Leadership forum next Tuesday. 

Participants rotate through twenty-minute discussions with three different knowledge specialists. It’s like speed dating for executive learning.

I have facilitated similar sessions and they are fun, loud and shorter than you would like. Staying focused in a carnival environment is a key success factor.

The forum is branded “Recharge” and this session is guaranteed to deliver. My topic is Leading Through Ambiguity and Change. I want to over-deliver on the experience. What can I do to super-charge the Recharge?

As a facilitator, you have many ways to set the mood. Your tone, body language and energy level directly effect people’s thinking, feelings and behaviour.

Here are the approaches I will be taking to ignite my groups:

  • Set energized expectations with my welcome
  • Demonstrate open body language—hands open, good eye contact, facing people directly, smiling a lot
  • Ask everyone to stand in a circle—it’s easier to be energized when more mobile
  • Start with a quick energizer activity: “Shake hands with the person beside you and say, “‘I feel great’ like you mean it!”—there is neuroscience behind this one, really 
  • Add humour through stories
  • Ensure everyone participates
  • End with a crescendo!
We have a lot of influence on the environments in which we work. One way to recharge is to work with like-minded people who are energized by what they do. Just thinking about these energized discussions is already recharging me.

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