Join me for ToP facilitation training in Brussels in 2016!

MG ToP 2016 in BrusselsI am pleased  to announce six new public courses in Brussels for 2016. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

Now in their third year in Brussels, these courses are scheduled in partnership with Social Platform, the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector, and provided under license with ICA:UK, the participation & development charity.  They are scheduled in pairs to allow 1, 2, 3 or 4 days of training at once, in April, June & November – read on for courses and dates.

Book online now  – for full details of each course, and to book, just follow the links from the course dates below.

I am pleased to offer discounted rates to voluntary organisations and independent professionals, and in particular to ICA colleagues, to staff and members of Social Platform and Concord Europe, and to members of IAFIABC & CMI. Please ask for details if you do not receive them through those channels.

Please contact me with any questions or for further details – including how to commission a tailored course for your group, and availability of scheduled public courses in the UK and worldwide. See also ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!


Photo by Adam Swann

“I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practice for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings” – Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform, Brussels.


FC&CW method imagesGroup Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus

2 days4-5 April, 27-28 June & 7-8 November 2016 in Brussels

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.


Action PlannningAction Planning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events 

1 day – 6 April 2016 in Brussels, 9 June & 20 October in London. (Sorry, 29 June in Brussels has been cancelled.)

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.


Participatory Strategic PlanningToP Participatory Strategic Planning

Bringing people together to create strategies for action

2 days – November 9-10 2016 in Brussels

“How can I enable my group to come to a common vision for their future? How can I help them make their vision happen by creatively addressing the root causes of the challenges that are blocking them, rather than focus simply on fire-fighting and problem-solving? How can I ensure a real sense of ownership, so that for once their plan actually happens?”

The course presents a structured long-range planning process which incorporates the ToP Consensus Workshop method for building consensus, the ToP Focused Conversation method for effective group communication, and an implementation process for turning ideas into productive action and concrete accomplishments. Those with more experience of facilitation, strategic planning or ToP facilitation may need no further support to apply the process effectively in their own situations, and for others the course serves as a powerful, experiential introduction to the process.


BOOK NOWor please contact me with any questions or for further details.

For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

Join IAF facilitators & friends for regular facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere

IAF EMENA meetupPlease take a moment to join IAF London facilitators and friends for free on MeetUp, in order to join IAF facilitators & friends for regular facilitation meetups in London – or now also join IAF South West England facilitators and friends and IAF North of England facilitators and friends, and please contact me if you are interested in helping to establish a sister group for the English Midlands or for Wales!

I have recently taken over the role of meetup group organiser from IAF England & Wales Chair Julia Goga-Cooke, who has been our meetup group organiser for the past two years. Thanks are due to her, and to IAF Europe MENA Director Martin Farrell, who has hosted our monthly meetups at Connexions Trafalgar Square until now.

Julia & Martin were both ready to be relieved of their responsibilities for the group, so with their support I have identified some new venues near me in Kings Cross, which I hope others will find convenient as well, and I have scheduled a new pattern of meetups for the new year – starting now.  Thanks to the continued sponsorship of IAF, they will all remain entirely free – to IAF members and non-members alike.

Please also take a look at our upcoming meetups, outlined below and in detail on meetup, and RSVP now for those that you plan to attend.

chaosThursday 12 November, 6-8pm will see the last of the monthly Informal networking & sharing meetup that we have been running for two years on the second Thursday evening of each month. For this month only I have booked the meeting room at the Travelodge Kings Cross Royal Scot Hotel, as we have 11 already booked and a presentation from Sheila & Christopher Cooke of 5Deep on “Facilitating Through Chaos”.

IAF coffee cupWednesday 2 December, 8.30-9.30am will see the first of a new monthly Morning coffee meetup, on the first Wednesday morning of every month. I have scheduled the first at Half Cup, midway between Kings Cross and Euston. For future morning meetups I’ll welcome suggestions of other coffee shops elsewhere – somewhere different every month, or Half Cup if that works well enough. I’ll be glad to start earlier or stay later if that would suit others better.

IAF wine glassMonday 14 December, 6-8pm will see the first of a new bi-monthly Informal networking and social meetup, over drinks and/or food in a pub, cafe or restaurant on the 3rd Monday evening of every other month (except for this first one on December 14) . For this first one I shall book a table at the dining room of the spacious Parcel Yard gastropub within Kings Cross station.  For future evenings I’ll welcome offers from others to book us anywhere else in London that you want to suggest – we could meet somewhere different every time, or we could continue with the Parcel Yard.

IAFEMENA15 chaptersTuesday 19 January, 2-6pm will see the first of a more substantial bi-monthly Networking and learning meetup, for four hours on the 3rd Tuesday afternoon of every other month (alternating with the Monday evening social meetups). For these I have prebooked the meeting room of the Calthorpe Project community centre on Grays Inn Road, overlooking the community garden.

I hope that these meetups will allow time and space for us to demonstrate, practice and experiment with our facilitation together, and share feedback on that, as well as share presentations and support through discussion as we have been doing on our monthly Thursday evenings to date. I hope that the timing and location might also attract and enable people to travel from outside of London to join us as well – even from neigbouring IAF groups in Scotland, Paris or Brussels (we will be a 10 minute walk from the Eurostar terminal). There are of course plenty of pubs and restaurants nearby for those wishing to continue informally afterwards over food or drink, including a great value pre-7pm menu at the Union Taven.

IAFEMENA15 story tellingI have also suggested a one-day annual conference, perhaps during International Facilitation Week 2016 next October; and a CPF assessment event for IAF Certified Professional Facilitator candidates.  If we have enough CPF candidates for an assessment in London then that can be arranged with IAF, and we could even arrange some meetup support for candidates as they prepare their applications and portfolios.

Please contact me if you have any questions or other suggestions, or if you are interested to join me as a co-organiser of the London group – to share the leadership, to help to attract people to attend, present and facilitate at events, and to schedule any additional events.

For those based elsewhere in England & Wales, please join IAF South West England facilitators and friends and IAF North of England facilitators and friends, and please contact me if you are interested in helping to establish a sister group for the English Midlands or for Wales.

Finally, please let me know also if you are an IAF member and interested in joining the IAF England & Wales leadership team, as there are also vacancies for that. There is surely potential for further local activity beyond these meetup groups so, if you have ideas and are ready to help to make them happen, please step forward!

Join us now to RSVP for upcoming events, and for news and updates on future events.  I hope to see you soon!

#FacWeek special, this week only – half price ToP facilitation training in Brussels!

IAF_Logo_IFW2015_RGBTo celebrate International Facilitation Week this week, starting today, I am pleased to offer half-price bookings this week only – for voluntary organisations & independent professionals on my ToP Group Facilitation Methods and ToP Action Planning courses next month in Brussels, November 17-18 & 19.

See below for details, and follow the links to book by midnight on October 25!


Join me for ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Planning training in Brussels!

MG ToPBOOK NOW! ToP Group Facilitation MethodsEventbrite ToP BOOK NOW - AP15I am excited to announce these two new public courses in Brussels, repeated this November. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

These courses are scheduled in partnership with Social Platform, the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector; and provided under license with ICA:UK, the participation & development charity.  It was following an earlier course with Social Platform in Brussels that I blogged Three dimensions of the facilitator role – a focused conversation with video.

“I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings” – Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform, Brussels.

Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days, November 17-18

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

Action Plannning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events – 1 day, November 19

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.

BOOK NOW for Group Facilitation Methods, November 17-18 and Action Planning, November 19 – or please contact me with any questions or for further details.

IAF Brussels facilitators & friends meet up, 20 October

IAF_Logo_IFW2015_RGBAre you interested in meeting up in Brussels with other facilitators and others interested in facilitation, for informal networking & sharing – and to join in celebrating and promoting the power of facilitation during International Facilitation Week, 19-15 October?

Join me and IAF Belgium members from 5-7pm on Tuesday 20 October in central Brussels. Members and non-members of IAF (International Association of Facilitators) are equally welcome. The meetup will be free and informal.

Please RVSP on the doodle poll to indicate if you can join us and to see who else is coming, and contact me or add a comment to the poll if you can host us at your place or suggest a suitable central place to meet, or if you are interested in future meetups. Be sure to leave your email address if I may not not have it.  I shall confirm the venue on the doodle poll for those attending.

This is the first time for such a gathering in recent years, so the emphasis will be on getting to know each other and exploring interests and possibilities for future networking, learning and collaboration.  I shall be there to share the experience of the IAF London facilitators and friends meetup group, now in its third year of regular monthly gatherings. Your experience and suggestions are invited, for this first gathering and for the future.

I have been involved with ICA in Belgium for many years, and I have been delivering ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training in Brussels two or three time a year in recent years, from my base in London – my next Brussels courses are Group Facilitation Methods & Action Planning, November 17-18 & 19.

My experience suggests to me that there is a great opportunity to further promote facilitation and IAF in Brussels, at least – I am less familiar with Belgium as a whole. I am hoping to be able to refer participants on my Brussels courses to a local group, perhaps a future chapter of the IAF EMENA region, where they can network and learn with others and perhaps find other opportunities for mutual support and collaboration.

How do you see as the opportunities for networking with other facilitators in Belgium?

If you can’t join us in Brussels, please join us on twitter with the hashtags #FacWeek and #IAFMeetUp!

Join me for ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Planning training in Brussels!

MG ToPBOOK NOW! ToP Group Facilitation MethodsEventbrite ToP BOOK NOW - AP15I am excited to announce these two new public courses in Brussels, repeated this November. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

These courses are scheduled in partnership with Social Platform, the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector; and provided under license with ICA:UK, the participation & development charity.  It was following an earlier course with Social Platform in Brussels that I blogged Three dimensions of the facilitator role – a focused conversation with video.

“I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings” – Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform, Brussels.

Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days, November 17-18

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

Action Plannning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events – 1 day, November 19

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.

BOOK NOW for Group Facilitation Methods, November 17-18 and Action Planning, November 19 – or please contact me with any questions or for further details.

Now we are global: ICAI facilitates interchange in Brussels

This piece ‘from the archive’ was first written for Network Exchange, newsletter of ICA International, in September 1998 when I had first joined the ICAI Board.  ICAI is now registered in Canada and it’s newsletter is Winds and Waves, but ICA Belgium is still going strong and I continue to visit Brussels – this week for client meetings, and next month to deliver ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Plannning training.  Click on the photos to enlarge them, and see who you can recognise!

ICAI 1998 General AssemblyPatrick Mbullu and I represented ICA:UK at the General Assembly of ICA International in August. As Vice Presidents elect, Mangla Gavai of ICA India, Edward Mutiso of ICA Kenya and I also worked in advance with Dick Alton of ICAI to design and facilitate the event.

The 45 delegates represented 23 member ICAs and ICAI. Day 1 was devoted to continental and global reporting and interchange. Days 2 & 3 looked at the global work of ICA including global conferences and networking, and ICAI finances, secretariat, Executive Committee elections and new membership applications. Days 4 & 5 looked at local work of member ICAs, particularly in terms of developing standards for institutional structure and strengthening, for new and existing ICAs. As a whole group we took a Brussels ‘pub crawl’ one night, and we celebrated the acceptance of five new member ICAs in a closing ceremony.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The occasion also provided opportunity for much bilateral interchange among participants between sessions – in my case, related to discussing potential volunteer placements and funding partnerships, but also social.

Minutes of the General Assembly

The Institute of Cultural Affairs International held its General Assembly at its headquarters at rue Amédée Lynen 8, 1210 Bruxelles, from 24 through 28 August 1998.

Members present were: ICA Australia, ICA Belgium, ICA Benin, ICA Bosnia i Herzegovina, ICA Canada, ICA Côte d’Ivoire, ICA Egypt, ICA Germany, ICA Ghana, ICA Guatemala, ICA Hong Kong, ICA India, ICA Japan, ICA Kenya, ICA Nepal, ICA Netherlands, ICA Spain, ICA Tanzania, ICA Uganda, ICA United Kingdom, ICA United States and ICA Zambia.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The Board of Directors elected Donald Elliott, USA, as President; Ruth Lukona, Zambia, as Secretary; Myriam Balbela, Venezuela, as Treasurer; Mangla Gavai, India, Edward Mutiso, Kenya, and Martin Gilbraith, United Kingdom, as Vice Presidents.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The General Assembly voted unanimously to change Article 12 of the statutes to read: “The Institute is administered by a Board of Directors comprised of two to fifty members. One member at least of the Board of Directors must be of Belgian nationality.”

The Assembly unanimously accepted ICA Ghana, ICA Nepal, ICA Tanzania and ICA Uganda as statutory members; and ICA Benin as an Associate Member.

The Assembly unanimously approved the financial accounts for the year 1997 and the budgets for the year 1999.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The General Assembly approved plans for ICAI to sponsor a Global Conference in the USA during the year 2000.

The General Assembly set the date for its next meeting in the year 2002.

Participants’ highlights

“Exchange! Honestly, I felt that’s the value ICA should keep! It’s good to be a part of Global Society, community… We thought we were forgotten, it’s nice to be back…” – Nejira Nalic, ICA:BiH

“We really have so much in common re mission & concerns & care even in the midst of our enriching differences. Face to face connection is invaluable. ICA is ready to really release & enlarge its global impact.” – Kathleen Joyce, ICA:USA

“A new knowledge. It was like an “intensive” training which I had expected since I came in contact with ICAI.” – Tatwa Timsina, ICA Nepal

“At this moment in history, this is readiness for reconciliation, rebuilding, and community within and beyond ICA.” – Wayne Ellsworth, ICA Japan

“Desire to reorganise and build our international image.” – Lambert Okrah, ICA Ghana

“Re-emerging global strategies especially in the Americas” – Ray Caruso, ICA:USA

“With all the wonderful diversity it encompasses, we are closer to a common understanding that will facilitate learning.” – Hala El Kholy, ICA MENA

“The people are open to new ideas and to support and welcome newcomers. There’s a lot of willingness and motivation and also possibilities to make things happen and a lot of experience in different fields.” – Adinda de Vries, ICA Netherlands

“Such kind of conference, meeting are important for us, because we learn at anytime – we share ideas, strategies. So a report in French might be appreciated.” – Koffi Nestor Amoin, ICA Côte d’Ivoire

“This is the first Global assembly of the ICA I have been privileged to attend. We used to say we were global when we saw westerners all over the world. Now we are global!” – Julie Miesen, ICA Australia

“I felt power in the room and lots of commitment. In a way I felt that all this globally/widely spread force can make a difference in world development & become more transparent in world development & recognised by other people. Global advocacy campaign?” – Slavica Bradvic, ICA:BiH

Join me for ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Plannning training in Brussels!

MG ToPEventbrite - ToP Group Facilitation MethodsEventbrite - ToP Action PlanningI am excited to announce these two new public courses in Brussels in November. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

These courses are scheduled in partnership with Social Platform, the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector; and provided under license with ICA:UK, the participation & development charity.  It was following an earlier course with Social Platform in Brussels last December that I blogged Three dimensions of the facilitator role – a focused conversation with video.

“I would recommend the course to others as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings” – Pierre Baussand, Director, Social Platform, Brussels.

Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days, November 25-26

How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

Action Plannning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events – 1 day, November 27

How can I get all members of a group to participate in planning a project or event together, and build their commitment and responsibility so that they can successfully implement their plan?

This course introduces a structured, participatory process to enable the successful implementation of a group project or event.  The ToP Action Planning method uses the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods to engage all members of a group effectively, and so it builds commitment and ownership at all stages. The method is suitable for planning short to medium-term projects, or completing projects that have stalled.

BOOK NOW for Group Facilitation Methods, November 25-26 and Action Planning, November 27 – or please contact me with any questions or for further details.