Learning from the Comedy Value of Bad Meetings

I am the kind of person that gets inspiration from all over the place. I get flashes of ideas and I seem to get them from everywhere; eating food, walking to the corner shop, talking to people, listening to music. I’d like to say that ideas come to me on my morning jog, but they don’t. I don’t embrace the world of jogging. I do love swimming but I rather like the meditative counting of lengths and the slight brain switch off that it provides. It wouldn’t be the ideal time for ideas to arrive anyway, not without some kind of waterproof notebook. Anyway, I digress……

flashes of ideas

My latest inspiration has come from watching TV. Which is interesting since I do so little of it (watch TV I mean). Have you ever seen W1A? I have to say, it’s brilliant. But it’s also painful to watch. It’s painful because it takes the extremes of reality, situations that we are all familiar with and pokes fun of them. In case you haven’t seen this slice of (fictional) satirical hilarity, it’s set in the offices of the management team in the BBC. Very funny.

And the meetings they have are what I want to have a little chat about………Continue reading

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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Are you a groupie?

I spend a lot of my time planning, preparing, organising and generally trying to work through the processes that I need to, to get things done. I can frequently be found surrounded by pieces of paper and pens, scribbling down ideas, drawing up lists or tables, and creating templates and plans.

On the one hand I like the mental space of me and my pen, sometimes flip chart and often my keyboard, writing down ideas, considering, cogitating, reflecting and polishing, untangling my thoughts so that they look the way that I want. I like to get my ideas down and to lay them out in a way that enables me to think, to create solutions and concrete plans. It’s important to have this time, and I enjoy the introspection. There is no one to tell me I am wrong, disturb my patterns of thought or tell me which direction I need to go in. I am guided, moderated and powered by myself.

I can in this way do what I want to do.

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Spokes evaluation tool

One of the types of workshop that I particularly like facilitating are review or evaluation workshops (the subtle difference between which we will deal with in another post!).  There are hundreds of different methods and tools to do these kinds of evaluations. One of my favourites is called Spokes. If you take a look at the picture below, you will see fairly quickly why it is called spokes,  (assuming my artwork is up to scratch) as it should look like the wheel of a bike with its spokes. This is most definitely not something that I invented, but something that I came across several years ago and have used quite a few times.Continue reading

Training, facilitation and pink arrows!

So, here’s the news for today – I’m not a trainer. I am a facilitator. That’s not to say that I haven’t done lots of training in the past. In fact I spent three years training lots of lovely people in Nepal as a VSO volunteer. I absolutely loved it, which is probably why I ended up staying for three years not two!  Most of the training I did was around language development, a whole plethora of communication skills,  and disability. VSO trained me immensely well to take the leap from Speech and Language Therapist, to trainer in anything vaguely related (and lots that wasn’t). The training skills I learnt to use were participatory, as in they got the people being trained by me (the participants) properly involved.

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