Levelling of expectations

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Level of process: 
Intent or purpose: 
The intent of this procedure is to give the participants confidence in the workshop or training and on the other hand it is used to give the facilitator an idea about the needs of the participants.
Used as component of: 
This process is used in the beginning of a workshop or training to level the participants' expectations with the objectives and content of the programme.
Types of Participants: 
Any types of participants can be involved in this process.
Recommended size of group: 
Remarks about group size: 
The group can be of any size, as it will be divided into sub-groups.
Optimal amount of time needed: 
The estimated time is 15 to 45 minutes. The longer the actual workshop will be, and the more participants there are, the more time should be planned for the process.
Usual or Expected Outcomes: 
The outcome could be some kind of ceremony e.g. signing a learning contract in order to dedicate the forthcoming day to self- and other-awareness, interactions or meaningful learning.
Level of participation: 
Participants need to be actively thinking and working in groups.
Ideal Conditions: 
There are no special conditions needed.
Potential Pitfalls: 
Thinking about problems that could occur might lead to a negative atmosphere.
How is success evaluated: 
The process is successful when the participants feel positive about the upcoming training or work-shop.
Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: 
A special Facilitator-Client Relationship is not neccesary as the group only needs to be instructed and supervised.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Not set
Facilitator Personality Fit: 
The facilitator needs to organize the process and presentation.
Setting and Materials: 
Paper, markers, post-its and cards are needed for the participants to write down their expectations. Furthermore a flip chart or pin boards might be useful to write down some results or occured questions etc..
Resources Needed: 
There are no additional resources needed.
Pre-Work Required: 
There is no work that needs to be done beforehand.

1. Intorduction
The facilitator presents the schedule and content of the workshop or training planned. He/She should use a big chart to state a time table (and indicate, if applicable, that the programme is flexible).

2. Talking about expectations
The facilitator should divide the participants into subgroups and ask them to talk about their expectations about the upcoming workshop or training. Questions discussed could be e.g. "What outcome has there to be for you? When are you satisfied?" They should also discuss what they await form the facilitator and fellow-participants. Another issue that should be discussed whether there are any other problems which they foresee to happen during the training.

3. Presentation and discussion
After discussing the matter in subgroups each of them will then present their results to the whole group.At this point informative questions might be asked and the points mentioned can be discussed. If applying solutions (to possible problems) can be discussed and the programme might be adaped according to that.

After that a contract could be signed (or another kind of ceremony) and then the actual workshop/training can start.

How flexible is the process?: 
The process is flexible to some extent, e.g. when it comes to the ending of the procedure or the division of the sub-groups.
Follow-Up Required: 
The expectations can be collected and should be kept in order to revert back to them later and evaluate whether the expectations actually met the workshio or training.
Patrick Boel - June, 2006
IRC-FN: Subgroups