Author Archives: Karen Snyder


Holiday F Words

7323851_sAt holiday gatherings, my family of origin played word games (video games hadn’t been invented yet).

It’s natural, then, that I’d use words to facilitate your fantastic family festivities. Here are a few words related to work, work groups, and celebrations. (Some definitions are taken from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Others, I made up. You’ll know which are which.)

FACILITATE: To aid or make easier. I hope you’ve read something in my newsletters that’s made your job or life easier these past few months.
FACILITATOR: Someone who helps a group reach goals. One way I’d like to work with your team.
FELICITATOR: The person who leads the fun part of a meeting. The way I’d really like to work with your group.
FELIZ NAVIDAD: Good job–you’re right. Merry Christmas, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I’d like to wish you a happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwaanza, a glorious New Year’s, and a few relaxing days off.
FATIGUE: What happens when you focus on the details instead of the important stuff. May you keep your fatigue to a minimum during the holiday season.
FECUNDITY: Productive or creative power (work groups at their best).
FEEDBACK: One of the greatest gifts we can give to one another, especially when accompanied by respect and caring.
FEELING: Emotion. Also, a sensation received and delivered through touch. (That’s about all I can say to a business audience.)
FELLOW-FEELING: Sympathetic awareness of others. Very helpful in the workplace.
FEIGN: To fake or pretend. Not a constructive thing to do in a team meeting.
FLEXIBILITY: You’re demonstrating yours by reading this. Your co-workers must love you for it.
FOCUS: What it takes to ignore the urgent and accomplish the important.
FUN: Are you having enough? I hope you are, and that you’re putting more of it in your plan for 2015.
FEED, FOOD, FAT: May you have enough to feel full, but not so much you feel foolish.
FRIEND: What my clients become.
FINALE: If these messages have brought felicity to you, and fecundity to your work group, that’s fabulous.

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Holiday Party Scruples-Tips Not Found in the Employee Handbook

15833409_sThis morning I attended a breakfast with like-minded professionals. The conversation drifted to holiday office parties and career gaffes we’ve seen through the years. So here is my gift to you . . . a few norms that may not be in the employee handbook.

Keep in mind, the annual office party is a business event. It’s just held in a social setting.

Seeking a position of more responsibility? Sensible drinking can be synonymous with personal reliability. Highballs can lead to pitfalls.

In a relaxed setting, making unprofessional comments or telling risqué jokes is easy to do yet hard to overcome on Monday morning.

Fair or not, your date for the evening represents you. Whatever he or she discusses can be a reflection on you.

Concerning fashion, a little panache never hurts. But when your physique becomes the topic of conversation, you may have revealed too much.

Feel free to “re-gift” these words to colleagues. If they help prevent a career blunder, you will have indeed passed along a present. May your weeks ahead be filled with kindred professionals to share in food, love and laughter!

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Feedback and Recognition

Understanding Your Group: The Power of Observation

Good Observation Skills Can Give Us Valuable Information beyond What Is Being Said

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We spend much of our lives in various kinds of groups, but many of us seldom take the time to observe, discuss, and try to understand what is happening within them.

The ability to evaluate group behavior will help us become more effective group members and facilitators.

When we observe what the group is talking about (topic), we are focusing on the content, or on the task at hand.  Most discussions in groups emphasize content. “Is that topic covered in the report?” “Who is supposed to introduce that topic?” “When will we need those materials?”

Choosing meeting topics, analyzing information, and creating project schedules are all examples of content or task issues.

When we observe how a group is working together (interactions), we are focusing on the group process, or maintenance. One of the easiest aspects to observe is the pattern of communication.

Who talks? For how long? How often? Whom do people look at when they talk? Who talks to whom? Who interrupts whom?

…Other kinds of group process observations may include: How are decisions made? How are leaders chosen? How are group members interacting with one another?

The kinds of observations we make give us clues to other important things that may be going on in a meeting, such as who leads whom or who influences whom.

What interesting interactions and patterns have you noticed when you’ve observed in this way?  


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