Update on planning and pickles – or, pickled planning…
I’ve now completed two of the five-day facilitation training that was occupying my mind (and blog). As I eventually remembered (and knew all along, it’s just that I forgot) most things became clear once I was with the group. There were a number of things I could not have known in advance.
The venue is a Morata Haus – that’s an open structure with a thatched roof. There’s a concrete floor and ceiling fans, and lights and electricity – so its not completely rustic. But there’s no walls, and I tend to use walls a lot. It was beautifully set up with tables and ribbons and flowers, so I felt a bit bad about having to remove the tables. I knew I would need the space and I knew the tables would get in the way.
There’s lots of noise, motor mowing, cars, music, people coming and going. The participants speak quietly. It’s hot. And humid. And today it was windy as well. These are the conditions under which most of the participants will be facilitating so I’ve had to adjust what we do. There’s a greater focus on story, on using what’s available, on listening and awareness.
Next,the participants. There’s 13 of them. I expected anything from that number up to about 18. They have varying degrees of experience in facilitating groups, and varying degrees of understanding of English. My initial activities were all about connecting with them, finding out about their world, their work, their experiences of facilitation. So naturally I used sociometry. It worked a treat. Once I had this preliminary information, and knew what resources I had to work with the rest fell into place.
It’s a good reminder of the folly of planning. I couldn’t have predicted any of this, yet I’m able to adapt to it. Quite a difference really.