Shared Peril

image-0010A few ideas about fear from Viv‘s and my book, Nothing is Written:

“Few things can bond a group of people like shared peril. If the group comes together in the face of adversity its sense of camaraderie and trust increases. Without the element of shared peril, these moments of growth would not happen.

Of course, adversity can also break a group. So the focus must be on allowing participants to manage their own experience, so they can be on the edge of their comfort zone, and not pushed beyond it.

And the trainer must be willing to share in the experience. If they only create peril for the participants, that’s more a kind of bullying than learning. Trainers should drop their masks of expertise and reveal their vulnerability.

There is nothing like the connection people can make by experimenting and discovering together. Be part of the adventure, not just the narrator.”

As with other parts of the book, I keep thinking: I need to keep this in mind for myself more of the time.

I’ve come to realise, when facilitating, that pre-match nerves, or stage fright, are a good thing. They’re a sign that I am being present, accepting that working with people is never completely predictable. I think audiences pick up that when someone is a bit nervous, they are also alive to possibility. When they appear too certain, they’re in a kind of trance where they think they really know what should happen next. I think either state helps create different moods for the audience.

I notice that if I fall back on little bits of humour that have worked before, they often don’t seem to work this time. Things said with less calculation, however, often generate more emotional response.

In some paradoxical way, by being somewhat vulnerable, a facilitator helps create a kind of safety in the room. It’s a safety you don’t get by just “agreeing” a set of predictable ground rules.

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