Every single page of the first pad of flipchart paper had been written on, with marker was so dark that it was clearly legible on both sides. The second pad, with no cardboard backing, was shiny and slick and had been rolled and then stepped on, lining it with deep wavy creases. Another was on a roll and had the consistency and colour of toilet paper on a old French train. Three clean sheets of paper could be found left over – but the Facilitator needed six. Finding no scissors in the materials box, she drew a wavy line down the middle of each sheet so that the tear marks would not need to be so even.

It had been 5 minutes before the event was due to start when she finally found the venue, a highrise building which had its main conference room on the ground floor and the registration set up on the top. She took the lift up to help register people, all of whom were already there, and then zoomed back down the steps to prepare the room. By the time she started room prep, the event should have started too.

After half an hour of moving chairs out of the classroom set up, drawing up the flipchart sheets, and worrying about what the participants were doing up there (no coffee had yet been delivered), the opening sequence was ready. She went up sheepishly to collect people, through an exhibition that was noisily being set up outside the room for the event which followed. She would finish the preparation for the next part at coffee break (if coffee had shown up by then.)

Thankfully at this point I woke up, so completely surprised that my subconscious had thrown up such a detailed set of facilitation challenges in my sleep. If you can really learn something in any context, then the big message here for me must certainly be PREPARATION.  I cannot always anticipate/do anything about everything as the facilitator (although the buck often stops with me), but finding a venue so I can be there early, getting the sheets done in advance, going thoroughly through the materials and equipment list with the partner, or having an “icebreaker” in my pocket in case of a delay are some that I can. With some of these out of the way, all the other random things that life (or your dreams) can throw up can get your full attention.

Gee whiz, OK, I’m awake now…

I have three workshops/conferences in just over a week, let me go back to my prep now (and daydream about that vacation on the horizon)…

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *