Why Shared Learning Experiences are better

the cultivation crew

The Cultivation Crew has had its very first session and it turned out to be a bigger experience than I expected. Ill just say it right now, the experience is bigger because we are doing it together.  The idea around a skill building / learning experience was cobbled together based on feedback from members of the Emotional Bungee Jumpers community. Which should be no surprise considering every member of the group is actively growing their skills personally and professionally. 

Through these conversations it was clear that cultivating impact, influence, and connection is one of the threads that tie us all together. So Jennifer Lacy and I began tinkering around with this question:

  • What are the skills that build impact, influence, and connection?

We landed on

  • Facilitation 
  • story telling
  • feedback
  • reflection 

Im curious to know what you think about these four focal points. What do you think could be missing or are they too basic?

Anyhow, we finally launched the first wave known as "Facilitation for Connection" on Friday June 14th and to tell you the truth the whole time I thought we were bombing as in wasting peoples time. But I couldnt let my feelings get in the way of executing the plan (more on that later)

We had 6 topics on the board and the goal was to cover four of them in this first session.

  • Preparation for the Session
  • Opening the Session
  • Interaction during the Session
  • Visual Aids

But this plan would prove to be ambitious, because we were doing it together! Meaning attendees jumped in and shared their own perspectives and experiences around the topics, Freely and without hesitation! Not the kind of  sharing that some people do just to posture and be heard, but the kind of sharing that actually adds value to the experience.

This was a fantastic sign in terms of engagement, but I still felt like the session was gonna be a total flop.

We used a virtual white board for people to share their thoughts and follow along. Which turned out to be a hit cuz there was a ton of activity on the board as we covered the topics. 

We finally close the session and each attendee shared their closing thoughts and Im preparing for the sting of critical feedback. Which of course I would totally embrace, but I do have feelings you know🥺

One by one the crew shared what they got out of the session or what would have made the experience better for them. It was awesome!!!!

Some people shared that they had already taken action around one of the things they picked up during the session. 

Some shared their excitement around incorporating stuff from this experience into their facilitation in the future.

Some shared how I could do a better job of connecting the dots in terms of how and when this stuff is applicable.

All of which helped me change my mind about this being a total flop.

Then the ultimate was the comments around how this  SHARED LEARNING EXPERIENCE was better than what they expected and what they had been through in other trainings. 

This feedback was the piece that tipped the scales for me.

Because the agenda was loose, the approach was informal, the feel was open and when it comes to learning experiences thats just not how its done. The Crew is made up of serious professionals, I worried that this approach was too informal or messy and would convey a tone of disrespect. But it didnt!

Turns out the primary reason I thought it would be a flop was because I couldnt see the faces due to only having 1 screen while I was doing the button pushing around screen sharing and co-facilitating with Jennifer. All the smiles and head nods were invisible to me.

So Im gonna save myself some grief on the next one by definitely having 2 screens at the next session.

 

Looking to level up your Facilitation Skills?

The Cultivation Crew has what you are looking for. 
Sign up for the replay of Session 1