I am thinking about how my love of well done meetings started and then carried out as a theme through over four decades. My first awareness of the importance of a meeting was when I was twenty and in the employ of a non-profit, that was mandated to assist people in prisons. My job was with the wives/partners of men who were in prison for serious crimes, for life. These women had no reason to trust our agency or to trust me, a rather naive 20-year-old.
How to bring about sufficient trust to make any difference in these women’s lives was a challenge. They came to the first meeting I held as part of a program to help them with visits to their partners in the prisons. Here is what I did. In that meeting, I:
- chose a wonderful room in our building
- removed most of the furniture so that I could set up comfortable chairs in a circle
- provided food, tasty treats, available right away upon entering the space
- did a lot of work to keep myself calm in the face of the unknown
- provided maximum freedom and choice regarding their flow of participation
- listened with all of my listening ability to uncover what they were really saying
Trust developed. I worked with them for six months. They formed a community of support with each other, which was one of my big goals. We went to the prisons together, meeting beforehand to provide support, and meeting after as a community of support for whatever happened. They found ways to compliment each other, encourage each other, and for each of them, their sense of self-worth increased. An experience that I found intimidating to start with as I felt so unprepared for the task became a beautiful experience for me. Well done meetings made a difference.
This was one of the early stories that led to the development of the meeting method Whole Person Process Facilitation (WPPF), a key component of the Genuine Contact program. WPPF includes the six ingredients above. Learning how to keep calm/balanced in the face of the unknown, letting go of attachment to outcome so that something even better can emerge, and being comfortable with the potential of the people that show up when there are maximum freedom and choice, when there is trust and careful listening are skills that take development and practice.
Whole Person Process Facilitation is multi-purpose as a facilitation method. It also provides a platform for meeting leadership within which other tools and processes can be used. WPPF is now used around the world in all kinds of settings, getting consistent results.
People in all kinds of organizations and businesses use this meeting format to:
- shift from problem focus to solution focus
- shift from fragmentation to connectedness
- figure out rapid response to opportunities
- transform from barely surviving to thriving in constant change
- overcome challenges
- communicate effectively
Learn to Lead Whole Person Process Facilitated Meetings
Rachel Bolton and I invite you to learn Whole Person Process Facilitation with us in an online workshop, on three consecutive Fridays beginning April 13th. Why one day a week for three weeks you might wonder! The workshop is actually a three-week workshop, giving you time for learning integration and practice in between our work together.
In this workshop, you’ll experience WPPF done in an online environment as you are led through the workshop. You’ll learn a simple meeting facilitation process that can be used in meetings in any kind of industry and with people in a variety of cross-cultural settings.