I recently saw a shooting star. I stopped and thought - I have heard you should make a wish; so I did. My wish was to see more shooting stars and other things that would make me stop and think. The technical term for this in training is reflection. I have been reflecting on the structure of my facilitation training. This workshop will be on 5 March and I always like to add in something new. I use the facilitation techniques Open Space, World cafe and Appreciative Inquiry, but my research shows me there are many more techniques that encourage dialogue and participation. I have also used and designed DEMOCS activities for learning about how we learn, and risk management.
What interests me in these techniques is what the participants learn in guided discussion and what as facilitators we need or want to capture at the end. We often spend time at the end of workshops giving feedback to all the groups, but the problem for me, as the facilitator, is to ask is this necessary? And what do we use the feedback for? I have changed the way I run these sessions and asked the participants to go and speak to one or two people that they have not spoken to before and ask them to answer the questions 'What did you learn today?' and 'What are you going to do differently tomorrow?' The problem for me is I don't hear the conversations, so, in the past I would have felt frustrated and not been sure what had happened as a result of the facilitation - until I met Anne. Anne attended an event I facilitated two years ago. I have no recollection of Anne being at this event, but she remembered me, she said to me "You are the woman that ran that event that I met Jackie. She and I have been working together on employment placements and getting real successes in getting young people into work. We only ever met because you gave us time to chat and the enthusiasm to go and make a difference. Sheila, you are a real star!" Actually, she is the real star because she gave me the confidence to spend less time at the end of a session getting feedback from all the groups. I now just let the participants travel on their own path. I don't need to know where they are going, just wish they have a great journey - this process, is just like my shooting star experience!