Craig Freshly from the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (USA) posted this on expectations.  What struck me particularly in this note was  “expectations are planned resentments”.

The Urban Dictionary‘s take on expectations is “a guaranteed way to make sure that people will consistently disappoint you”.  We hear people say “That didn’t go the way that I expected it would” or “That was disappointing”.

Expectations are funny things.  We all have them.  We bring them to our families, to our work, to society in general.  We are told, or we tell ourselves to raise them, lower them, manage them, be realistic with them. Expectations can be a way to ‘prevent’ disappointment or to motivate us.

As facilitators, we bring our own expectations into a group setting.  Participants do the same.  More often than not, they are unspoken.  I like the idea of naming these elephants in the room and then putting them aside.

Seth Godin talks about opening the door.

“Give people a platform, not a ceiling. Set expectations, not to manipulate but to encourage. And then get out of the way, helping when asked but not yelling from the back of the bus.”

Or is having no expectations the way to go?  Letting them go.  Seeing what happens.  Trusting that we won’t be disappointed.

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I really love this tool for provocative contracting from Andrew Rixon.  The first questions we ask clients help us understand how open everyone is to whatever happens (and that includes ourselves as facilitator).

Tom Fishburne asks what happens after the brainstorm.  His cartoon and thoughts will resonate with many.

On the back of that, I’m reminded of a post from Johnnie Moore late last month on the limits of brainstorming and giving individuals time and space to think alone.

Another small gem of a post from Patricia Ryan Madson - The Improviser’s Way.

Seth Godin‘s post on unnecessary customer signage that interrupts a small audience reminds me of instances in some organisations I’ve worked in.  I’ve seen rules being introduced and enforced for all as a response to the misdemeanour of one person.  I’ve been called to meetings where everyone in the room is chastised for something that hasn’t been directly addressed to the person or persons concerned.  Signs and rules without thought for the impact on the greater group.  Seth Godin asks – “How important is it? Is it so important you need to interrupt everyone, every single one of your customers?”

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney- business and strategic planning – team conversations

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I like the five points by Olivia Mitchell at Speaking About Presenting on avoiding information overload in your presentations. “A presentation is a taster for what you have to share. It can raise awareness of your topic. It can provoke different ways of thinking about an issue. It can inspire and motivate.”

Seth Godin asks us to focus on creating genuine connections, even in the midst of on the job frustration – to quilt not quit.

Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator, Sydney

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