Lim Hong Li tells us, in her own words, about her stand-out experience facilitating an event at the Fullerton Bay Hotel for the Centre for Not-for-Profit Leadership’s regular get-together for the leaders in the not-for-profit sector.
This was certainly a facilitator’s dream. Panoramic views, convivial atmosphere and the buzz of many meaningful conversations. As I recall that magical evening, I will relate the experience in snapshots because something so memorable is best remembered in highlight moments, rather than in the traditional article structure.
First, the sunset was marvellous – splashes of gold and persimmon – entirely appropriate to the season, which was around the Chinese New Year period. People were in a friendly, relaxed mood, and the energy was warm and enveloping. As each newcomer arrived, the crowed pulled him or her into its folds, welcoming and enveloping. And as the sunset, the warm hues turned into softest night, broken by the twinkling of many lights across Singapore and to the horizon, observed in wonderful appreciation by all those who attended the event.
Facilitators manage the space and the processes used to elicit fruitful conversations. In this instance, the facilitation managed itself. The venue was entirely conducive to productive, sharing conversations. I did have a mechanism involving coloured cards, but these, in the end, were the icing on the cake because the crowd moved easily in ebbs and flows, and I merely facilitated through gentle questioning reminders, written on the coloured cards, to focus on the objectives of the evening. In this case, when a guided process is provided for the group, the group itself co-created something that worked well for its needs.
Even the fact that I in advertently placed the microphone near a group and therefore ‘broadcasted’ their conversation only elicited murmurs of laughter – the perfect response to what would, in any other circumstance, be considered a bit of a gaffe.
My ‘a-ha’ moment of the evening was the realisation that facilitation could occur anywhere – it did not need the formal set-up of a hotel venue, or a large ballroom, which is the usual location of a facilitated meeting. Indeed, all it takes is a willing and open group, and voila! meaningful conversations emerge. What a wonderful testimonial to the collaborative nature of human relations!
As I recall the evening, I truly appreciate this nurturing, learning, sharing and networking event. I would love to do it again – any time is good for me to offer my time, energy and skills for the goodness of the collaboration between those who want to contribute and those who will benefit from this generosity of spirit.
Lim Hong Li takes an appreciative approach to facilitation, working with groups to take them to their best and most meaningful conversations.