The power of neutral
Neutral was a handy gear when I had my first car at 18.
My 1970 VW beetle was vintage, even back then. It was also a neutral colour — ‘fawn’ according to its registration papers.
Don’t laugh. That probably explained why I could afford to buy it on waitressing wages. And why it was never stolen.
But it was a colourless car full of character. And its weakest gear often proved the most effective — at least for my circumstances.
When the petrol tank was low, neutral kept my car rolling. Literally. Down every hill, I slipped into neutral. That kept me on the road until my next pay day.
Quite a powerful trick for a gear with no grunt.
Which leads me onto the power of ‘neutral’ for us as facilitators.
‘Staying neutral’ sounds a bit like a journalist ‘staying objective’. It looks good on paper and in professional codes of ethics. Applying it in practice is another thing.
As facilitators we bring our own personal views to our work. They influence who we choose to work with, the questions we design, how we frame a topic and yes, the music we play.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing — so long as it doesn’t get in the way of other voices, ideas, and personal views being expressed. After all, we’re there to get participants’ ideas flowing… not to drown them in our own views on the topic at hand.
I’d love to hear what you think. Should a facilitator ‘stay neutral’? Can we? How? Share below and let me know.