Sitting in my home office on Halloween night, waiting for children to yell “Trick or Treat” at the front door, I am thinking about sessions I have facilitated on Halloween or other holidays or special occasions. These events give facilitators and participants wonderful opportunities to add flair and fun to the discussions and to use holiday analogies to encourage innovative and divergent thinking. Here’s a few sessions held on special holidays that I have had or will have the joy of facilitating.
Halloween team building session: The team dressed in black and orange; we opened with each person saying a word she associated with Halloween and how it applied to the team; we used orange pumpkin paper cutouts to write ideas upon; in small groups, participants designed a Halloween costume that represented the team; and we closed with a sharing of the Treats and the Tricks of the day (what worked and what didn’t).
Remembrance Day: This year, I will facilitate on November 12th, the day after Canada’s Remembrance Day. The organization that I will facilitate with recognizes and applauds individuals who contribute to the community. I may use the analogy of our veterans’ contribution and sacrifices to encourage the participants to think how they could build and leave a strong, lasting, and impactful legacy.
Events in December: I build in a celebration of Christmas or other holiday, depending on the participants. I may design the session around the “spirit of giving” and use opening activities like Give and Gain, Hopes and Fears. I often take an Appreciative Inquiry approach to the session. Asking participants to tell stories about favourite holiday memories can relax everyone and help them move more readily into discussions about a topic.
The New Year is a facilitator’s dream! The possibilities go on and on … new beginnings, resolutions, changes for the upcoming year, what we’ll achieve by Dec 31, how to make this year the best year ever …I love facilitating strategic planning at the start of a new year since the metaphor of looking ahead to bright and beautiful results works so well.
And for any facilitation session near a holiday, I always provide food and decorations related to the holiday.
My facilitation blog question is: How do you weave holidays and special occasions into your facilitation design and activities?