Facilitation Challenges

Hi folks

I had a very interesting experience yesterday that highlighted the importance of maintaining focus

No doubt you’ve been in a workshop when someone starts a side conversation. Or a local tradey thinks now’s a good time to remove the roofing.

Well yesterday I was chair/lead facilitator for a national conference. 191 people. Me doing the opening.

3 mins before I was to kick off 24 delegates held a meeting out in the foyer. All donning black t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Your rights at work.’ All big, hairy, scary types (getting the stereotype picture I’m painting here…)

The conference organiser rushes in & describes the scene to me. “Andrew do we wait for them to finish their meeting before we start? Should I go and ask them?”

“No – there’s still 167 of us here ready to go. So let’s start”

Like that was a good move….

Seconds after I announced ‘Welcome to…’

The big hairy (you know I have hair issues), scary blokes in the black t-shirts marched into the room. along the side wall and all walked across the front of the room – a meter or so from where I was ‘talking’

So what did I do?

Kept going. I had a job to do. I’d practiced. I knew what I had to say & I was asked to deliver so I did. I had no idea what was going to happen next – so I kept going with what I knew & what the client expected.

And what happened next?

They sat down & we kept going! Phew….

So what helped me? The fact that I’d practiced my routine. Knew what I had to say & do. In facilitation this is pretty important I reckon. Sure there’s a big need to be flexible, but throughout the day I was always comfortable that if I knew my stuff I could so the job. Simple but works.

So when have you really had to maintain focus & what helped?

PS – another post soon on what happened at the conference.


Andrew Huffer

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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