Last week I went on a Technologies of Participation (ToP) training course in Manchester with theInstitute of Cultural Affairs. I have been on quite a bit of facilitation training over the years, but I do love to be able to get new ideas and meet new people, and being a participant for a change is always quite refreshing!
The course trainer was really engaging and had lots of interesting ideas and anecdotes. He took us through the Art of Focused Conversation and the Consensus Method and we got lots of opportunities to practise them both. The only downside I suppose is that there were only 4 participants, which was a shame, but didn’t make it difficult to learn the techniques. In fact it was in a way a good way to think about how to deal with small groups. I often find dealing with very small groups much harder than dealing with very big ones as the energy can get really low if you don’t have the right mix of people.
I already have ideas on how I am going to integrate both the methods we learnt into some up coming workshops and am quite excited about doing so! For me the trick to adding new methods to my repertoire is to try to use them as quickly as possible after learning them, otherwise I find I like the techniques but they never come to life and don’t get used. It’s always easy to fall back on tried and tested methods, which of course are so important. But I really like the challenge of integrating the new stuff into my plans even when it doesn’t come as naturally at first.
Of course, part of the fun of facilitation (aside from learning the actual methods), is getting new equipment. I now have a Stickywall which I am very keen to start using. I have used these before but never actually got round to buying one myself. But when faced with the opportunity to get one, I decided it would be rude not to. So, I am now the proud owner of a 3metre purple (I do love purple!) Stickywall which is awaiting its first spraymount coat. I’ll be using it in a couple of weeks so will let you know how I get on.