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Lauren and her co-facilitator did a great job of this from moment one. She was welcoming, warm, and added a personal touch when she talked about asking her kids for advice on how to be successful during her presentation. (And there was no yelling involved so that was good. Although the prize box would have been nice). Great presence with the group. You claim to have no/limited facilitation experience yet you performed like a seasoned professional in this regard.
The slides were used in a very appropriate manner to help facilitate conversation and keep the session moving the way it was intended. The slides were used to enhance dialogue and conversation and help participants understand the concepts by putting words and pictures together for greater understanding.
Great explanation and "processing" of the counting the thoughts activity. Your acknowledgement of the importance of the activity and the realization that our thoughts are constant was important for the group.
Great job explaining the reflective writing activity and reviewing the guidelines for them.
It was clear that Lauren and her partner worked together to coordinate in advance. They were a great team. Lauren acknowledged all the comments from participants in a manner that made them feel heard and important as part of the group. At one point you asked a participant to share more and then gave him an out if he didn't feel comfortable sharing - great job. That is an important feature to remember, not everyone will want to share and providing them with an opportunity to share, or not, is critical.
These was not a significant challenge for Lauren and her partner, more of a general comment:
Monitoring time is a skill that will come with time and practice. Every group is different and will take some practice to figure out what information can be shortened or how a session can be modified depending on the "talkative" nature of the participants.
Open ended questions help to keep conversation and dialogue moving forward.