The impact of unexpected facilitation

24th February 2010

Today I met with a group of friends / colleagues who I met on a post-graduate course last year. Someone else had organised the get-together and the purpose was unclear. I wanted to meet everyone, but also wanted to ensure the day was a good use of my time. So, I decided to give some thought to the design of the meeting, to give it some structure, to make it useful for everyone.

I arrived early, set up the room and prepared my charts for the meeting. By the time I had done this I was getting cold feet about ‘inflicting’ my facilitation on the group. I had not contracted this role with them and I was amongst peers.

However, I was delighted at the reaction of the group, when they arrived. They all noticed the room layout, toys and materials. They viewed these positively, as a sign of effort that had been put into the day. When I explained the format I had prepared for the meeting, this was also greated with great warmth, as everyone there had had to work hard to keep the day free, and wanted to ensure they got the most from the session.

I think I am so used to being clear about my role, as an external facilitator, being contracted and paid to facilitate, that I had forgotten what it can be like when roles are ambiguous. My learning is to be courageous, and step into the void, to make preparations to get the most from any time you spend in meetings. Don’t listen to the inner voice that says your efforts will be rejected!