Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Conference Organizers Providing Everything" ? Packing List for Team Facilitation: Just in Case...

Next week, I'm coordinating a Facilitation team working at a 2-day conference of some 400 people. We are 5 Facilitators working for the event, sometimes together in a large plenary hall, and at times in parallel in breakout rooms spread over the vast conference venue.

The organizers will provide all the materials we need for the conference work planned, and in my experience there are still some things that you want to have for yourself, in your back pocket, just in case...

This is the message I sent out today to the team, coming in from Switzerland, the UK and the USA, about this:
Dear all,
I'm packing for the Conference today and am bringing the following for myself (the organizers will be providing overall conference materials for participants), you might want also to consider this:
  • Markers (small set for myself in different colours – that work - including extra thick for making templates); 
  • Pack of office materials: scissors, tape, white out (for covering up mistakes on charts), stapler, paper clips (for loose things people give you - when you need them, you really need them);
  • Pack of facilitation materials: ball, deck of cards, bell, set of sticky dots – you probably have favorite materials you might draw on in case of a last minute/impromptu exercises, prioritisation, group dividing, calling time etc. and to liven things up/personalize activities to your style;
  • Water bottle (in case we work through breaks);
  • Business cards (who knows?)
  • (Also don’t forget your chargers – phone etc, and converters for UK/USA/Swiss gadgets. I am bringing my IPAD and Iphone – we will share numbers/skype contacts in another message for those who have phones that will work there (e.g. for texting or skype chat).
You of course we welcome to borrow any of my materials (if you can find me!) This is a big venue and we will be working individually for some sessions. I have asked the organizers already if we have wifi in the venue and will let you know. If you can think of anything else to add to this list, please share it with the rest of us!
I am sure there will be a big box of materials waiting for us when we arrive. And it is still comforting to know that the basics will be in your own bag in case you need them (or need to share them), or if a few of you need to work in parallel with the one pair of scissors in the box provided. Plus, you never know until you get there what will actually be in that box that the organizers are providing...