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Creating an Agenda on the Fly (Part 2)


A couple of days ago, I blogged about the session I ran at the Sydney Online Practice Group – and left you with a little question to ponder: How could I weave different people’s needs into a practice session, creating an agenda that would work well for as many of the participants as possible?

I had asked everyone, “What would you like to have happen?”and as people were speaking, I was taking notes and circling words that signified the gist of what they wanted. The words I circled were:

1. Practice

2. Conversation – ask questions

3. Whether to work with or without notes

4. If I don’t write notes I lose people’s information - bind.

5. Clean Language versus other methodologies -choice points

6. Working with polarities

7. Real-time feedback

8. Find specific areas to practice (in future meetings)

9. How to introduce Clean Language into a normal conversation

(You can see their full answers here)

Three of these responses relate to processes we’d be using: practice, conversation, feedback. I reckoned it would be easy to incorporate all three so to start with I concerned myself with the potential content for the practice.

Two people were interested in note-taking (4, 5), and they were both potentially in binds (6), so I thought it would be good to ask one of these people to be a client, using ‘note-taking’ as their topic – with others taking it in turns to facilitate (1) and get some feedback (7). This would mean everyone learning something about note-taking (from the client) AND something about facilitating binds. We’d be covering 5 of the 9 requests with one activity. Afterwards we could have a conversation (2) about nos. 5, 8 and 9, and so cover the remaining four items.

As I was creating the agenda there and then, there was not really time to create an alternative plan; the more time I took, the less there would be for the group. So I put my idea to the group, asked for one of the two ‘note-taking’ people to volunteer as a client and we were off. Each facilitator would have 5 minutes followed by feedback from me.

So how did this plan work out in practice? As it happened, two people facilitated the first client for about 5 minutes each and got some feedback and by then the client had already found a way forward (to practise some sessions with notes and some without in order to help her decide what works best). During the feedback, I had also come up with some ideas for future practice sessions for this group, based on the skill levels I was observing, so meeting request (8) as well. Two different people then facilitated the second ‘note-taker’ again with feedback, a session which generated an interesting discussion about paying attention to metaphors in the ‘background’ as well as those that are immediately obvious.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time for nos. 5 and 9 – but not before I suggested that these could be used as client content for further practice sessions. 😊

Nevertheless, everyone said they had learned a lot and Des wrote to me afterwards to say:

“Thank you so much for facilitating our group tonight (your morning). The hour just flew by and there was so much learning within that hour. The advice and feedback you gave was succinct, constructive and well worth listening to. We are all surely indebted to you.You have given us a means of finding material for our future weekly meetings and thrown down a trail of things upon which we can/should focus as we move forward. Thanks again Marian – you were fantastic.”

And a big ‘thank you’ from me to the group. It was a pleasure to work with you.

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Creating an Agenda on the Fly

7th Nov 2017

By Marian Way

About Marian Way

Marian Way's avatar

A highly skilled facilitator and trainer, Marian, who founded Clean Learning in 2001, has developed and delivered training across the world. She is the author of Clean Approaches for Coaches, co-author, with James Lawley, of Insights in Space and co-author, with Caitlin Walker, of So you want to be… #DramaFree.

Marian is an expert Clean facilitator, an adept modeller, a programme writer and an inspirational trainer. She has a natural ability to model existing structures, find the connections between them and design new ways for people to learn. Marian was a leading innovator within the Weight Watchers organisation, which included developing the “points” strategy, a local idea that went on to become a global innovation. She is a director of both Clean Learning and Training Attention CIC, world leaders in clean applications for corporate, educational and community development. She designs our programmes and workbooks, leads workshops and teaches on all our courses. She’s trained people in Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Japan and the USA. Marian is also a recognised Clean Assessor.

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