A Facilitation Moment: Choosing a meeting space

The success of a session can hinge on one moment of facilitation. A facilitator recognizes these moments and responds appropriately for the benefit of the group. I am writing a short series called “A Facilitation Moment” to share stories of my “well done” and “oops” moments. ⏲

These moments are not always in the session. This story is about a moment of choice that occurred several weeks before a session – the selection of the room.

I recently facilitated a group of twelve to talk about a mountain-related topic. The session was held in a mountain village. ⛰The host contact from the client organization and I had several choices for the room we would use.

One room was a community centre meeting room with space for a U-shaped table seating arrangement, an open chair circle, and walls with plenty of space to easily hang flipcharts and sticky walls. The second space was a smaller room in a hostel with heavy wooden tables and chairs, bookcases, pictures on the walls, and windows with mountain views.

The first room had plenty of space to move around in and lots of wall space. However, the hostel room had an amazing ambience. The topic for the session was mountains and this room fit! The client and I chose the hostel room sight unseen as I was not able to visit to look at it. I saw pictures and hoped for the best.

And it was the correct choice in the facilitation moment. I loved the room. I had space for an open circle of chairs and a U-shape of tables. We were slightly challenged by wall space, yet I adjusted my use of recording methods and the amount of information that had to go on walls, and it worked. ✅

The significance, the history, and the ambience of the room gave a special feel to our discussions. At the end, one participant said that the choice of the room was meaningful and how much he appreciated it.

The decision “in the moment” before the session to use the hostel room did not make or break the session, yet it subtly contributed to the feeling created in the room. 💫

This post is the second in my short series of facilitation moments. Let me know your moments: successful or not. My next story is about a less successful situation where I would like a “redo!” We can’t win them all; we can learn from all!

A Facilitation Moment: Choosing a meeting space