The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Facilitating Actively and Thinking Critically: February 1st MLDP Session

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On February 1st, Karen Liot Hill ’00, City Councilor for Lebanon, New Hampshire, braved yet another blizzard to join the Management and Leadership Development Program. Councilor Hill presented sessions on two different topics.

First, she led a session on facilitation skills, instructing participants how to “put an end to boring meetings.” In this session, Ms. Hill asked participants to share their experiences with both good and bad meetings, and encouraged participants to examine why these meetings failed or succeeded, thinking specifically about the meeting facilitator’s role.  Ms. Hill offered tips as to how MLDP participants could become more successful facilitators—ranging from the pragmatic (“make sure participants aren’t hungry”) to the technical (how to deal with the meeting participant who dominates conversation). Ms. Hill asked participants to work in small groups and present to the MLDP group some good practices for participants and meeting leaders before, after, and during the meeting. Ms. Hill closed the session by encouraging MLDP participants to be active facilitators in all aspects of their life: “I would challenge you all to think about how you could be facilitators in your own life. Whether it’s in a meeting or a group project, whether you’re the general or a soldier, you CAN be the facilitator.”

In the next hour, Ms. Hill then led a second session about critical thinking, beginning by speaking about her own experiences on the Lebanon City Council where critical thinking skills were especially useful. Councillor Hill introduced four tools for critical thinking: “OODA, SWOC, 6 Thinking Hats, and Mind Map.” She then invited participants to use these tools to analyze different issues around campus. Groups evaluated problems like the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder around campus, and identified potential solutions through the framework of these new critical thinking tools. Ms. Hill left ended the session with an important take-away: “Be thoughtful about how you think.”
-- Kristen Clifford '13

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