Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

In a recent workshop the group defined the group guidelines and decided phones should be on silent. OK I thought thats phones dealt with… No not so! Smart phones bring a whole new meaning to phones in workshops.

Not only did this some of the members of this group check their emails, send texts and share website they also took calls during the session –  in and out of the room during the workshop – yes they had their phones on silent – did that mean they participated? Certainly not as I would hope.

Smart phones bring a whole new level of discussion to the group guidelines about what is OK and what is not? We are focused on social media and e-communication and expect immediate responses, answers and information. This brings a whole new level of discussion about how we manage phones and calls in workshops and meetings.

In my world it’s OK to take emergency calls during a workshop, in the breaks check messages and make calls  – whats an emergency?

The impact on me as the facilitator was challenging, participants missed key messages, escaped when activities where planned and didn’t engage in the learning.

iPad’s in workshops is another topic … I have heard of them being banned in meetings because people were spending more time answering emails than focusing on the meeting. In this world where we are trying to reduce paper iPads provide a great tool for meeting papers and note taking – however it’s another discussion that needs to had at the start – whats OK and what’s not.

Next time when phones are discussed in group guidelines I will highlight the smart phone and what “phones on silent” really means to the group!

Comments on: "Workshops …Smart phones?" (2)

  1. A solid article, Jeanette. You make some very good points and it’s written concisely and clearly. Can you suggest a guideline statement for workshops on these devices?
    Thank you – keep up the great work!

  2. Its good to read about this from a facilitators point of view. Earlier in the year I participated in the Future Focussed Ag Oz forum in Sydney. Participants were encouraged to put workshop notes and opinions on Twitter during the sessions using #FFAgOz. This enabled people who were not in the room to be part of the conversation. For participants that were using their smart phones / iPads for this purpose only I think were more foccused – another form of note taking.

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