I committed one of my big no-no’s recently in a risk workshop. I got impatient with someone and they soon went into the intensive care ward as a patient. Hence why I called this blog Impatients as the two are linked! Let’s unpack what happened.
First, the proximate cause of my impatience. They were providing lots of detail I was not looking for and would talk over others I was trying to listen to.
The root cause? They were either feeling threatened or felt I was operating on their turf, or both. At the end of the workshop they asked me the purpose of the workshop. I had explained the purpose in a pre-meeting and at the beginning of the workshop.
However, I had made several mistakes. First, I had not checked that they clearly understood the purpose of the workshop. Second, I had failed to properly identify the potential for me to be a threat to this person, given their role, and what they had already said at the pre-meeting. And third, I had not made an effort to build upon their accomplishments and emphasise how my role aims to enhance the significance of their work.
I’m no rookie, but these were rookie errors. Fortunately, I was able to recover but only because they asked again the purpose of the workshop. If they had not, they may have been disruptive for some time.
In essence, as a facilitator, try very hard never to be complacent!