Growing Skills

Fear 2The two year experience of training as a facilitator was challenging, sometimes stressful, and frequently fun!  It was an honor and privilege to be chosen as part of the training team for this new approach to community engagement.

Most of us did not really understand what we were getting into or the time and work required to successfully complete training.  Each session with Cheryl Gould and Sam McBane Mulford provided new experiences; team building and trust exercises; and new skills in listening, observation, and meeting management.  This work led to understanding how to equalize conversations, define existing problems, and work towards consensus and problem solutions.

I had a lot of fears going into this training.  I was afraid of failure, speaking in front of groups, and handling conflict.  We learned that even if we fail, there are valuable lessons.  Fear of speaking in front of groups can be deflected with good planning; team members who support each other; and activities get the group relaxed and involved with one another quickly.  Conflict is usually the result of lack of communication, assumed information, or a different point of view.  Conflict is an opportunity to explore and share.  Good things can happen when a conflict is addressed and talked about.  It is even sometimes resolved.

My skills grew and I better recognized my strengths through this process.  Each trainee came with different skills and abilities that enhanced our three team experiences in the pilot projects.  Working through these projects we learned about various organizations and people who represented diverse sections and interests in our city.  People usually want to get along and contribute to a good outcome for a meeting or community dialogue.  People also want to have a bit of fun.  The ice breakers and group activities lighten the mood of a group; help break down some barriers; and allow meeting participants to learn something about one another. This has been a truly broadening experience for me.

Posted by Suzan Jank, Facilitator-in-Training

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