Lunch-time seminar update

Further to my earlier blog posting on this session for training staff on meeting skills,

you won't remember, so click on the link to find out what I'm talking about, it won't hurt, honest.

After a long delay, I finally managed to run this session.

The idea was actually the easiest part of the whole process, it took maybe an hour to work up, then I had to convince a colleague that it was a good idea to run, then it was cancelled, so I had to push for another date, then no one was signing up for it, so I had to advertise it again, then there were still too few people attending, so I had to wander round the office bullying people into attending.

But in the end, I did get half a dozen people to attend. We just handed out the name plates and agreed amongst ourselves who would be who, which worked pretty well as an ice breaker. People stuck with the agenda, and were starting to get engaged, when I introduced the whole Alien scenario. It worked exactly as anticipated, it was just so daft, and off the wall that everyone could contribute, and no one could take it too seriously. The discussion did start to wind up quite naturally after about 30/40 minutes, and I just moved into an informal washup. Everyone enjoyed the session and felt it was worthwhile, that they had contributed effectively and been well chaired. Our chair was a new member of staff, totally new to chairing meetings. I gave out a few silly alien themed gifts to everyone, and it was all done inside one hour. You can always tell after these things if they have worked, people talk excitedly and have smiles on their faces, on that metric it was a success. I also got a couple of emails later in they day from folk saying how much they had enjoyed it.

Take away lessons - it is virtually impossible to market the event, it relies on surprise, so as much as I promise people that it will be fun, they quite sensibly are difficult to convince. It might be appropriate to go via line managers, or have the event incorporated into a training series. One hour is plenty for the event, but give yourself ten/fifteen minutes for the washup, as much of the learning can be reinforced then. Simply praising the positive behaviour is worthwhile if you are dealing with people who are less confident in meetings.

Would I run it again ? - definitely, next series of events across our organisation I'll offer to run a couple more, though I might need to change the scenario just to keep people on their toes.

Final point - original insight/idea took an hour, making it happen probably took a day, all told. Creative ideas don't just happen because you have great ideas, they happen because you really work to make them happen.