I co-facilitated and presented at a Heart and Soul group event on November 22nd. Having planned and helped produce a lot of events I followed my routine of doing a post-event assessment and came up with a list of what went well and what could have gone better. Out of that I gleaned a list that might be of use to others who are planning and putting on events in our Transition projects. I showed it to David and he suggested that the TWIG could use it to help TW members doing events. But I don't think it is a complete list and I think it would be cool to invite other TW members to give their input, make it a group project of a sort. (More heads are better than one) So I offer it here as a work in progress, to be used, added to and refined by anyone who feels inspired to do so. Please add your comments to this discussion and eventually we can craft a tool to help everyone. (More people leading more successful fun events and projects in more neighborhoods!)
Preparations and Checklist for Events Planning
If events are to take place at commercial eateries, have people arrive early if they plan to order food so event can start on time. Or build in a 15 to 30 min social time prior to the event.
Plan enough time between events to transition, set-up etc. (beware of one event ending at 2pm and the next event beginning at 2pm. A lot of events don’t end on time)
Consider the aesthetics and comfort level of the space and add to or adjust as needed.
Prior to the event have facilitators do a run through. (to get the timing down, get clear on roles, identify what supplies are needed and who will bring them etc)
Consider if it would be helpful to have handouts or whiteboard for your event. And get that done before the event.
Invite people that are brand new to the group or to Transition come 15 min. early to get basic questions answered so time in the event isn't taken just orienting new people, and cutting into time for the actual focus of the event. (“what's this group about? what is Transition?”...) Have some one available to orient the new people so the event facilitator/speaker can focus on their role for the event.
Have someone take notes and write a summary, or at least record the decisions and actions that were determined in the group. Have that posted on the Transition web site so everyone can follow the evolution of the group. This will help people who were not able to attend, to stay in the loop or get up to speed prior to the next meeting. This could also serve as a record for the archives.
Have someone keep track of time during the event and give reminders to speakers to keep within the time frame. Or at least have a visible clock.
Provide a visual out line of the event/agenda (ie a white board). It helps people hold the focus of the event, keeps things on track and helps late arrivers get up to speed.
Give people a hand out with the words for songs, chants etc that are new to them so they can grasp it quickly and thereby more fully participate.
Have Twigs* and more experienced people dispersed through the group and when breaking into smaller groups. This will help new people get integrated more easily. (*Twigs: Transition Whatcom Initiating Group members)
Before sharing begins in groups remind participants about confidentiality after the event (to respect each others' personal share), and about how that builds safety and trust.
The facilitator might need to remain outside the small group processes to watch clock, and help groups as needed and be a vibes watcher.
Invite participants to give constructive feedback and appreciation to the presenters. Possibly leave a few minutes towards the end of the event and provide paper. Written feedback is easier to fit into the event timewise, and provides annonymity.
Invite participants to reflect on the event, and consider what might benefit other Transition Whatcom members to hear, then to post their comments on the Transition website. (post on the group’s comment wall as opposed to the event because the event listings disappear when the event is over.)
Debrief: plan time for the facilitators to debrief right after the event in order to identify what went well and what could have worked better, to celebrate and affirm each others' contributions etc..