Going for a Temporary Hat Change

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I’ve always had enormous respect for events organisers. It seems like a mammoth task. Large scale organising of something inviting enough for people to want to attend and probably paying for the privilege has always slightly horrified me. I’m not talking about a house party. I’m talking about the kind of thing that requires lots of people, all doing a variety of things, booking a venue, getting resources and activity programmes together, delegating roles and responsibilities and then publicising it all. Making something big happen. That kind of thing. So what do I think I am doing organising a music fundraiser and what on earth possessed me to put on such a different hat?

Well now. I suppose it goes something like this…..

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Reflections on life and learning in Nepal.

Today I want to talk about Nepal. I want to talk about that breathtaking and fabulous country that taught me so much. And about the fear and worry that hits you when you realise your friends were right there, in the midst of a massive earthquake.

I lived in Nepal for 4 years, 1999-2004. I went out there initially as a VSO volunteer training special needs teachers, parents and community based rehabilitation workers in Speech and Language Therapy (and a million and one other related things). I somehow went from being someone with a solid accademic knowledge but limited experience (having only graduated two years before) to being an absolute expert almost overnight. I was called upon as the person who seemed to know best about anything from complex disabilities and disorders to child development, psychology, fundraising and proposal writing, training and facilitation as well as becoming the resident English scholar. That’s pretty big when you’re only 23.

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Training Facilitation and Facilitating the Trainers

Most of my workshops are generally with people who are not used to doing lots of participatory group work, and don’t spend their entire day thinking mostly about the best way to engage and motivate each other.  That is in part why I’m there in the first place, to help them work better together! So there’s always that slight fear when you are facilitating or training a group of people who do spend their days thinking about it. The other people that do what I do. Or at the very least something similar.

There is that fear that you will say something wrong when you are standing up in front of those “in the know” and there’s that feeling that they may be internally rolling their eyes in horror in some way. What if I talk about my experience of using a certain tool and find out that they wrote the book about it? What if I do something that I consider quite innovative and they’ve seen it all before?

Actually, to be fair my biggest fear by far was boring them all.

I had no idea who knew what when I designed and delivered my chosen topic “Harnessing the Power of the Group” a few weeks ago. I did this at the Saltbox Trainers Exchange which despite not really knowing who was going to be in the audience, turned out to be a most fun filled Friday indeed.

I was up first which meant I could relax and enjoy the other training sessions later in the day. Apart from introductions at the start I had no real clue who any of the participants were and was faced with the potential of hundreds of years of collective training and facilitation experience right there in front of me. Minor exaggerations aside there were indeed some very experienced people in the room. But there were also some quite new to their roles. And some who knew lots about training, but less about facilitation. So  I needn’t have worried.

My session seemed to get everyone asking questions and generally talking about various experiences of facilitation. And everyone shared what they thought facilitation meant to them:

Facilitation

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Making Conversations Count in the Land of Social Media.

I thrive on the buzz of facilitating a workshop. I love it. But I also get quite excited being a participant. And that’s what I was doing last week, in the form of an Advanced Social Media course. I was participating in full and reaching down to communicate with my inner geek. I do have one of those, an inner geek. And I have learnt that it’s actually far nearer the surface than I thought.

Inner geek

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