Life-long learning, professional education, personal development. No longer just buzz words or a passing craze! Thanks to us demanding millennials 💁♀️ more and more forward thinking companies, are recognising the power of investing in employee training.
But some still need a little nudge in the right direction. No worries — we’ve got your back. Those of you who would like to level up your professional prowess with Facilitation skills, but have a boss who’s not quite ready send some budget your way — you’re in luck. One of our star students Kim Rasmussen has put together this handy guide on how to convince them to let you take part in this course, with insights drawn from her own success. Hit it Kim 📣
The moment I heard about the Mischief Facilitation Course — I was instantly hooked. I was talking to Merle, a true Mischief Maker, about my need to better engage with my customers during meetings and workshops when she mentioned the training. She elaborated about the importance of developing facilitation skills to effectively guide teams in a certain direction. As different groups and situations require different approaches it is important to have some tools and tricks in your ‘backpack’ so you can confidently engage people in a session and get things done in a fun and creative way.
My response was: where can I sign-up? In full happy-camper mode I ran directly to my manager to inform her I wanted to do this. But, of course, she started to ask questions…
To give you a better idea what I do: I work as a customer success manager at Usabilla, where I am responsible for my portfolio of 30 clients to help and advise on how to become more user-centric with the implementation of our Voice-of-Customer software. The facilitation course seemed relevant for me because I am in client meetings or workshops on a weekly basis and I wanted to learn how to be more effective in such sessions by knowing what I can do to engage participants in a fun way.
Hold-up happy camper!
- Facilitation is like a Swiss army knife of training. It can be used in many different work situations. Ask yourself first, in what way is this training most useful for you? Are you regularly supporting or leading a group of people (be it clients of peers). Do you often present, run meetings, lead brainstorms, host events, interact or co-create with clients? Do you help or advise clients and would you like to optimise these meetings and/or workshops? If you can answer ‘YES’ to one or more of these, then you can continue with the next step.
- Is there a training budget allocated for me? Many companies have a (small) training budget allocated, but not all, so, therefore, make sure you check with your manager or HR-department what amount is available for you. Don’t be disheartened if there is ‘none’, where there is a will, there is a way.
- Check your availability on the course dates and make sure you can at least attend 6 out of 7 sessions to get the most value. Also, you don’t want to miss the first day.
- Personal USP: why do you believe this course will benefit you specifically? Think about what you will bring back to your team/company.
- Ask Mischief Alumni for feedback on how the course helped them! Check out some of the testimonials here, and feel free to reach out to me by leaving a comment underneath this article.
- Pull together all awesome facts and figures about the course. Did you know for example that one of the tools created by participants in the first course was used at the Davos Conference? Or that 25 Mischief Facilitators led 250 thought leaders in co-creation at TNW Assembly? For more practical matters on course dates etc. check out this Info Pack or send an e-mail to one of the Mischief Makers for anything else you need.
Checked everything off? Then it is Pitch-day!
Do the above questions indicate that this course is just what you need? And, more importantly, do you feel ready to pitch your story to your manager!? Then it is time to get your ideas down and draft your case. Walk on up to your manager or put as an agenda point in your upcoming catch-up meeting. This is your moment to share why you believe you should level up your professional superpowers.
Most likely you’ll need to put it in an email as well, so here’s an example of the one I sent:
Mine was! My request got accepted and I recently finished the course. Curious if it all was worth the hustle and it gave me the learnings I needed? I bet you are!
Here’s a summary of the learnings that I could directly apply in my day-to-day job:
1. Don’t underestimate the brief
This might not seem like rocket-science and quite obvious to do, but how often do you sit with your client to make sure you have all the facts? To understand their request and validate what they need? Only when you have all input; the intention, the desired outcomes, who will be in the room et al — are you ready to start. Even better you can uncover details like the status of the group. Are they ready to start working on that goal or will they first need to share some stinky fish? The total overview is essential for designing an effective and thus bespoke workshop for your client.
2. Picking the right tool for the right moment
We learned great facilitators are over-prepared and under-structured. Not only do you need tools in your pocket, you also need to know how to read a room and understand when to use the right exercise or intervention. Using workshop design techniques like ‘learning arches’ we mastered ‘set hold land’ exercises, from (Check-in, IDOART — watch my explainer video below👇), to energisers (Impromptu Networking), Ideation/brainstorm(The Darkside), and expectations for ways of working (Social contract) and so many more.
3. Practical workshop preparations
Similar to learning 1, not very mind-blowing, yet so effective; E.g. doing a room check to make sure the room is appropriate for the session you’re hosting. Square boardrooms with leather chairs are not the most inspiring and motivating for people to get up and play. A big table stuck in the center and rolly chairs tend to get in the way of effective co-creation. So always plan some time in advance to check the room, set-up the space and adjust your design to compliment. And tech! Does the beamer work? Don’t forget about a soundcheck, you don’t want to have to ditch your workshop playlist.
4. The things you need to do before, (during) and after a workshop
To make sure you get people in the right mindset before your workshop, make sure you prime them with relevant information or send them a survey to reveal pain points. This information can be a starting point of your workshop or an indicator that you need to do specific activities with the participants based on their pain points. Similarly for after the workshop: did you agree with your client how you will follow-up? Will you e-mail? Or is a short video recap more appropriate? How will the findings of the session be acted upon? You can have so many assumptions on what you think you should do but always validate the preferable approach with your client.
Wondering if my manager thought it was all worth it? Here’s what she said:
It’s easy to say yes when there is no reason to say no. Kim was clearly passionate about the course which is priority number 1 and the outcome is mutually beneficial. As a manager I must enable my team to flourish. I had a few checkpoints that needed to be agreed upon to ensure it was the best option for Kim, although once she ticked all the boxes the decision was made. Now she is influencing the team with her expertise.