Meet Chris

I’m a freelance Facilitator, working face to face and online. I have one major client and I’m looking for more – not enough income and I don’t like all my eggs in one basket. I have a good relationship with my “handler” and the events team (2 hard working women) in my client company. The workshops are all about IT, as my client is an IT Membership organisation.
I’m also interested in IT and its modern uses. I like the social networking platforms that are available, and I really like my new phone – HTC Desire using Google’s Android. Delighted that there’s a WordPress app, so I can post on the move.
I’m really pleased to have been commissioned by a University Business School to write and deliver a course on IT for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). I’m not a geek, but I’ve been in IT for over 30 years and understand a lot about using IT in business.

As if that wouldn’t take enough of my time, I’m Clerk to Governors for three small rural schools – two primary schools (children aged rising 5 to 11, each with 50-60 children taught in 3 classes) and one nursery (20 pre-school children).

A bit of personal stuff. I live in Monyash a small village in the Peak District – the second most used National Park on the planet. My office is a posh shed, which we call the pod, in our garden. I have two children, two step-children, a step-grandaughter and another step-grandchild due this very Thursday. We also have a 12-week old Australian Shepherd puppy (you can read more about her in her blog), who’s in my care as my wife has just flown to Maryland to help out with her grandaughter as the second grandchild makes her/his entrance into the world.

If you want to know more about my business (curiosity, or perhaps you’re interested in working together), let me know and we can chat offline. I don’t think it’s appropriate to develop business on the course blog [grin].

I started facilitating on a part-time basis early in 1999 when I worked for the Research Group at what was then The Post Office, and is now Royal Mail. Most of my sessions were Creative Problem Solving (CPS) but I also ran strategy sessions for senior management teams as well as workshops for client/customer working teams.

I’m interested in formalising what I’ve learned and picked up about facilitation, and I’m always looking to learn from others and share the things I have found that work. I’m also hoping to find out about more and more web-based IT services and how people use IT. In my experience, the most important IT questions and problems are not about the technology. To misquote Clinton, “it’s the people, stupid”.

Here’s one learning point I’ve worked out from my own experience. Facilitating, especially for CPS workshops, means keeping on your toes for when the session changes direction – as often as not unexpected in time and direction. Learning to deal with this chaos is a transferable skill, in particular in helping improve my presentation skills/technique. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

That’s it for now. More introductory stuff at Thursday’s meeting.

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3 Responses to Meet Chris

  1. Floyd Wilde says:

    Nice to meet you, sort of, Chris. I’m thinking about picking up a Desire as well, I’ll be heading to the states (I live in NZ) in a few days and will be traveling around a bit. I also work in IT, and amuse myself by asking the phone sales reps, do you have any phones I can run an ssh server on?

  2. Michael W says:

    Hi Chris
    Great to read about your experiences. As an expatriate pom it’s wonderful to make contact with someone from ‘the old country’!
    I used to live in the Midlands/North West, and so know your area reasonably well. I used to be a friend of Dave who runs Scarthin Books in Cromford. Do you know the shop? Dave still seems to be alive and kicking judging by their website…
    Anyway – looking forward to meeting you online…

    Michael

    • chriswoodhouse says:

      Hi Michael,
      Yes, I certainly know Scarthin’s. My Mum lives in Wirksworth so I’m often in/through Cromford. While the big chains do what they do well, we need this sort of independent.
      See you online.
      Cheers,
      Chris

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