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on 27 November 1998
After having read about 30 facilitation/negotiation books, I have to conclude that this is the best. A lot of thought has gone into both the process and the presentation of the facilitation process in this book. I always recommend this book to my teaching assistants and often give them a copy free of charge. If you buy just one book in this area, make it this one! By the way, I have no connection whatsoever with either the authors or the publishers involved. I just believe that this is far and away the best book for facilitators. Not only does it have the best ideas, but it also has the best visual presentation of those ideas!
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on 14 August 1996
OK, I'm biased. I'm Sam's brother. But I saw this gang work on this book for YEARS. They brainstormed an underlying theory of group dynamics that drove meetings. By 1983, when I came to California and started attending their meetings, this theoretical work was well underway. The crowd working on it was a collection of psychologists and several other professionals (legal, computing, writing, etc.)

By 1983, they were already training people to be facilitators and recorders.

As the facilitator training developed into a powerful 15-session class, they polished a remarkable set of self-contained slides. The slides illustrated techniques, insights, and overall models of how agreements are reached and how discussions are (or aren't) progressing.

Once the slides were in good shape (for teaching purposes), they spent five years turning them into pages of a remarkably clear, practical, and insightful book.

This is a valuable book for anyone who wants to create and run meetings that promote worthwhile discussions and result in genuine agreements.
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on 20 January 2013
An incredibly useful book for me. Reading this book has given me a totally new awareness of what's actually going on in fruitless discussions and dysfunctional meetings, and also how to keep focus on my goals and intentions when cooperationg and negotiating. The book is comprehensive, and the methods seem to be sound and well proven, not just some fancypants, flavour of the month ideas. Just starting out and using some of these tools has already helped me involve others in order to make better decisions, and also to make decisions and action plans a lot more likely to be followed through. And not the least: Avoiding time wasting, boring, unproductive meetings. If the book cost ten times as much, it would still be a great buy.
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on 1 April 2017
If you've facilitated groups (I have) this will explain much of what you'll experience as you guide them toward decisions. The section about 'the groan zone' alone explains a whole lot about groups energy.

You can't learn to be a facilitator from a book, but this at least helps you understand what's going on.
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on 15 April 2013
This book just didn't speak to me. It's lauded on the back cover as "the best book on collaboration ever written" so maybe it's just me. That's OK. I recommend "The Skilled Facilitator" by Roger M Schwarz ISBN 1-55542-638-7 as a complement or alternative to it
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on 2 June 2013
Rather dry from my point of view. Exepcted a bit more "colour" from the book and so was disappointed. There are better books in my view.. sorry!
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on 14 October 1997
All in one package are tools for training, helpful hints for group leaders, the dynamics and processes of decision-making, group process skills, agenda design, discussion techniques and more. The authors are obviously masters of their craft, and using their guidelines will undoubtedly enhance the effectiveness of facilitators and workshop leaders. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The book is visually accessible, with one idea per large page, each page a diagram of the presenting issue. In teaching about the dynamics of group decision-making, for example, the text and illustrations move through various stages of divergent thinking, through the "groan zone" of differences and diversity, to arrive finally at convergent thinking and a group decision that is truly participatory. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Groups and their leaders, being human, inevitably get stuck. For this dilemma the authors provide not just skills for problem solving, but "mindsets for problem solving," encouraging the examination of attitudes, values, and underlying philosophies of cooperation, competition, inclusion, expedience and sustainability. With such a checklist we might not only solve any current group crisis, but also avoid future problems by shifting the underlying causes of conflict. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The authors are very trusting of groups and their members. There is no blame on membership or leadership when meetings or workshops are not flowing smoothly. The authors state that "Difficult dynamics are treated as group situations that can be handled supportively rather than as individual personalities that need to be fixed." Advice is given for encouraging members to to work together to tackle "any pattern they may wish to change." This volume does not focus on specific issues such as prejudice, stereotyping , and social oppression; this is a training manual in generic group process. It is a well stocked tool box out of which groups can draw what is needed to address their particular group issues. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ If you are a group leader or member, this book will help improve your understanding and performance. If you are a professional trainer, consultant, or educator, this Facilitator's Guide will likely enhance your skills, smooth your rough edges, and increase your effectiveness. That alone seems worth the price. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~by Paula Green; published in Fellowship July/August 1997; used with permission.
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on 19 June 2011
This book is well written for those people, like myself, who are new to facilitation activities or
who are facilitating meetings as part of a wider range of work activities. I am not sure if it
would offer anything new to those experienced facilitators who are running meetings as their
main role. I found it useful as it offered a range of pointers and ideas for running meetings. I
would certain recommend it to other newbie facilitators.

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on 3 October 2000
This book is just simply the best one I have ever read for facilitators. It is practical, easy to get your head around and great for the UK audience (not your typical gooey North American content). Simply the best....simply buy it!
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