I love working with groups. The energy that emerges, the ideas that flow and the fun that people have in these environments is very rewarding.
I have been doing this for a lot of years, with a wide variety of audiences and one thing is clear – talking heads at the front of the room isn’t the best way to get action happening.
If you adopt a collaborative model then coming together with a common purpose has already set the scene before you start. Sure there will be some who don’t want to be there, some who are skeptical and some who want to see the process fail but inevitably those with the right mindsets prevail, they are the ones who get heard and get supported.
Ideas that are developed in a collaborative framework are generally both great, actionable and ulitmately actioned. This is clearly a more effective and efficient way to develop goals, strategies and to plan. It is what David Sibbet calls the learning cycle – imagine, engage, think, enact.
When I am doing this type of work I love to use visual aids, the type that the participants can use and can follow. Not animated multi media power point aids, if I need to use AV then I prefer to use Prezi which builds energy and interest into the presentation. No – what I really prefer is hand drawn visual aids. Mind maps, post-it notes, large paper templates, colored pens and white boards. Much easier to use, much easier to adapt to the flow of the meeting/workshop and easily transferred into the meeting notes that go out later. And given that either the participants or the facilitator is collecting the ideas of everyone who is participating then engagement from the attendees is a natural outcome.
Ideas feed of others, plans get built, people aren’t frightened to participate.
Outcome = progress and results. Less defering items for decsision, less reasons for not doing something, less procrastination, more positive discussion, more go forward decisions.
This all adds up to productivity, positive energy and big picture thinking.
I bet y0u wished this was a description of the meetings and workshops that you have to attend! It isn’t that hard – you should try it next time you get a chance! Any questions, just ask.