RECAP: Real Emotion in Real Time. How to manage challenging situations and build productive conversations


Catrin Owen, CEO of Calder Bateman, provided us with some great tips on how to be a successful facilitator in difficult situations when we are between two opposing parties. Some of her tips include stop being afraid of anger, disagreement doesn’t have to be dangerous, everyone has a right to an opinion – even an unpopular one, humility is more important than expertise, you must manage real emotion in a way that’s real, creating opportunities for everyone is important, and providing a summary is key.

To be an effective facilitator, you must first stop being afraid of anger. Sometimes the best conversations and creative ideas are fostered by heated discussions between individuals. We should embrace these tough situations and have both parties try to come to a conclusion that best meets both sides.

Secondly, disagreement doesn’t have to be dangerous. It is okay to have different perspectives but a good facilitator understands the point of views of both sides and helps keep the conversations going in a healthy manner.

Thirdly, everyone has a right to an opinion. Everyone’s point of view is important to the discussion and should not be ignored. Even the silliest comments could be impactful.

Fourthly, humility is more important than expertise. One should be humble and not always try to be more successful or better than the other party.

All these points above are important, but we also must remember to provide different opportunities for everyone to participate. Not everyone likes to speak publicly so we must provide other alternatives to encourage everyone to provide input and suggestions, such as filling out a form for feedback instead of talking in front of large crowds.

Lastly, a good facilitator must provide a summary to outline what were the key points in the meeting and what decisions were made based on the different conversations.