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WTF? A mantra for facilitation

Have you ever sat in a facilitated workshop and asked yourself; WTF?

I have. I do it before and during every workshop. I do it when I'm planning, I do it when I'm designing group exercises and I do it when I am listening to groups feel their way through the 'groan zone' in the middle of an explorative blue sky session. WTF?, WTF?, WTF?

When I'm on my feet, working as a facilitator, I stare at the group of people I am working with. I listen - I mean I really actively listen, to what is being said. I hear a voice in my head. It says 'WTF?'. I look to the back of the room where I see a large post-it note on which I have written WTF?. I look at my notebook. In large text on the top of the page it says just three letters: WTF?

As a facilitator WTF? is my mantra. It has become embedded in my way of working.


But wash your dirty minds. The WTF? that I advocate for facilitators isn't the one that you think. Instead, this WTF? acronym stands for 'What's The Focus?': the key question that facilitators should be asking themselves at every step along the facilitation journey, from check-in to check-out, and beyond.

Time is precious. Energy is precious. I use WTF? to help me use both to maximum effect, to hopefully ensure that not one minute of our time spent together is wasted, nor one burst of passionate outburst misdirected into an off topic rabbit hole. On topic is key.

Hit the key output.

Ask yourself,


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