How facilitators bring forward the new
In Art of Hosting, there's no such thing as a hands-off host. If we are among any AoH cohort, we're constantly practicing how to host actively—to surface more voices that are often surprising, otherwise marginalized, and deeply valuable.
If we don't call out and counter the usual dynamics, the people who will step forward are the same people who always step forward.
Despite our best intentions, convening a circle of people does not make that circle equal. We're human beings, and too many of us don't realize how invested we are in the status quo. When we enter the circle, we tend to bring the dynamics that block systems change with us.
That's where we come in: the facilitators. We take on the rigor and practice of giving equal permissions, considering how and to whom we give voice and space. How can we best surface and centre ideas that may not have been the client's intention—why we convened—but that we know will be integral to good things moving forward?
Hosting isn't neutral. When it's neutral, it replicates dominant systems.
And so we practice non-neutrality, when it comes to equity. Above is a bit of at my talk in Ohio at the Practitioners' Gathering for Art of Hosting North America—or head over to the AoH North America page to hear the whole talk. In the power position of facilitator, host, or project lead, we have a voice and influence that participants don't have. So let's use it!