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Episode 081

October 7, 2020

What if more Facilitators Mastered the Art of DJing with Howard Gray

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    Creativity is the string that weaves through most (if not all) facets of life. As a facilitator, you design workshops that bring people together around a specific theme. If you think about it, workshops are a lot like parties, and every party needs good music. In many ways, facilitators are similar to DJs because they both create an experience for a group of people in hopes that it moves them from the mental place they were before to the new and refreshed place they are now.
    I wanted to explore the analogy of designing workshops like a mixtape further, so I invited Howard Gray onto workshops work. Howard’s work focuses on “amplifying creative people and businesses to increase discovery, access, connection, and opportunity.”
    We talked about what facilitators can learn from DJs about workshop design to create even better workshops that participants will remember for a lifetime.

    Find out about

    • What you can learn about workshop design and facilitation from a DJ
    • Designing a workshop like a mixtape
    • Why you should pre-plan your workshops but be open to adjusting quickly when necessary
    • Needing to focus on the experience you create for participants
    • What makes a great mixtape and how you can translate that to a fantastic workshop design
    • How the movie storyboarding exercise works
    • Getting better at “reading the room”

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    Feeling inspired by the conversation in this episode? We can have our own – take a seat at my virtual table as part of a Mastermind Group.

    A huge thank you must go to SessionLab, the sponsor of Workshops Work. Claim your free two months of SessionLab Pro now – this deal is exclusive to Workshops Work listeners!

    Questions and Answers


    When did you start calling yourself a facilitator?


    If you had to put a hashtag on your own forehead, what would it be?


    What did you learn from your DJ career about workshop design or facilitation?


    To what extent does a DJ adjust their set to fit the room?


    What would make a workshop fail?


    What is your strategy to prepare for this diversity that you will face?


    Do you research the groups you’re facing?


    What do you think is more important, the facilitation, or the design aspect?


    What do you think is more important, the facilitation, or the design aspect?


    With the shift from offline meetings to online meetings, did you adjust the design of the sequence with more contrast or less contrast?


    How can we expect someone to make the mental shift just by putting a different URL in the browser?


    What is your favourite exercise?


    How would the world of facilitation look if more facilitators would master the craft of a DJ?


    When you say, “reading the room,” do you think it’s based on intuition or is it something facilitators can learn to do?


    What do you hope listeners will take away from our conversation?

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