Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Posts tagged ‘Feedback’

Making happy sheets happy!

2013-10-15 16.02.21Evaluation sheets are often called “happy sheets”… often there isn’t anything “happy” about them! Participants groan and instead of leaving the workshop energised and reflecting of a great workshop they leave with a form to complete and a groan.

Evaluation is critical for the facilitator: to report to management, improve our skills, complete a project report, further develop the workshop etc. How can we lighten the process and make the happy sheets happy?

I thought I would share some of the techniques we have been using and would love to hear some ideas from others.

Make the evaluation a group activity. Write up 4 or 5 targeted evaluation questions on pieces of flip chart and put them up around the room. Divide the group into groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to discuss and complete the pages. A simple advantage of this is movement – often workshops involve a lot of sitting, getting people up helps the blood flow and increasing thinking. Everyone will remember different aspects of the workshop and have different perspectives, groups discussion allows the workshop to be reviewed by a team and further deepen some of the learnings.

If flips charts aren’t an option, or the rooms size won’t enable moving around, I often ask people to work with the person sitting beside them and complete the evaluation sheet together. Once again the discussion adds to the depth of feedback.

A dart board approach can be used where people rate various aspects of the workshop by putting a cross on a dart board – with the bulls eye  meaning “the workshop was spot on”. A dart board can be drawn up on a flip chart at the front of the room and everyone files past and completes it. Once again some movement and interest at the end helps to keep the energy levels up.

A quick method with a larger group that works well with the sticky wall is ask participants to write their expectation on a piece of A5 paper at the beginning of the workshop, at the end they take their expectation off the wall and comment on how well this has been met.

A final tip is to ensure there is sufficient time in the agenda to carry out the evaluation effectively – don’t rush it or make it the final activity. Finish off with a closing comment or brief activity that leaves participants with a sense of energy so they head home saying “Wow that was a great workshop!”

How do you make evaluations “happy”? Please post or email me your ideas and I can include them in another blog.

I can be emailed on  jeanette@agconsulting.com.au

May 2014 bring all you hope for!

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Communication is simple… Isn’t it?

Comm ProcessCommunicating a message from one person to another is simple… Isn’t it?

We make lots of assumptions that our receiver understands the information in the same context and intent that we have sent it. Unfortunately as we all know this isn’t always the case and the outcome isn’t as expected.

I really like the following quote from NLP (Nero linguistic programming)

The meaning of communication is the response that we get

Stop and think about that for a moment….. Yes it implies it’s the responsibility of person sending the message to ensure the receiver understands the content and the intent. The response that we get is a reflection of the interpretation of the message.

Every channel we might use including face to face, email, social media, phone etc is open to interpretation by the receiver.

So what gets in the way of clear communication and understanding? Our brain filters information – it does this to cope with the enormous amount of information it receives constantly. The filters will vary from person to person based on our perceptions and experiences.

The filters will include past experiences, beliefs, rules of thumb and so on, and will be influenced by our personality type as well. Putting ourself in the other persons shoes and attempting to see the message from their perspective is a good start.

When the communication is very important check in – follow the feedback loop – ask a question of the receiver. “What do you understand from our conversation?”

With simple instructions like “don’t shut the gate” our brain filters out the “don’t” and we often remembered “shut the gate” – this can easily be reframed in the positive to “leave the gate open”. Framing instructions in the positive usually has a more positive outcome!

Be particularly careful with email, especially with bad news or negative feedback. It’s very easy to read between the lines of emails and misinterpret the intent. If your message isn’t positive it’s best done face to face or, at minimum over the phone.

“To effectively communicate, we must realise that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this to understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Tony Robbins 

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Feedback… some more

Thankyou to the 32 people who are following my blog, I really appreciate your support.

I have been working away at this for 6 months now and this will be my 25 post .. quite an effort for someone who 12 months ago had never really read or followed a blog! For this I must thank Alice, my wonderful daughter, who got me started on the social media journey.

My book remains about 60% complete … work keeps getting in the way. Maybe over the Xmas break I will get time to write some more and the blog content will help with some of the gaps.

I would love some feedback from my readers about my blog

  • What have you enjoyed?
  • What would you like more of?
  • What would you like less of?
  • Is it worth your effort and time and mine?
  • Would you recommend workshopswithwow? please explain…
  • What other topics would you like explored in the blog?
  • Any other comments ……

Thanks again for your support and I appreciate any comments – either on the blog or email me jeanette@agconsulting.com.au

I look forward to hearing from you.

Feedback

Feedback – it’s something we all like to have so we can improve .. even though sometimes we might not like what we hear!

Good constructive feedback helps us grow and learn, develop our skills and become better at what we do. Without it we may tend to keep doing what we have always done because it works for us.

I like to evaluate every workshop using several techniques if possible. These might include

  • Finishing off the day with an ORID – this is asking an Objective, Reflective, Interpretive and Decisional question of the group, it aims to captures the facts, feelings, key messages and changes.
  • If there isn’t time for an ORID …as a minimum asking for a closing comment from everyone
  • Evaluation forms
  • On-line surveys
  • Discussion with a co-facilitator or trusted colleague  (who you know will be honest!) What worked well? What could be done differently?
  • Contact a participant or two after the event and check in with them. Plan a few questions rather than having a general conversation. I like to know what they have implemented or changed since attending the workshop.
  • A self evaluation – if we are really honest with ourselves we know when things have gone well or could have been better – I like to think this through and make some notes in my journal to refer back to. Remember can be our own worst critic so don’t be too hard on yourself!

I’d really like to hear from all of you about feedback ..

  • What is the best way to get the feedback?
  • Are you really honest on evaluation forms?
  • Is it better to reflect and then provide feedback via an online survey later?
  • Will you complete a survey after you have left the workshop or is this too late?
  • What is the best way for a facilitator to receive honest feedback from you?

Finally as Ken Solly told us at an Adaptive Management workshop last week – “Milk every mistake for all it’s worth.”

Looking forward to hearing some thoughts …..

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