Kaleigh Cornelison, MSW
Engaging. Creative. Practical.


Thoughts, Tips & Tools

Posts in Facilitation Skills
Keeping the Faith in an Echo Chamber

I think most people who know me would say I’m an optimist. I definitely think of myself as a “glass half full” kind of gal and as a facilitator and trainer I feel like part of my core belief is that people can grow, change and learn. But, if I’m being honest, my positive outlook has begun to waver a little lately.

What really got me thinking about this was something unexpected. I’m a part of a Trail & Ultra Running facebook group (running is one of my #1 self-care strategies). The group is comprised of people from all over the country who usually share tips and suggestions, training plans, gear recommendations, etc. Last week, a woman in the group posted this article. To me, what’s spelled out in the article is pretty commonplace for women in running. We have to go the extra mile (ha. runner pun) in order to keep ourselves safe when we run alone or at night or in a secluded place so when the comments on this post ranged from insensitive to “women shouldn’t be stupid and put themselves in a bad situation” to “SO WHAT I CAN’T EVEN SAY HELLO ANYMORE?!” I added my perspective in what I felt was a balanced, helpful, non shaming way, I wanted to help other people in the group understand the issues with blaming women for their own assaults and harassment and how that perpetuates a culture where perpetrators are not held accountable. Unfortunately, it didn’t go how I hoped and I fell down the hateful comment rabbit hole. Not just with men in the group but women as well. The level of victim blaming was pretty high and people clearly stated that they would “never change their mind” no matter what.

It may be naive of me but I felt so discouraged by that. I got me thinking about how often we train, facilitate and educate in echo chambers, to people who mostly agree with us, or who showed up at the event we’re speaking at because they’re already interested in what we’re talking about. But how do we get to those people who say they’ll never change their minds? Who are so adamant that their way is the right and only way? Often in my trainings I’ll say something to the effect of, “Can I challenge you to look at it a different way?” but what if the answer to that question is “no”?

I’m still thinking about how to tackle this question, but in the meantime I’m trying to keep the faith. Here are some ways I’m working on to take care of myself in the face of this echo chamber.

When everything feel like just too much, what do you do to take care of yourself?


Bonus footage of me running the Santa Monica 10k in September

Bonus footage of me running the Santa Monica 10k in September


Starting Strong: Quick & Easy Check-In Questions

One way to simply and easily build rapport within your team is to consider using a fun or creative check-in or icebreaker at the start of your team meetings.  Go around and hear everyone's answers or if you have a large group, have people pair up and tell each other the answer to a check-in question and then have a few people share with the larger group. This can be a quick simple way to get people talking. 

Here are some of my favorite check-in questions - some silly, some serious – choose the question that’s right for the mood of the group and what’s been going on with the team lately. Or take turns asking a different person to come up with or choose a check-in question each meeting.

  • If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
  • If you were a vending machine, what would you dispense and why?  
  • Share a joy and a concern (Or a crappy and a happy)
  • If your mood today was the weather, what would the weather be?
  • If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  • If you could spend one day in someone else’s life, who would it be?
  • If you could describe your mood in one color, what would it be and why?
  • If your life was a movie, what would it be called?  
  • Give one word to express your mood today. 
  • Rose (a bright spot), bud (something that has potential), and thorn (a pain point). 
  • What one thing that you’re proud of?


Additional Check-in Question Resources

600+ Icebreaker Questions

Check-in Questions (My favorite list)

Icebreaker Questions



Over the past 10 years I've accumulated an awesome library of resources that I use to inform my training and facilitation and I'm excited to share them with you! You can anticipate a variety of posts including helpful videos, articles, podcasts, book recommendations, and websites - all of which you can use to enhance your own training and facilitation. I really look forward to sharing those thoughts, tips and tools!