Facilitator Journal | Issue #0258, May 30, 2006 ....
Sometimes our trainings, workshops, and facilitated groups miss
the mark because they weren't designed or conducted according to
the expectations of our sponsors or participants.
Understanding and managing expectations is essential to getting
the results your client wants. This week's article, "Managing
Expectations," offers 10 tips to assure that your groups get
what they came for.
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Assure your participants
your role and responsibilities, and theirs.
Have you ever presented a lengthy training session, workshop, or group
event only to hear, after it's all over and done with, something to this
effect from a participant, "Gee, this session simply wan't what expected
it to be at all." Further, this very person, likely never said a
word during the session to give you the idea they weren't getting what
they were after.
The incident cited above, barring the possibility of unconscious sabotage,
is most likely a case of mismatched expectations. Understanding and managing
expectations is essential to getting the results your clients seek. The
following tips will help to assure that your sponsor and participants
get the results they're after in your groups.
1. Get clear on
your sponsor's expectations. Often managers and leaders come to us
to offer training to their people in the hopes of solving a particular
problem, clear that they know the source and solution to their problem.
More often than not, they aren't all that clear on the problem at all,
much less the solution. The clearer you can get about the result your
sponsor wants, the better you'll be able to recommend and design a workable
solution in the form of a training session, group process, or some other
2. Ask your participants
to share their expectations and objectives before the group meets.
Use email, memos, faxes, telephone conversations, or whatever media necessary
to connect with your participants. Solicit input two or three times if
necessary to get response from the majority of your them.
3. Weigh these inputs with what you plan to cover. Integrate these
inputs into the agenda if practical. If you don't, let the person know
why, and offer them an alternative way of getting what they need.
4. Get group consensus on the objectives.
At the start of the session, review your planned objectives, integrating
changes, corrections, or additions that come from your group.
5. Define the "role" of your participants. Facilitate
agreement up front about what it means to be a participant in this group.
Agree on participant responsibilities and expectations. Ask them to be
responsible for getting what they need from the group and for speaking
up if they aren't. Consider integrating these responsibilities into your
groundrules with your group's consent.
6. Define your role as facilitator or group leader. Make the extent
of your responsibilities clear with your group as well. Let them know
what they can expect from you and what's beyond your role.
7. Check in with your group throughout the session to see how you're
doing meeting their expectations. If things seem off course, work
with your participants to make course corrections.
8. Listen, feel, and observe body language to get a sense for how
aligned participants are with the current direction of the group. Check
in with them if you feel something is off. Work with participants to assure
the current work relates to their collective objectives.
9. For recurring groups, ask participants at the end of the session
to share the value they're taking away with them. Also ask what suggestions
they have for improvement or areas they want to see covered in the future.
10. Know that you can't always please everyone all the time. Some
people will play the victim role, purposely not stating their needs until
it's too late. You can't force your participants to be responsible. If
you've done all of the above, giving everyone ample opportunity to make
their needs known and you've made reasonable adjustments to meet them,
you've fulfilled your responsibilities to the group.
Which of the actions above will you take
this week to better manage your group's expectations? What new actions
or changes, if any will you take as a result of these tips.
Just click reply and type them directly into this email.
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