Focused Conversation

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Introducing the foundation of the ToP approach, a powerful technique for structuring effective conversations – 1 day, or 4 x2 hour sessions online

“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)

Who this course is for

This course is for all those who want to be able to engage people more effectively to build shared understanding, 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 is adapted from day 1 of the 2-day Group Facilitation Methods course. It has no pre-requisite. 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?”

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation method, which with the ToP Consensus Workshop method forms 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 method
  • have gained confidence in the use of this method
  • 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 method

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

This method has been featured in publications including:

See also my own blog post Four steps to a universal principle of facilitation and learning.

Learning style

The course presents the method in a practical and participatory way. The 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 the method in their own situations.

The training can be adapted to half a day or 2 x2 hour online sessions, by excluding the practice with feedback, or to a taster session just 60-90 minutes (face-to-face or online) by including only demonstration and talk-through of the method with Q&A.

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

Your trainers

I am pleased to offer this course in partnership with ICA:UK.

See also about mehow I work and recommendations & case studies, and please contact me about how we might work together.