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HRINZ Conference 2004 Shifting the Thinking
HRINZ Conference 2004 Shifting the Thinking
next practice in people management

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concurrent workshops  (fringe)

Alastair Rylatt

F2 Creating Safe Space

Alastair Rylatt, Director, Alastair Rylatt Consulting

Creating safe space has now become the essential skill for all managers, coaches and facilitators. That is creating the time and place for people to have open and frank conversation on what matters. Without it, no business or community can improve.

It is easy to be side tracked in the world of e-mail, chat rooms and SMS that technology is helping us communicate. Yet at the most basic level 'face to face' conversations are still required to make the important breakthroughs in innovation, relationships and know-how.

Learn, experience and practice team and group skills to raise trust, build community and know-how. Encourage people to tackle the tough issue, stretch their imagination and build their capacity for a better future by taking the time to connect, collaborate and share in a meaningful way. Be entertained, stretched and stimulated.

Session Indicator




All levels

Grunt Factor: 

Soft theory




Presentation 20%; Q&A 20%; group work 20%; forum 20%; reporting 20%




This session is designed to demonstrate and practice the key skills required to create safe space in groups and meetings. Drawing on two decades as an experienced facilitator, lessons learnt will be detailed using a range of interactive and experiential exercises. The flexibility in the program is highlighted by the fact that open space will be created for maximum movement in the program. Here a room with a large circle of chairs will be the lay out. During a 90 Minute session I will lead around 6 separate exercises that will highlight and help people explore various issues relating to creating safe space. Highly practical and proven strategies form the basis of the session.

Topics to be explored include: developing the right environment, understanding permission, the need for creative tension, setting ground rules and how to establish constructive flow in conversations. At the end of this session, each participant will be able to:

  • Apply proven techniques to build trust and rapport
  • Determine new ways to create safety and permission in groups
  • List 7 key factors for creating safe space in business

This session was presented at the Australasian Facilitators Network conference in Sydney in December 2003.

Creating safe space is explored at length in my new book, Winning the Knowledge Game which was reviewed in HumanResources magazine December 2003.

Alastair Rylatt is one of Australia’s leading contemporary thinkers in modern business management and workplace learning. He is an inspiring presenter, expert strategist and award-winning author. His presenting and writing has taken him to major conferences and clients through the world. Alastair has presented at many national conferences including AITD, AHRI, ASTD, STADA, ISPI, Australasian Facilitators Network and NZATD. In April 2004 Alastair presented in the UK at the CIPD HRD Conference in London. His topic was Measuring and Managing Know-How.

Alastair has written four books - Winning the Knowledge Game, Learning Unlimited, Navigating the Frenzied World of Work and the award winning Creating Training Miracles. Alastair has consulted to over 200 organisations including close relationships with a number of businesses for a long time. Clients include: Australian Institute of Management, Australian Securities and Investment Commission, BT Funds Management Limited, City of Sydney Council, Coca Cola, CSIRO, Education and Training Support Agency (New Zealand), General Sekiyu KK (Japan), Harlequin Mills & Boon, NSW Department of School Education, NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, Reuters (Singapore), Roche Products, St George Bank, Singapore Institute for Management, Total Quality Management Institute (New Zealand), University of Western Sydney and Zurich Insurance.

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