Making space


April 9th, 2009

I’m all tuckered out after a fortnight of travelling, facilitating workshops – big and small, short and long. I’m embracing my inner hermit. Bunkering down to recover from being out there, performing as an extrovert, building rapport and trust, cajoling and challenging, and the hardest of all, holding space and getting out of the way.

I’ve taken more risks in the last fortnight than the whole of the past year. I’ve played improv games with scientists, accompanied by audible groans; I finally found a group willing to try haiku reflection; I made up processes on the run, with no idea what would emerge, trusting that the group would make meaning where they needed meaning; I tried to practice what I preach (teach?) by using sociometry more, by using the Story of Your Name with an intact group; and I went against the conventional wisdom and suggested that if I’d done my job well and they had passion and commitment then no action plans were needed – it would happen (thanks to Johnnie Moore for this inspiration). I spoke what I believed. I spoke up, and then shut up.

It’s been draining, and exhilarating.

And I’ll try and remember that:

  • Building rapport and trust is worth the emotional effort
  • Enthusiasm  is catching
  • Fun is fun at any age, and facilitates learning
  • Authenticity trumps gloss and slick processes – always
  • World cafe works best in groups of four, and without tables (more about this later)
  • I’ll never know when I’ll need that snippet of information I’ve read on a blog or in a book, or heard or talked about 
  • When all else fails – when things are going well even – conversation is the glue. Make space for more conversation.

2 Comments so far

  1. William Hall on April 10, 2009 11:44 am

    Yes. Thanks for sharing this Vic….great work…and I particularly enjoyed the bullet point reelections.

    One that I’ve tried to great effect is that when all else fails….ask the participants, ‘what’s next?”.

    That is, provided that ‘failure’ is not in the air. If they’re engaged and you’ve build rapport and trust asking them what comes next can be inspirational.

    But ….you know…I know, you already know this.

    Cheers,

    Rest up.

  2. Viv McWaters on April 10, 2009 11:54 am

    Thanks William

    Funny you mention ‘what’s next?’ – that’s exactly what I did in my last workshop a couple of nights ago. And the question I ask before ‘what’s next?’ is ‘what else?’ Works a treat.

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