We don’t know what we don’t know…. about working with large groups

7th October 2011

I have had the interesting experience of working with a client to develop a large group meeting. This client has a very traditional view of what is possible with a large group. I find myself having conversations with her and I am sure that the video playing in her head has been different from my video.

I have found my graphic skills, and the use of tablet technology to draw things live, even when working virtually, has been invaluable. This way I have been able to draw the picture of what I mean, with the aim of better clarity between us. On numerous occasions this approach has uncovered misunderstandings — fascinating!

I was struck by the general approach to working with large groups when I went to a school open evening last night. It was conducted in a traditional manner with the headmistress giving a speech, and all the prospective parents and pupils sitting in theatre style, listening. This was followed by a tour of the school.

As the end of the evening, I had heard a speech, met one current pupil (our tour guide) and seen the facilities. I didn’t feel this was great data on which to base a decision. I was struck by how great it would have been if the session had been run as a World Cafe, with existing pupils and members of staff mixing on small tables with prospective parents and pupils. The question could have been ‘How do we decide if this school is right for you?’. This would have allowed me to meet many more people and have multiple perspectives on the school.

I guess I will have to wait until my daughter starts senior school and then make this suggestion :-)!