Join me for ToP facilitation training in Brussels & London in 2017!

New! (May 2017) – Meetings That Work in Brussels and London in September – scroll down for details…


I am pleased to announce three pairs of public courses in Brussels again for 2017, plus a new Meetings That Work course in Brussels and London in September. Please join me if you can, and share these details with friends, colleagues and networks who might be interested.

Now in their 4th 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.  Most are again scheduled in pairs to allow 1, 2, 3 or 4 days of training at once, in March, June, September & November – read on for courses and dates. 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 again to voluntary organisations and independent professionals, and in particular to ICA colleagues, to staff and members of Social Platform and other European NGO platforms, and to members of IAF & IABC. Please ask for details if you do not receive them through those channels.

BOOK NOW, or 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 – what’s it like, and is it worthwhile? and ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!


Chris Mapitlan with certificate

“Meetings are a key part of what we do. As a diverse, transnational, multilingual membership network, successful meetings are key to our internal and external successes. Many of our staff mentioned Martin’s training as a highlight in their end of year reviews – several said it was the most useful training they had ever attended, and there was a clear consensus that we should work with him again.”

Eve Geddie, Deputy Director at Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)


Meetings That Work (New for 2017)

Practical tools to design and lead effective meetings 

2 days14-15 September in Brussels & 18-19 September 2017 in London.

How can I turn meetings into “events” that people want to attend? How can I increase participation, and get the best input and results from everyone?  How can I increase commitment to action, and handle difficult or controversial items?

This course will provide you with tips, templates and practical tools from professional facilitators that will enable you to get more from meetings than you ever thought possible. For this new course I shall be joined by Bill Staples of ICA Associates Inc of Canada as guest trainer.

Bill Staples is one of the founders of ICA’s Technology of Participation, a principal partner of ICA Associates Inc. of Canada, and one of the designers of Meetings That Work. Bill is happy to bring Meetings That Work to Europe for the first time in 2017, and will make the course come alive will illustrations from many fields. Bill has worked around the world with many organization and is well known in the field of facilitation. He is the author of Transformational Strategy: Facilitating ToP Participatory Planning, and is the publishing editor of the IAF Journal Group Facilitation. Bill is also a founding member of IAF, and was among the first facilitators to be inducted into the IAF Hall of Fame.


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 days21-22 March, 20-21 June & 7-8 November 2017 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 PlanningAction Planning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events 

1 day – 23 March & 22 June  2017 in Brussels.

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 2017 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.

Introducing ICA’s Technology of Participation in Geneva & Brussels this November

iaf-geneva-banner

“How can I enable more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group and reach shared awareness and new insight in meetings?”

“How can I help a group take a comprehensive and long-term strategic view – to learn from the past, appreciate the present and anticipate the future?”

“How can I enable a group to come to a common vision, a deeper understanding of its current reality and a real sense of ownership and commitment to a shared way forward – so that for once their plans actually deliver the change that they are seeking?”

I am pleased to offer this special one-day masterclass on 18 November in collaboration with IAF Geneva – book now!

This one-day tailored master-class (pdf) will introduce two foundational methods of ICA’s ‘Technology of Participation’ (ToP) methodology, and two that adapt and apply these foundations to strategic review, planning and change:

  • ToP Focused Conversation provides a structured, four-level process for effective communication which ensures that everyone in a group has the opportunity to participate
  • ToP Consensus Workshop is a five stage process that enables a facilitator to draw out and weave together everybody’s wisdom into a clear and practical consensus
  • ToP Historical Scan (or ‘Wall of Wonder) is a powerful tool to enable a group to share and learn from their varied perspectives of a journey through history, and in context, to review the past in order to prepare for the future
  • ToP Participatory Strategic Planning is a structured long-range planning process which incorporates ToP Consensus Workshop for building consensus, ToP Focused Conversation for effective group communication, and an implementation process for turning ideas into productive action and concrete accomplishments.

The workshop will be suitable for all those who want to be able to involve people more effectively in dialogue, learning, consensus & change, including team leaders and managers within organisations, those working with Boards, management teams, partnerships and external stakeholders, youth and community workers and independent facilitators. More experienced facilitators may be ready to apply at least the first three tools effectively in their own situations, and at least key principles of the fourth. For others the course will serve as a powerful, experiential introduction to ICA’s ToP methodology.

Alternatively, or as well, for more in-depth training in these and other ToP methods join me in Brussels for:

or join ICA:UK & Intitiatives of Change in Geneva for:

See also ToP facilitation training – what’s it like, and is it worthwhile? and ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!.


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 in London and elsewhere by joining IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups, and online by joining my free facilitation webinars.

ICA International Board update, September 2016

ICAI Global Buzz, October 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, September 2016.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.


1608 ICA E&S AFrica 720x480At our August meeting the ICAI Board approved three applications for financial support from members. The first was to support the ICA East & Southern Africa regional gathering and ToP facilitation training hosted by ICA Uganda in August – see photo, with thanks to Larry Philbrook. The second was to support the ICA Asia Pacific regional gathering and training to be hosted by ICA India in December. The third was for purchase of a World Foundations Guide for use by members.

The Board is expecting an application soon for the West & Central Africa ICA regional gathering to be hosted by ICA Togo in October. Board members agreed to consult with members in their regions to help to arrange an additional French speaking ToP trainer to provide ToP training in conjunction with the gathering.

The Board heard that groups in Poland and France are working toward submitting applications to join our global network as Associate Members at the next General Assembly on October 20. We heard that several individuals in the Philippines have expressed an interest in re-connecting with ICA and perhaps re-establishing ICA there.

The Board heard that the new joint working group of ICAI and the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) had held its first meeting and begun its work of exploring opportunities for great mutual interchange, co-ordination and collaboration between our two organisations and facilitation communities.

The Board reviewed the Board election process and papers that had been prepared by the Board nominations and elections committee in preparation for elections at the October 20 General Assembly. Board members confirmed their own intentions on completing their terms, standing for re-election or standing down. Board members will support the committee in soliciting nominations for candidates directly with members in their regions.

ToP facilitation training – what’s it like, and is it worthwhile?

Chris Mapitlan with certificate

Have you considered taking ToP facilitation training, with me in Brussels or elsewhere, and wondered what it would be like and whether it would be worthwhile?

Below is what some have had to say on LinkedIn about my own recent courses in Brussels and London, and a short time-lapse video offering a glimpse of ToP facilitation training – for more glimpses see also #ToPfacilitation on Twitter.

Scroll on for details of my own upcoming courses in Brussels in 2017, and book now on Eventbrite.  Discounted rates are available for voluntary organisations and independent professionals, and in particular to ICA colleagues, to staff and members of Social Platform and other European NGO platforms, and to members of IAF & IABC. Your fee includes one hour’s free telephone coaching after the course.

Regularly scheduled public ToP training courses are also provided by ICAs including in AustraliaCanada, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine & the USA.  Other ICAs also offer public courses, and in-house courses on request – see ICA Worldwide.

See also ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!


Michael NordMichael Nord, Principal, Facilitator, Strategist & Networker, Amsterdam

“I joined Martin for Group Facilitation Methods training in Brussels, 2 days packed with tips, tricks and hands-on exercises. It was great experience and, though I work as a facilitator with my clients, it gave me a boost to do more, using the ToP methods. I would really recommend anyone who has done facilitation, but need a refresher or inspiration, to join one of Martin’s sessions. He is inspiring, he checks with attendees that they are OK, and he follows up afterwards.”


Nina Elzer

Nina Elzer, Policy Advisor at CENTR, Brussels

“Martin trained the Chairs of the CENTR Working Groups on facilitation. It provided them with valuable tools and techniques to make agenda-setting more efficient and meeting facilitation more effective – some have already been able to successfully implement what they learned. I would recommend Martin to anyone who is looking for an engaged trainer and thorough listener.”


Eve GeddieEve Geddie, Deputy Director at PICUM, Brussels

“Meetings are a key part of what we do. As a diverse, transnational, multilingual membership network, successful meetings are key to our internal and external successes. Many of our staff mentioned Martin’s training as a highlight in their end of year reviews – several said it was the most useful training they had ever attended, and there was a clear consensus that we should work with him again.”


Miriam ElstMiriam Elst, Facilitator Design Thinking and LEGO® Serious Play®, Lead UX researcher & strategist, Service designer, Brussels

“Martin is a very inspiring trainer, he is very skilled and knows how to facilitate facilitators in a structured and insightful way. I have been able to successfully use his personal advice and facilitation techniques straight away!”


Mike PounsfordMike PounsfordEmployee engagement, communication and change specialist, London

“I went on a course run by Martin and found it really helpful. Martin established a really good group learning process and displayed mastery of his subject. I am very glad I went on it and very glad he ran it!”  


Pierre BaussandPierre BaussandDirector of Social Platform, Brussels

“I would recommend the course as something that can easily be used in practise for leaders, facilitators and participants of group meetings”.


Katherine SargentKatherine Sargent, Country Programme Manager at Trócaire, London

“What made it so useful for me was the opportunity to practice the techniques in a supportive environment and the practical tools we took away from the course. This gave me the confidence to try out the techniques in the ‘real world’. I have been using techniques I learnt during the course to prepare for meetings and it has really helped me focus my thoughts. Since the course I have facilitated a session for one of our partners using the Consensus Workshop approach. Not only did everyone actively participate, we reached consensus and I received very positive feedback from the participants!”


Meetings That Work (New for 2017)

Practical tools to design and lead effective meetings 

2 days14-15 September in Brussels & 18-19 September 2017 in London.

 

How can I turn meetings into “events” that people want to attend? How can I increase participation, and get the best input and results from everyone?  How can I increase commitment to action, and handle difficult or controversial items?

This course will provide you with tips, templates and practical tools from professional facilitators that will enable you to get more from meetings than you ever thought possible. For this new course I shall be joined by Bill Staples of ICA Associates Inc of Canada as guest trainer.


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 days21-22 March, 20-21 June & 7-8 November 2017 in Brussels and (for ICA:UK 13-14 December 2017 in London)

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 PlanningAction Planning

Participatory planning for short-term projects and events 

1 day – 23 March & 22 June  2017 in Brussels.

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 2017 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, the IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere and the Facilitators in Belgium meetup in Brussels.

A glimpse of ToP Group Facilitation Methods training

“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?”

The ToP Group Facilitation Methods course provides a structured introduction to the ‘Technology of Participation‘ Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of ToP Action Planning, ToP Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications

The course presents the two methods in a practical and participatory way. Each method is first demonstrated, then analysed and discussed, and then practiced in supportive small groups with guided reflection & feedback. Finally, participants plan how they will apply each method in their own situations.

This short timelapse video, from last September’s ICA:UK Group Facilitation Methods training at NCVO in London, shows the interactive walk-through, analysis and discussion of the Consensus Workshop method.

I am grateful to those attending the training for featuring in it, and to Michael Ambjorn for making it for us. As well as being an accomplished photographer and timelapse enthusiast, Michael is himself an experienced facilitator, a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) and Chair of the International Association of Business of Communicators (IABC), and founder Director of AlignyourOrg. You can follow Michael on Flickr and on Twitter.


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.

Register now for ToP facilitation training in Brussels in 2016.

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.

Book now for Group Facilitation Methods training in London!

photo by Adam SwannI am pleased to be leading ICA:UK’s Group Facilitation Methods course in London on February 24-25. Book now to reserve your place!

Places for this course are also available on earlier dates with other experienced ICA:UK trainers – January 19-20 in London and February 3-4 in Manchester.


Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the ToP approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus – 2 days.

ToP logo (289x120)I am a licensed provider and experienced lead trainer of this and other ICA:UK Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training courses – see how I work, and please contact me with any questions or for further details.

“I found Group Facilitation Methods both practical and participatory.  As tools the methods allow for different ways of seeing and thinking to be incorporated, and they also enable groups to reach informed consensus and decisions with relative ease. I have used them in a variety of contexts, and would recommend them to all group leaders and facilitators”. – Ruth Moore, Upper North Belfast Community Empowerment Programme

Who this course is for

The course is for all those who want to be able to engage people more effectively to build shared understanding and consensus, including team leaders and managers within organisations, those working with Boards, management teams, partnerships and external stakeholders, youth and community workers and independent facilitators. This course has no pre-requisite, but is the pre-requisite for Participatory Strategic Planning. It is recommended both to newcomers to facilitation, and to experienced facilitators who are new to our approach.

Questions this course answers

“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.

What you will gain

By the end of the course, you will

  • be able to identify when and how to use the Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods
  • have gained confidence in the use of these methods
  • have recognised and explored elements of participation, creativity, teamwork and action
  • have built links with others to promote future collaboration and support in the use of the methods

ToP Focused Conversation methodThe Focused Conversation method provides a structured, four-level process for effective communication which ensures that everyone in a group has the opportunity to participate.

ToP Consensus Workshop method overviewThe Consensus Workshop method is a five stage process thatenables a facilitator to draw out and weave together everybody’s wisdom into a clear and practical consensus.

These methods have been featured in publications including:

Learning style

The course presents the two methods in a practical and participatory way. Each method is first demonstrated, then analysed and discussed, and then practiced in supportive small groups with guided reflection & feedback. Finally, participants plan how they will apply each method in their own situations.

What do participants say about this course?

93% of GFM participants rated the course 8/10 or higher. Comments from participants’ end-of-course evaluations included:

  • brilliant – a must-do if you want better, more effective meetings
  • provides two practical, easy-to-use methods to discover deep insights from diverse groups – useful tools for any group, organisation or community
  • benefits for experienced facilitator and novice alike
  • worth every penny – excellent content & great presentation

For further details

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!