Adventures in Facilitation

Over 9 hours today, Aisha (co-facilitator for this big conference in La Reunion) and I drove one and a half hours into the mountains to heroically visit our workshops’ venues for tomorrow, and then another hour to the Thursday venues, where we:

* Visited and counted over 1700 chairs in 37 workshop rooms;
* Tested coffee makers for noise and ease of use (I will not sleep for 2 days);
* Checked at least six set of toilet stalls for paper and soap (interestingly found in most cases only in the men’s toilets, we did find soap then…);
* Shook hands with the proud Mayor of a small town;
* Remembered that, when you give 500 people the same backpack (gift for site visit), they cannot imagineably find their own again when they put them down, without a label (not a popular recollection with the person who had to go out and find 500 luggage tags);
* Noticed that there are no waste baskets in La Reunion, thus see a huge market opportunity for portable, pop up waste baskets;
* Strategized bus turnaround opportunities on one lane roads with no shoulders;
* Bought 25 magic markers, 100 squares of sticky stuff; and at least 600 boiled sweets;
* Told the person who had given logistics announcements that he had erroneously announced a bus meeting time that was 30 minutes too early (06:30 instead of 07:00) and recommended that he correct that announcement or risk getting lynched by hundreds of non-morning people at breakfast;

I could go on, but the organizing team has just walked in the door, and I need to get back into my mild-mannered facilitator clothes and work with them on the best learning designs for their large-scale workshops, and, of course, brief them to take their own TP tomorrow…

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