After two and a half years of meeting, sharing, and learning online only, I will be hosting my first in-person facilitation workshop next week!  I can hardly believe it. 

This is strange.
I was fine meeting online. I enjoyed my online collaboration.
So much so that I feel a bit nervous now about packing my suitcase. 
Nervous and excited. 

I had a chat exchange with my counterpart: 

Me: I went over the script. This feels so different. I had to smile, how slow face-to-face is, so much time… And all this paper and post-it notes….

He: It is different from virtual indeed, and it is beautiful too. We can put more emphasis on being together and on the facilitator’s posture and play with post-its indeed! 🙂

Face-to-face meetings are about being together;
online meetings are more about doing. 

Being and doing.

Doing, indeed. Most of my online meetings were productive, effective, and rather fast-paced. But not only. I also had wonderful unhurried conversations and listening circles. I met a lot of new people and felt inspired and supported.

Online, so many things are possible. 
So much creativity.
So connecting. 

I’m wondering now. What do I expect to be different next week when we meet? How will it be different in person?

There will be a lot of informal moments.

We will share some delicious croissants and brownies (I remember how tasty they are). We will enjoy a cup of coffee while chatting in the gardens. Many little conversations. Informally. Accidentally. 

It will be a different experience of time.

We will spend more time together. Two full days and one evening are planned. A long intense moment of togetherness and joint thinking when beautiful things can happen. We will have an in-between night to digest our learning. 

The pace will be different. 

Slower maybe. Moving into small group discussion will take more time (opening breakout rooms is faster). Discussion will continue over coffee and lunch breaks.

The energy will be more tangible.

Maybe there will be some groaning – confusion, wondering, and doubt. Especially at the end of the first day. It will be easier to sense and grasp this in person than online.

The whole group will gather in one place.

We will be in the same place, exposed to and supported by the same environment. We will sit in a circle, and we will write on coloured post-it notes. 

After two days, I expect the group to ‘fly’. A sense of community will emerge, and some bonding will happen.

When it is over it is over. The same is true online. Only that some people may go for a drink or take the train together. 

And my counterpart and I will carry flip charts home with us. The documentation will not be ready immediately.

I am curious.

And your in-person experience?

How is your experience of meeting in-person again? What special qualities do you see? What types of meetings or workshops benefit from meeting in person in one physical place?

Upcoming opportunities

Registration is open for a new round of Bringing your Online Meetings & Workshops Alive starting on May 3. Early bird ends on March 31.

Coming soon: Online Immersion Workshop four 1/2 days in two parts, Part 1: May 24&25 and Part 2 June 14&15, 9-12h CEST/ Amsterdam time.