If you watch “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” even as a guilty pleasure, and have any inkling of what a facilitator does, then you know that Chris Harrison is not a facilitator.
“Ladies, Bachelor, this is the final rose, whenever you’re ready,” Harrison announces at every rose ceremony as if the evening-gown-clad harem isn’t painfully aware of that fact in this outrageous competition to vie for a partner. He’s just announcing what comes next.
A facilitator protects everyone. Being on the “The Bachelor” is about the most emotionally unsafe place a young woman can put herself. One tool to keep everyone shielded is to set communication guidelines. These rules set the protocol for how dialogue will flow and sets an expectation for using respectful language.
Level Playing Field
Though each contestant starts out as just that—one contestant in a pool of 30 gorgeous 20-somethings, they quickly start pecking away at each other to elevate their chances with the featured male suitor. As the group quickly moves into a storming stage, a facilitator would implement tools to mitigate conflict. A facilitator would keep the participants on a level playing field to ensure everyone was honoring the communication guidelines. A facilitator would gently advise anyone out-of-control to collect her thoughts and speak only after she felt she was ready to calmly express herself using “I” statements.
Obviously, this would ruin the entertainment value that attracts its huge viewership.
Empowerment Toward Solutions
A facilitator values the group as a whole and helps the group members address and solve problems. Conversely, Chris Harrison’s job is merely to avoid the camera’s view when a girl has a meltdown. There’s not a lot of attention given to whether conflict is resolved so that the group can move forward on The Bachelor. It’s the opposite on the show, they want the group to shrink. Though elimination is the only way to reach to a single answer on the show, in a facilitation, the group goes through several exercises to arrive at the best answer based on all of the data available. Consensus reached!
It’s Hard Not to Watch
Reality shows like this are un-scripted soap operas for prime-time viewership that can quickly lure even the most reluctant viewer. Chris Harrison is simply a master of ceremonies to let it all happen. He’s great at it, don’t get me wrong! He has patience, grace, and on a personal level will take extra steps for the participants. But it is only on the finale and tell-all episodes, when every jilted would-be spouse vents about her experience, does Chris act as more than an emcee. Then he acts as a very permissive moderator, like an irresponsible parent. The name-calling explodes and the language is harsh and provocative.
Thankfully, a group is typically not seeking a fan base, ratings, and advertisers for their facilitated meeting. It’s a safe environment where people are treated equally and are allowed to share their opinions and insights that help move the group forward toward their goal.
If your next meeting needs a facilitator to help move the group along drama-free, Call Leslie Smith! Chris Harrison is NOT a facilitator! Leslie facilitates a variety of meetings for nonprofits and corporate clients including brainstorming sessions, vision and mission statements, objective setting, and strategic planning sessions. Watch this video and contact Leslie to book your meeting today.
Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit her website today to see how she can help you. See how easy your efforts can be here.