Talking about personal preferences, needs, or expectations

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Before you start to work with your team on the seminar, it is crucial to talk about your personal preferences, needs, and the expectations you have for each other. Not everyone is a charismatic, energetic, and extroverted facilitator who smiles all the time, adept at everything and able to facilitate every kind of task very well. Some trainers prefer not to use of energizers, others cannot improvise very well. Some can focus better in the evening, others in the morning. Some need only four hours of sleep while teaching a seminar, others need twice as many...

By talking openly about it we create a platform in which every team member has a chance to express their needs, and this is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and a starting point for finding compromises if there is a conflict potential. We allow our participants to be diverse, so we also need to allow diversity among facilitators and learn how to manage it. This also means we need to respect different personal types: extroverts,introverts, playful people, intellectuals, or any other descriptor for members of your group.

What sounds like common practice is unfortunately not commonly used at all. Too often a working/learning environment has more or less implicit expectations about how a facilitator/ participant should be. But it isn’t true that women always have to be emotional, leaders must be extroverts, young people must be creative - just to mention some popular stereotypes. The American writer and lecturer Susan Cain talks about introverts and reveals how over time, our society has come to think of extroverts as leaders, even though there is also a need for introverted leadership in the creative, innovative world.

You will experience many similar examples of those generalizations if you start exploring them.

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