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Robin Rifkin & Librada Estrada

invite you to join an exciting course of intensive facilitation skill building for online facilitation:

Technology of Participation™ (ToP) 
Facilitation Methods Online Training

This class is  online and geared to learning ToP methods for online application! 

  • Equip yourself with the proven ToP™ participatory facilitation methods for use in staff and partnership meetings, collaborative planning projects, community engagement, organizational life, learning communities, and professional trainings.  These methods, developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs, have been used in communities and organizations around the world at village meetings, community forums, and in boardrooms. 

  • Explore the landscape of facilitation and learn three key facilitation processes for activating group participation virtually, in our acclaimed ToP flagship course modified for the virtual world. If you have found yourself … struggling to conduct meaningful online conversations,  anxious about what to do when someone dominates the conversation or no one speaks, or challenged to get people to commit… then this engaging, live,  online modular course is for you. What you learn about facilitating in an online format is universally applicable and will help you confidently move any group from unproductive conflict or confusion to consensus and commitment.

  • This training will transform your understanding and appreciation of flow in a conversation, group process, and your role as a facilitator. 

  • You’ll be more skilled, prepared and confident as you plan and facilitate meetings!

What will be included? 

Theory, skill development and practice of each of the three core approaches:

The Focused Conversation Method

The Focused Conversation Method applies a structure for effective communication that allows everyone in the group to comfortably participate in the discussion. It is a method of facilitating group and individual conversations allowing participants to deepen their insights and end with more clarity or come to a decision.  This results in broadened perspectives, and clear resolve or conclusions. 


The Consensus Workshop Method 

The Consensus Workshop Method is a way of bringing individual ideas to light, then step-by-step, through discussion and insight, transform the group's thinking into focused consensus decision and action. This method generates new creativity and incorporates both a rational and intuitive approach to problem solving, building team unity very quickly.  

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Action Planning

Action Planning combines the Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop Methods to assist groups create events or program plans very quickly. Groups will create a clear picture of successful outcomes, and then will build an implementation plan with roles and responsibilities and shared commitment to ensure success.

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And more!

Take-Home References:

Our comprehensive participant workbook and slide sets and templates clearly outline the steps for each method, will serve as a practical tool for your future use. 

Small Class Size:

The training will be presented in a relaxed and interactive small group learning environment, with plenty of time for small group work. Individual learning and practice are emphasized.

An Exceptionally Qualified Faculty

Librada  Estrada and  Robin Rifkin bring a wealth of facilitation and training experience working with large and small nonprofits, businesses, public health and community agencies, governmental and educational institutions and neighborhoods. They are skilled at both transferring these methods and answering your questions about how these methods work in settings, like yours, and around the world.

Dates for Spring 2024 Course:

The course is spread across four sessions, all three hours from 11 am – 4 PM, EST, and includes 2 breaks and a meal break

  • Wednesday April 10: Landscape of Facilitation  & Focused Conversation, part 1

  • Friday. April 12: Focused Conversation, part 2

  • Wednesday, April 17: Consensus Workshop

  • Friday, April 19:  Action Planning

Questions? Contact: Robin Rifkin:, 215-880-5496.


Pricing is variable due to organization size.  

Register for this course at this link

CEU Credits Certified Health Educator Specialists (CHES/MCHES) earn 13.5 CEUs for this course.
American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) members earn 14.5 credits for this course.

What recent past participants have said:

Online training quotes from previous online classes:

Course Highlights

"I started using the methods right away. I love how we begin with aspirations. I loved how interactive the virtual approach has been - both engaging during the training and learning for my own use. ToP takes what feels like a very messy process and provides a comprehensive structure. You can quote me on that!"

"The creative use of platform functions to elicit engagement (comments, moving shapes, tagging, embedding links to other docs, etc.) was really helpful (and inspiring)."

"Breakout groups, lots of opportunity to practice, helpful slide deck and materials, strong trainers, discussion with other participants, all of the tools that are easy to apply now."

"Design - visual and interactive design, use of Google slides/sheets promoted engagement and supported learning and fun! It was seamless delivery in the virtual environment. Content - clear, thorough description of process and methods, with opportunity to learn, practice, reflect on each experience. People - Exceptional instructors and wonderful peer learners. As a virtual trainer and facilitator, I was truly impressed by what I learned and observed in this training. Outstanding!"

"I enjoyed the structure and the use of Google tools for virtual facilitation. Robin and Nancy are a dynamic duo - quote me on that!"

"I loved how interactive this course was and that it gave me tangible skills to use."

"The virtual techniques for meeting management, the structured process and methods for particular meeting outcomes."

"The practice, the class, and the trainers were amazing."


Insights and Learning quotes:

"To not be involved/to step away from the decisions when facilitating."

"I think I learned to be more intentional about preparation and planning meetings. The involvement of people's values and emotions in a meaningful way was something I don't think I had ever begun to master and now feel comfortable with these aspects of meetings."

"Deep grounding in group dynamics and related theory"

"Difference between facilitation skills and methods."

"Focused conversations are everywhere. They can be built into absolutely anything."


"I've learned more ways to utilize google slides."

"The ORID structure for meeting flows"

"Practice and preparation are key to success."

In-person class quotes:

"Robin truly delivered an impactful training experience that has helped me improve my personal effectiveness and self-confidence to lead more productive meetings. The content was immediately useful and transformational in my approach to moving groups to shared understanding. I found the ToP training to be invaluable to my business, and fun too."

- Participant, Philadelphia 2019 Facilitation Training

"Lots of great examples of their work facilitating groups. Great energy and enthusiasm for the subject."   

- Participant, Washington D.C. 2019 Facilitation Training

"There is no better way to make your work/community more effective than learning awesome facilitation methods from expert facilitators. These incredibly participatory methods are essential to making every voice count in order to achieve your goals!"

- Participant, Facilitation Training

"I attended your May workshop in Philly with two of my colleagues from the Episcopal Diocese of NJ. There’s much I could (and would be happy to in the future) share with you about how we’ve been using ToP in a variety of situations and the tremendous impact it’s had in every single instance where we’ve used it.  Including our own strategic visioning – we did a 2-day Bishop’s Staff retreat in mid-July where we employed several ORIDs, a consensus workshop and an action planning session (which we’ll be finishing/following up on next Friday) to great effect.  These techniques have proven more effective than any other single approach we’ve come across in helping us help others…and ourselves…arrive at mutually beneficial ways forward in all kinds of situations.  We’re still discovering new ways we can use them within existing programs and processes."

- Participant, Philadelphia 2019 Facilitation Training


“I wanted to send you an email to say how excellent I thought the ToP training was.  It isn’t often that I think that trainings are worth it in terms of time/energy/money invested but I think this one was!  I wanted you to know that I already used a focused conversation today and plan to use one tomorrow.  I am in practice mode.  Thank you for the great work you did and look forward to seeing you!”

- Participant, Philadelphia 2019 Facilitation Training


“A whole-hearted thank you for a terrific 2-day workshop last week!  In short order I applied the framework to 3 client engagements between last Thursday and yesterday. It has literally transformed the flow of my work.  I am so appreciative and grateful to you and Nancy for your excellent stewardship!  I now have another tool in my toolbox and it is tremendously helpful.  I will look to engage in other ToP/ICA opportunities to advance the way I work.”

- Consultant & Participant, Facilitation Training

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