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Emma Falkner

ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Director of ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Read more from Emma Falkner

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Excellent Warm up Activity for Building Rapport in Action Learning

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 Rapport between people in an action learning group is essential for its success

Why?

Most participants need to feel at ease with their fellow group members before presenting a problem, challenge or an issue.

It is the role of the action learning facilitator to model good rapport and encourage a group to open up.

To encourage rapport I generally start off with the following activity:

'6 Things'  - Action Learning Warm Up

Give all group members a handout which has the following written statements:

6 Things I would like to keep about my job/role

6 Things I would like to change about my job/role

  1. Ask group members to spend 5 minutes jotting down responses to both statements
  2. Divide the group up into pairs
  3. Each pair decides who is A and B
  4. A people speak for one minute about the things they would like to keep and for one minute about the things they would like to change.
  5. B people paraphrase back to A people what they heard
  6. Switch and do exactly the same 

Facilitator’s role:

  • Facilitator needs to keep a careful eye on the time. When working in pairs I generally ask everyone to start the activity at the same time, and I call out when the first and last minutes are up.
  • Ask for feedback about the exercise, e.g. when did people feel most at ease, listening or speaking?
  • Ask participants to bring the ‘6 Things’ handout to future action learning meetings

Outcomes of Activity:

By paraphrasing, participants begin to practise an essential skill in action learning - active listening

By carefully listening to one another rapport is very likely

Participants start thinking and then talking about possible issues relating to work

The 6 things participants would like to change becomes a reference point for a facilitator. For example, when at future action learning meetings, participants say ‘We have no issues’. This is a cue for the facilitator to say, ‘well, let’s have a look at the ‘6 Things’ handout you completed on our first meeting together – perhaps there is something on there you could present?’

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Emma Falkner

Director of ECF Training and Action Learning UK

Read more from Emma Falkner
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