Time for bed, said Zebedee

… with apologies to Magic Roundabout fans.

Well, I’ve timed out attempting to post a comment on everyone’s blog. I’m getting up at 5:30 at present to post the puppy out for a pee, so at nearly midnight I’m past doing anything more tonight. Perhaps tomorrow between the two meetings…

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Getting organised – 55 blogs!

I’ve managed to carve out a bit of time in advance of the opening meeting to make sure I’m subscribing to all the blogs. I think they must be mushrooms cos every time I go back to the participants page on the course wiki, there are more people registered. There are 55 people listed, including Sarah the course facilitator, as I write! I have got all the blogs added to my Google reader except one – who hasn’t given open permission for anyone to follow.

Now I need to make sure I’m following all the Twitter handles that have been listed and to visit all the blogs to see what people’s opening thoughts on the course are. I hope to post a comment to every one – at least for this introductory week. I’m sure I won’t manage to keep that sort level of activity up as the course work really kicks in.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s meetings (great idea of Sarah’s to schedule a second one) – I’m going to try to attend both and they’re both Thursday, UK time.

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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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First FO2010 post

I can’t believe a year has passed since I found FOC09 and met a great bunch of people.  Last year I wasn’t as organised as I’d hoped to be so I found after a few weeks I didn’t have the time to do the course justice, so I decided to duck out and hoped that I’d be back, if Otago was back too.  Well, they are and so am I.

I recognise a couple of staffer names, and I did a bit of work for Sarah earlier this year on the Virtual International Day of the Midwife – an interesting day, especially for Sarah, if you know what I mean by interesting 🙂

I’ve also spotted Mireille’s name, so I’m not the only resit.

Looking forward to it.  See you all next week.

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