Playing with dialogues online

Recently  Joitske Hulsebosch and Simon Koolwijk conducted two workshops on ‘How to facilitate with social media’.   The workshops were held at AgentschapNL and the IAF-Benelux Conference ‘Facilitation as a {2nd} profession.

An appealing exercise during one of the workshops was how to convert a face-to-face exercise into an online exercise, while facilitating. Based on the online exercise, two truths and a lie, participants introduced a number of creative exercises.   See video:  Two truths and a lie:

Some exercises which were presented to be introduced online:
1.The line up
 Ask participants online to order themselves according to a question in a row. For example, position yourself based on your birthday in the line up.   The people who have their birthday date close to January move upwards, and the ones who have been born closer to December move downwards. is an excellent tool for doing this game.

2. Debate game
Start an online debate by introducing a statement. Again is an excellent tool for doing this exercise.  For example:   If you are a good f2f facilitator, you definitely will be a qualified online facilitator!   The ones who agree move to the left side, and the ones who disagree move to the right side.  After that you can exchange by using the chat or a skype conference call.
3. Share a photo
Ask participants to share a photo about something they like, a hobbie or something special., Ning or Facebook are excellent tools for uploading and exchanging photos.
4. Mindmapping is an online whiteboard, which provides opportunities to make drawings.  Making a mindmap is an excellent way to do an introduction exercise or an evaluation online together.

Another exciting experience was a twitter chat, which was practiced at the conference ‘Facilitation as a {2nd} profession.  Through participants can exchange experiences and questions at a particular topic.  We used the #IAFNL11 to have an online dialogue. By using Twitter 12 participants communicated intensively on how they experienced the conference sofar.  At first glance a twitter discussion looks very chaotic and unstructured.  But compare it with going into a bar or a party having 100 visitors. You can not communicate with all the 100 people at the same time, but based on interest and curiousity you look for the people who are fun to talk to.  
It is the same with Twitter. You just follow and communicate with the few ones, you like to meet and to exchange. The role of the online facilitator is to follow the exchange and the discussions. Most of the times there is no need to strictly structure the meeting, as is the same with a party.  Most important is that the conditions and atmosphere is relaxed and easy going.  The online facilitator can do this by throwing in some challenging questions into the discussion,  to remind people of the goal and focus of the discussion and to link people who have a similar area of interest.   About the benefits and challenges of a twitter discussion event,  you can read more at the article Twitter Chat - author SuzanneBakker.

Transforming a face to face exercise into an online dialogue is fun to do!  It challenges your mindset for creative thinking and when started it is difficult to get yourself stopped!  For more information about online facilitation read 


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