We Get to Do It This Way Now

Starting Year Two of pandemic life has hit a bit hard.

So, in the spirit of “what we feed grows,” I decided to build a quick list of what I’m very much enjoying about my facilitation practice — not just “under the circumstances” but “period.” I’ll miss these things enough that they may just have to stay, even in the after times.

  • Participants showing up from all over the globe at events I used to think of as local.
  • Being able to blame Zoom for rudely interrupting people’s small group conversations and efficiently teleporting them back into my presence in plenary.
  • No wasted flip chart paper that has become crumpled in the back of my car en route to workshops.
  • Far less stress wondering if I’ve allowed enough travel time between meetings, especially in winter.
  • No more cutting up small bundles of sticker dots, distributing them and manually counting them.

  • Being able to add roughly 20% extra work to my practice in place of the time spent travelling between things.
  • The fluidity and ease that come from facilitating in the same space with the same tools repeatedly.
  • Having a “front row seat” with each participant on video.
  • No need to pack, carry and unpack supplies (and no wondering if I’ve forgotten to bring something along!)
  • Pride in the improved quality of my digital facilitation skills from last year to this one.

But since most things are bittersweet these days, let it be known, for the record, that I am very much missing using Sharpies and leveraging interesting venues to accelerate the creativity of group processes.

And I’m challenging myself to take full advantage of the benefits I’ll eventually miss, such as taking a walk in the middle of the day, enjoying quieter evenings to dive into creative projects, staying on top of the laundry and eating healthy foods instead of conference buffet carbs.

It’s been a period of nostalgia and some grief. But when I hear people pining for the good old days of in-person meetings, I find myself wondering if their collaboration was as effective back then as they remember. And when they fall into some variation of, “Since we have to hold this meeting digitally…,” I am often the one saying, “We get to hold it digitally.”

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