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Everyone wants people to participate in their training or workshop sessions. But sometimes it is noisy. Participants have many questions; they chat, look on their phones, stare outside, or leave. In short, people drop out.
The trainer or facilitator is often the cause of this. No clear agreements have been made about how we interact during the session. These agreements apply to the workshop leader, trainer, or facilitator.
In this Blog, I will tell you how I invite participants to commit fully to a training or workshop and what I can best do.
First, it is important to discuss the context and flow of the session. Then, the participants know what will happen and what to expect in a session.
The Values Contract
During a training course by Hugo Bakker, I learned that it is important to make a contract with the participants at the start of a session. He calls this the “values contract”. You make agreements about how you will treat each other and yourself.
Depending on the target group, you can identify important values or themes for a session.
Participate: You invite people to participate and to be present.
Safety: You agree that everything discussed during the session will remain within the group and that people will not share with others what they have heard from other participants.
Focus: You ask people to focus on the workshop’s content and experience.
Goal-oriented: You talk about the workshop’s purpose and possibly ask the participants what they want to get out of the session.
In addition to making agreements, you also achieve commitment and team building by making a values contract.
Hugo Bakker then shows the values he printed on sheets of paper. Then, it sticks better with people who are better visually than auditory.
Your Values Contract
Every facilitator or trainer can determine what the value contract looks like. With my (Haka) workshops, I highlight three values:
Participate: I ask people to participate and to step out of their comfort zone.
Respect: I ask participants to participate respectfully because the Haka is from the Māori.
Fun: I invite the participants to laugh. Laughter is allowed!
To confirm the value contract, I ask all participants to raise their hands if they want to adhere to it.
It may happen that something is going on within the group that you, as a facilitator, are not aware of. This can cause the training or workshop to be completely misplaced and the participants to drop out. A value contract must then look different from what you had in mind. That is why it is important always to do a check-in in advance. I ask if there is anything I need to know, if there is anything I should take into account, and if there are things I should not do. Usually, I speak to the organizer or customer, but you can also get valuable information from the participants. I heard a while ago that the participants had a mindset workshop before my session. In my workshop, I consciously focused on how people can experience a growth mindset. This way, your workshop allows you to respond well to what is happening, and you ensure that your workshop is not separate from the entire program.
Breach of contract
And what do you do as a trainer/facilitator when the participants do not adhere to the contract? Then, it gets exciting.
The key is to keep in touch with the group. So when people start to chat or there’s a buzz, I stop. Often, the talking stops immediately. Then, I always ask if I am missing something, if there is a question, or if I need to explain something more clearly.
The point is to remind the participants of the values contract when they don’t stick to it. Of course, I also compliment people when they stick to the values contract. Then I say, for example: “Great. There is laughter. That is allowed, and we have agreed on that!”. Recently, a participant shouted something playful a little too often during the workshop. I laughed it off with the participants, but it wasn’t funny because it was disrespectful. I should have reminded all participants of the values contract.
That’s why I did something new during another workshop, and that was very exciting. Several participants did not raise their hands when confirming the value contract. I told them what I saw and that I respected that choice not to participate. Then, I allowed those people to leave the room to do something else.
The room became dead silent…and no one left!
I plan to do this more often at workshops where people have not consciously chosen to participate and if they ‘have to’ participate. I prefer to work with people who want to participate and are willing to commit themselves fully.
The Golden Contract
I first heard about this in 2010 at a seminar. Harold Klemp says that every meeting and event, without exceptions, has a reason to help you move forward. Everything that happens in your life is part of this golden contract.
This means that you should always be aware (awake) of who you are and how you think. Events can influence how you think and how you behave. If things go wrong, you are stressed, or a group does not participate during a session, this can affect you. You get frustrated, you get scared (freeze and flee), or you can get angry. You get into a fixed mindset. It is up to you to ask yourself whether this is you and whether it is true that your setbacks are the fault of others.
You can ask yourself what you can learn from the situation. Take your time, breathe, smile, and be grateful. What helps to get rid of that fixed mindset is connecting with your values, mission, vision, and WHY. This gives me energy, self-confidence, and love.
Ultimately, it’s about love. Every situation tries to bring you closer to love because we are all love. This may sound vague and is difficult if you are seriously ill, but ask yourself the following:
-How does this situation bring me closer to love?
-What would love do in this situation?
Those questions may remind you of the golden contract. We are here to learn, grow, help others, and live our true potential.
By reminding yourself and others of the value contract, you also remind yourself of your golden contract and what you can do to get out of a fixed mindset.
Your WHY is hidden in your true potential. It is your contribution and the impact it has on the world. A WHY statement is action-oriented, positive, and infinite.
Do you want to discover your WHY that can connect you to your golden contract? I can help you. Contact me today for a no-obligation intake.
Which values are in your values contract? What is your golden contract, and how do you commit yourself to it? Let me know in the comment field below. The other readers of this article. and I are looking forward to reading from you!
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