Collective Wisdom: 9 actions for Ninja Facilitation

The Great thing about the Extraordinary Facilitation courses I run, is that they bring together many interesting people with a wide variety of facilitation experience.

At the beginning of every course we participate in an appreciative enquiry exercise which draws out our knowledge about what  makes facilitation extraordinary and what you could do more of, if you want more extraordinary.

Out of interest, I have compiled the results from at least 6 of these enquiries and it is remarkable how consistent the answers are.  I have boiled it down to 9 critical actions you can take to make your facilitation extraordinary.  The table below collates the original statements; the graphic above pulls it all together.


Get in touch if you want better resolution copies of these resources….

TAKE THE TIME Time and  creating space for unfolding
Slowing down and allowing time
Taking time to reflect and use intuition
Not rushing things allow more time for ideas, discussion connection
Create space and time for mindfulness
Hone your time management and awareness
FOCUS ON THE WHY Focus and braveness
Bring clarity of purpose and clearly identify it
Know the why – what is the purpose
Focus (reducing workload or distractions)
CENTRE YOURSELF Focussed and regular self -reflection
Know what natural skills you bring
Where is your passion and energy coming from? – feed it and plug in
Step outside of yourself
Equanimity (avoiding imbalance)
Embrace vulnerability
Find the real bit of you, you can share or be today
Share and empower the group to share
Lose the imposter syndrome
Have faith and passion
Believe in yourself
Be aware of yourself
refresh yourself
Self care
Self check = open
ROLE MODEL WHAT YOU NEED Model open risk taking behaviour “the stripped back exposure of humanity
Be a courageous example
Come from the heart – purposeful self disclosure
Speak from your truth making an invitation
HEARKEN TO  THE GROUP Listen, really listen
Watch, really watch
Actively Listen
Sensitive, watchful, observant, tuned in
Be consciously aware of issues in the group – writing them out, looking at them, acting upon them
Be aware of the group
Deep curious listening to others and self
Acknowledge they may have other stuff going on
Have the eyes of a child
CREATE A CULTURE OF CONNECTION Nurture and enabling a group culture to develop as a priority
Pepeha or mihimihi
Invite people to bring a symbol or a story
More getting to know each other and icebreakers
Cultural symbolism matters, developing common language matters – music, symbolism, words
invite people to share
Clear outcomes expectations and boundaries
Create a safe space for people to engage for a common purpose – taking the time to draw out contributions
Build relationship
Affirm and value emotional intelligence
Empower those with passion
Empower and sharing
Connection and trust
Break the ice
CREATIVELY AND AUTHENTICALLY ACTIVATE AND ENGAGE Activities and mixing it up to make it fun and engaging
Good food good place
Prioritising fun and lightness when designing
As enjoyable for everyone a possible
Creative thinking
Create opportunities
Get people outside
Engaging and funny – like a video clip
More cool tools
Be open to trying new things
Real – real content
Create ways to engage deeply
Play – activities with a core focus on trust in order to build trust organically
Develop interaction and play
Make action
Get people Moving
Engage with the group
Create honeypots
Ask great questions
Less about content, more about enabling
Lead by doing – everyone is in it together
Use questioning techniques that lead to self learning
Create activities and encourage them
NIMBLY RESPOND Manage turning points in the process, create enough structure and content, then be open to outcomes
Be receptive to the vibe and be flexible
Let go of attachment to outcomes
Trust and openness- no preconceived ideas
Be open
Change the state
Be responsive
Know what needs preparation
Open to change, flexible
Take risks, let go of rigidness
Noticing –  look out for the opportunity in the moment
See what is emergent for the diversity of the group
Go with the flow of each group
Relaxing control
Feedback loops and reviews
Try, reflect, learn
Make mistakes to learn what works
Self reflection and keep learning
Celebrate success
Broaden your exposure – find a mentor, go to workshops

Learn visual tools for non-artists!


Extraordinary Visual Thinking

A one day introduction to the power of visual tools for life and work

Tauranga, Christchurch, Wellington


“If you want greater confidence to make and draw without having to be an artist, this is the course for you”


Visual thinking is a fast track to clearer thinking, deeper engagement, better recall and so much more.  This one day course is for people who want to get started on working visually and come away with powerful easy to master tools

Participants will come away with:

  • Knowledge about the benefits of visual thinking
  • Greater confidence to make and draw without having to be an artist
  • Top techniques to work with 8 key elements of visual work:
  • Objects and positions
  • Lines and dots
  • Scale
  • Text
  • Shade and colour
  • Themes and Templates
  • Icons (build your own library of 50 icons!)
  • Characters (top tips to draw Easy Peasy People in your own style)
  • Tips and a chance to try (or buy) the best tools
  • Ideas for how to apply your new skills;
    • Idea for participative visuals when working as a group
    • Ideas for Sketch notes for yourself to record and recall
    • Ideas to clearly communicate with and engage others
  • Create your own course book and take it home to continue your practice
  • Have access to a coach and the community of course participants to continue your learning

[This course is designed to perfectly complement the Introduction to Extraordinary facilitation 1 day course]

Liana’s Graphic facilitation is “awe inspiring” (Facilitation client)

“You know you get the notes from meetings and they go straight in the drawer, but I put that picture you did up on the wall for all my team to see” (Facilitation participant)


Your Guide


Liana Stupples is a creative facilitator who works with organisations and communities for sustainable outcomes.  She specialises in bringing together the worlds of outdoor adventure, singing, making and drawing to tough environmental and social issues.  When she was young she didn’t think she could draw, now she uses drawing and other visual techniques to help her clients clarify, communicate, create and collaborate.  Liana is a fun and engaging teacher and has developed this introductory course to be suitable for anyone who is curious about visual thinking.

Tauranga- discounted course:

This course is in Tauranga’s Historic Village on 26 March from 9-4

It is run in conjunction with the Introduction to Extraordinary Facilitation on 25th March

Cost: Extra-ordinary Visual Thinking (1 day) only $125, or

Introduction to Extra-ordinary Facilitation and Visual Thinking (2 days)- $200

Register with SociaLink


Tickets Wellington CBD 15  May here



Christchurch CBD 30 April here