They’ve seen it before…

Everyone is used to being sold to. And they’re also used to being facilitated. They often feel the same way about both.

I keep reminding myself of this, to inoculate myself about getting attached to any method or process.

For instance, one of the simple ways I used to get attention when large groups of people are in loud conversations, is to raise a hand and say, “If you can hear my voice, raise your hand”. It usually works quite well, each time you say it, more hands go up and a wave of silence soon takes over the room.

For a time, this seemed to be a novelty; you’d often recognise a laugh of surprise.

And then recently, a participant confessed that they’d seen it before countless times and had come to hate it. It had gone from being a light intervention to a cliche.

You need to stay alert to the signs that your schtick has become predictable and over-familiar. Because the more you lapse into what participants see as routine, the more dissonance you create. If they think you are plodding along in a trance, if you’re lucky they might tell you; or more often they’ll suppress their boredom, play along, but actually be in a bit of trance themselves.

I try to be alert to the signs of creeping boredom in groups so that I can catch those kind of plodding trances. And I practice enjoying when things go a bit wrong as it’s normally the sign of a trance breaking and a chance for everyone to get back to spontaneity.

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