I sat down this morning to design a workshop agenda for a group that I now work with frequently. Looking at their goals for the afternoon brainstorming session, the same techniques came to mind that I often use for this kind of thing. They are interactive, productive, create great artifacts for recording, and participants love them. Great, right?
But I use those techniques alot and I was not so excited about this first draft of the agenda. It reminded me of a management training workshop I attended last year. The overall design was good, but it seemed to me that the trainer was on autopilot. The delivery was too mechanical, the trainer did not appear to be excited, experimental, learning herself – that affected my experience.
When you are working with a group as a trainer or facilitator, no matter how watertight the session design, you are ultimately the primary vehicle for their experience, optimising their contribution, managing the emotions they go through as they explore new ideas, and potentially challenge old assumptions, and work with them to harness the energy they need to try out the options generated.
At some level you need to model this too, try some new things, experiment and show the excitement you get from new ways of working and thinking. Anyways, I want to be able to look ahead to the workshop and feel excited about it (not bored!)
So I picked up Thiagi’s “100 Favorite Games” and have had a good time adapting a few of these activities to this groups’ needs. After all, if I am the vehicle for this group’s afternoon brainstorming, I might as well give all of us a good ride.