Welcome to Gender Odyssey 2015! Are you a GO veteran wanting to up your level of involvement this year? Or are you a newcomer who likes to dive in head first? Perhaps you like to take part in meaty and lively discussions, providing guidance so that all present have the chance to be heard? Or maybe you have some expertise you’d like to share with other conference attendees?
If this in any way describes you, we’ve got an opportunity you don’t want to miss—we have a call out for facilitators and workshop submissions.
Both Gender Odyssey and GO Family have numerous in-house sessions on topics that are generated by attendee feedback and input and have a strong focus on making room for each person’s viewpoint, thus providing an opportunity to learn from one another. We need facilitators to guide participants in a dynamic discussion.
Micah, one of our seasoned facilitators and presenters, has this to say: “My strategy during facilitating is to guide and listen. Guiding involves prompting thoughtful questions (especially when the audience is quiet), and steering the conversation on-topic when it seems we are straying too far from it. Listening involves setting aside my opinions and thoughts, and instead echoing others’ conclusions.”
Our community has such a vast degree of knowledge and expertise, whether acquired through academic study, personal experience, or both. Consider sharing your expertise in whatever format (presentation or interactive workshop) is most appropriate to your topic.
Therapist Jennifer Creson, who co-led the workshop Peace in Flux, said: “It is always helpful to have new experiences as a professional. Presenting workshops in front of large groups of people is a great experience in itself.”
Some of our presenters prefer to share the podium with a colleague or friend to add an additional perspective or provide moral support, and that format often works wonderfully.
Jacqui Beck, who presented the workshop Gender Personal and also co-facilitated the GO Family in-house session Transformation: This Time It’s Me, enjoyed sharing the preparation and workshop with another facilitator. After a pre-conference session of brainstorming and discussing the topic over good food and beer, she and her partner felt prepared to guide the discussion and jump in to redirect if one or the other became frazzled or caught off guard.
If you’re considering presenting or facilitating for the first time, you may feel that you’d be stepping outside of your comfort zone. But chances are good that when your session is over, you’ll be glad you did. Micah notes: “Personally I get great satisfaction in knowing someone else went home feeling better, or got a question answered, or their journey has been made a little smoother, simply by sharing what I’ve learned.”
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn MacGregor is Gender Diversity’s communications coordinator and has facilitated workshops at the Gender Odyssey Family conference for the past four years.