Guiding questions that matter for preparing the next face-to-face network event

November 14, 2012 | bit-wartung | Methods & Tools, SDC Networks |


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Are you at the point to start planning for your next face-to-face workshop, seminar or learning event of your network? Kick-start your planning with  a short checklist to gear up your learning event.

By Martina Lammer and Nadia von Holzen, SDC

While planning a face-to-face workshop, seminar or learning event of your network many things need to be done, organized, thought of… Where to start? What are the key things to think about? Have a look at the checklist to kick-start your planning process; it might be of help to gear up your learning event.

1. Sine qua non for face-to-face event preparation

Which of the following aspects are currently the most important or challenging for you? Have you already covered some or all of the points below? For the ones you have covered, have you finalized your arrangements?

Have a look at the ckecklist:

Develop workshop objectives that serve the purposes of most/ all people involved

Create a participatory planning process really engaging network members

Coordinate scheduling: avoid competition with other events; and maximize linkages with other networks as well as with broader institutional priorities (consider the possibility of holding a joint event)

Strike a good balance between the content and process aspects, and one that will release the creative energy of participants

Use e-communication channels such as Dgroups, Sharewebs, blogs and any social media, that supports participation and information sharing – before, during and after the event

Put attention to logistical details, e.g. venue, technology, travel (carbon foot print…), etc.

Plan the workshop outputs, from type of reporting to considering other specific desired outputs

Prepare and announce the follow up activities, before and during the event

2.  Some insights from our own planning practice

End of October at the SDC’s Network’s planning Workshop, the networks’ focal points and facilitators put their heads together as the “quacking” ducks. In this joint planning session the checklist above guided the discussion for the next year’s networks meetings.

In the discussion some additional useful aspects came up:

– Review the After Action Reflection done after the last face-to-face meeting as well as important networks results; be clear about the priorities of the face-to-face meeting
Keep the whole process in mind; and include the follow-up of the last face-to-face meeting into the face-to-face planning now
Reflect the network objectives and the role of the network within the organization (priorities, project imple- mentation, competence building)
Link to other network activities; coordinate and organize exchanges (e.g. brown bag lunch, regional events)
Clarify the face-to-face facilitation as well as the core group engagement; appoint an (external) facilitaton
Plan for the network communication and how to mobilize the members; consider different communication channels, develop a network communication strategy for the face-to-face meeting
Consider options for field visits during the face-to-face meeting
Collect open questions

The inclusive and participatory preparation of face-to-face event preparation needs time, coordination and leadership. To make progress a plan of action with a list of tasks and subtasks, outputs, responsibilities and timing might be helpful.

What are in your experience key aspects that shouldn’t be missed? Are there any points to consider in addition to the points mentioned?

Related links from the SDC Learning and Networking Shareweb:

Planning a f2f events
Linking Face-to-Face Events and Online Dialogues
Social Reporting on Face-to-Face Events
E-Facilitation (1)

Other links:

– E-Facilitation(2) : IMARK e-learning module

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