Access for the Disabled
Please make sure that the facility you are having your sessions at is easily accessible for everyone in your group.
Consider making arrangements for childcare for those that may need it in order to attend. This can be a blessing for those that want to attend who might otherwise be unable.
Even in groups of people who know each other well, name tags can save from embarrassment people who have difficulty remembering names. (It’s more common than most people are willing to admit.)
If your group has the luxury of time, extending the sessions from 90 minutes to 2 hours and including a pot-luck meal will add greatly to the cohesiveness of the group. If you do include a meal in your program, please be sure that all are aware of any special dietary needs of others; especially food allergies, gluten, and animal product restrictions.
Model Humility, Empathy, Compassion, and Kindness
As a facilitator, is not your job to teach others how to be Humble, Empathetic, Compassionate and Kind; however, it is your job to embody those virtues as much as possible while facilitating the course. Facilitators should be comfortable acting as ‘checks’ upon the participants and each other and suggesting ways of handling situations in as HECK-like manner as possible.
Prepare ahead of time
Please watch the TED talks and review the Participant Guide each week before the session so that you have a good understanding of the content and can prepare for the discussions. What is the session saying to you? What will it say to the individual participants in the group? Where might your group get bogged down or off track?
Facilitate, don’t teach or preach
The learning in this course comes from introspection and personal discovery. Every group and every participant will get something different out of every session; that is both intentional and essential. Fight the urge to help the participants to come to the same understanding that you have and discourage participants from ‘teaching’ as well. If there is an important point that you believe is being missed, form your thoughts into a question for the group, rather than a statement of fact.
Permit dialogue but not debate
In the Participant’s Guide there is an attachment that differentiates between discussion and debate. Please review thoroughly during the first session, and feel free to reference it again as necessary.
Be respectful of people’s time and schedules
A key task of the leader is to assure that the sessions start on time and finish on time. If people arrive late – and accept that they will – encourage them to integrate themselves into the session with as little disruption as possible. Don’t hold the group up waiting for one or two individuals, and don’t shame those that were unable to get there on time.
Learn from your group
One of the great benefits to being a facilitator is the opportunity to be surprised by the group. Often you will think you know how a presentation will be received or how a discussion is going to go, and something else happens instead. Embrace surprises and be open to seeing things in a different light.
Be a good teammate with your facilitation partner
Don’t simply be co-facilitators; be facilitation partners. Implicit with this is an honesty about with what responsibilities each partner is comfortable, and what they are not. Be clear about your own strengths and needs, and be aware of your partner’s strengths and needs. Act as a team.
Value each of your participants
Different people are at different points along their own path to HECK. The path is steeper in some places and the view better from others. Meet people where they are and encourage them to continue the journey. The good news is that you are all committed to moving toward the same destination.
Share of yourself
An important part of a successful course is the building of trust and allowing vulnerability. As a facilitator, you are not expected to keep a distance; instead you are encouraged to share your own stories and assume the same risks – and share of the same rewards – as the participants.
Avoid group therapy
There’s a fine line between being supportive and offering advice; but it’s a line we must be careful not to cross. Please guide the group away from trying to offer advice to each other toward simply being with each other and appreciating each other.
Praise publicly, correct privately
Very often you will find members of your group making a great observation or sharing a valuable story. You owe it to them to thank them on behalf of the group, publicly in front of the group. Very occasionally you will find members of your group straying from the path and not displaying HECK behavior. You owe it to them to gently alert them to this on behalf of the group, privately away from the group.
Managing a mixed group of introverts and extroverts
We’ve all had experiences in groups where some individuals feel compelled to control the conversation; and others where it is difficult to get anyone to speak. In truth, every group discussion is going to be somewhat dominated by some and not by others. Your job as facilitator is not to assure that every person gets an equal amount of time to speak, but that everyone gets an adequate opportunity to be heard. The best way to overcome an individual who is monopolizing the conversation is to interrupt to ask if anyone else has a different perspective. Don’t discount the monopolizer’s statements, instead add to them with comments from others.
We’ve tried to make this course usable and useful for a broad range of groups and individuals; however, you should feel free to adapt it for your particular group. The only request we would ask that you honor is that you explicitly consider each customization you make to the form, format, or content of the course against a requirement of inclusivity, non-divisiveness, and respect for all people – both those in and out of the course.
Including other media
The selected TED talks were timely and on target when this course was created. However, the beauty of using publicly available presentations is that new stories, new messages, and new presentations are released on a continuous basis.
If this is your first time facilitating the course, please use the curated media. It may not be immediately apparent why a particular TED talk was selected, but trust that it will be revealed in the group discussions and as this course proceeds.
If you do augment or replace the presentations with alternative material, and you find the alternative material worked well with your group, please let us know through the web site. We continually review the course to keep it current, topical, and appropriate. Help us grow this course for all, both in breadth and in depth.
Meeting excessive demand
You may find that your efforts to advertise the course is met with a positive response of more people than you were prepared to handle. Congratulations! We offer two suggestions:
- If the limiting factor is with the number of presentation systems available to serve the size of your group, we suggest coming together as a large group for the Video Pesentations but breaking up into smaller groups for the Epiphanies and Discussions. More than 8-10 participants in a discussion group is problematic. When the group becomes too large, intimacy is lost, and participants feel compelled to speak about what they believe are ‘universal’ truths rather than their own ‘personal’ truth.
- If the limiting factor is the number of available facilitators, we suggest that you find an equitable way to limit the participants for this course offering and work to add additional offerings in the near future. The good news is that each time the course is offered, you will be training a new set of potential facilitators which may subsequently be tapped for facilitating future offerings.
Special Considerations for Religious Groups
An intentional decision was made to make the course non-religious so that it may be accessible by the greatest number of people. However, we recognize the central role that religion and spirituality plays for many people in their journey along this path, and that the virtues that this course promotes are the same virtues promoted by the vast majority of religions and religious organizations.
Feel free to add in religious symbols and traditions as appropriate for the entirety of your group. For instance, including a prayer at the opening and closing of a session may be appropriate. If you do introduce religious customs and beliefs into the course, please be certain that those beliefs and customs are commonly held by all participants. Do not assume that all members of your group share the same core beliefs. The virtues of Humility, Empathy, Compassion and Kindness are universal. Any inclusion of religious customs and beliefs should be used to enhance the course experience; the course should not be used to promote a particular religious belief system.
Please consider using this course as a way to bring together your religious community with the greater community. We are hopeful that many religious organizations will use this course display and spread the core tenants of their faith, without a need or desire to evangelize or promote their own religious traditions, scripture, or institution.