Clowning for Facilitators is a workshop I’ve had in mind for a long time. Even before I started to study Clown, I was fascinated by the similarities with facilitation: a clown is continuously reading her audience, finding the path to an outcome that works for both performer and watcher. She blurs the line between actor, satirist, improviser, comedian and teacher. There is a magical ability to work the energy in a room and show it something anew.
When I facilitate, I like to provide a session that is multi-layered; as well as developing a sustainability strategy or a business plan, I like the group to develop a greater awareness of the self and their place within the organisation. I also want them to leave feeling positive and more deeply connected with the people they work with. My role traverses the very fine line between guide, coach, teacher, ringmaster and performer.
With the potential for operating under many guises I need to be acutely aware of my own biases and perspectives in order to avoid unwittingly manipulating the group. This has led me on an unending quest for self-awareness, a journey shared by the clown, who must learn to accept her oddities and weaknesses so that when the audience sees them (they will!) and laughs (they will) she can deal with it. (My ideosyncrasies include extreme self-consciousness, uncontrolled arm movements and an interesting wiggle, which makes for cringe-worthy but hilarious film footage. There are probably a zillion I haven’t get discovered – or refuse to admit!)
Through performance and clowning I have increased my awareness of myself in front of an audience, both physically and emotionally. I have developed a greater ability to let go, keeping the end in mind but allowing it to be reached in the way that meets the needs of the group at that time. Clowning has allowed me to develop many of the intangible skills that are so critical to good facilitation: how to read the energy in a room and create a space for transparent, generative discussion.
I’m excited to share this experience with other facilitators, whether you consider yourself a professional facilitator or lead team meetings as part of your job, to give you the opportunity to explore your role leading teams to a shared outcome in a positive and playful way.
For information on how to book for the next Clowning for Facilitators, which will be running on Tuesday July 13 from 2pm – 5pm in EC1, London. Also feel free to get in touch or post a comment about the post and we can have a chat.