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Training: Purpose, Aims, Outcomes, Methods

Overall Purpose
The overall aim of the Interact Networks training
programme is to create the foundation of a network of "An excellent course well
individuals who can contribute to improving the quality of directed and expertly
consultative, participative and partnership working in their delivered. Good, practical
area. This is to be achieved through: outcomes that can be used in
the future"
• enabling participants to develop genuinely usable
skills and experience in the challenging arenas of Trainee, January ‘04
process management and facilitation, and
• bringing together a set of people who will learn and then practice together in a way that
ensures they are able to apply their learning and make real progress in their skills

Aims of the Training

The field of participation and engagement is very large;
including specific ‘subsets’ such as consultation,
collaborative working, partnership working, stakeholder "Excellent. I have done a lot of
dialogue and consensus building. These topics cannot all be training in my working life –
covered in a three day training course and we do not this was amongst the best".
attempt to do so. We also believe that some of the topics
Trainee, March’ 04
need to be well understood before attempting to tackle
others; in other words, there is a natural progression of
complexity and difficulty.
This course therefore aims to:
• help people understand the full range of different ‘levels’ and approaches to engagement and
their respective purposes, and
• focus detailed attention on the essential building blocks of collaborative approaches to
process management and the use of facilitation as a specific skill within these.

What can I Expect to Learn?

Participants can expect to leave the course with a foundation of understanding in the following:
In terms of participation and engagement – why, when and how – be able to:
• describe the benefits and pitfalls of participative working and to communicate this to others,
• describe the key underlying concepts and principles of participative working,
• recognise and describe the characteristics of a range of approaches to effectively engaging
stakeholders and the public in issues and decisions that affects them,
• identify circumstances where facilitated working is appropriate (and inappropriate), and
• identify when and how best to use an independent facilitator.
In terms of skills and techniques, be able to:
• put into practice the essential personal and practical skills required of a facilitator,
• fulfil various roles in a facilitation team,
• choose, manage and adapt simple techniques for group working and interaction, and

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• plan and prepare for managing, supporting or co-ordinating interactive events.
In terms of the Network and its development:
• understand the scope, role and implications of your Network, and
• identify further areas for personal/professional development as a process manager,
commissioner of services and/or practitioner.

What will the Training Cover?

Participants will be introduced to key drivers and elements
which currently influence the field in the UK, such as:
"Very useful, thought
Key concepts and theories: This includes the benefits, provoking, practical"
pitfalls and principles of participative approaches, the
different types of engagement, the basics of consensus Trainee, May ‘04
building, different forms of third party intervention (chair,
arbitration, facilitation, mediation etc), facilitation roles,
process design and stakeholder analysis.
Personal skills: This includes opportunities to practise and
advance personal skills, such as listening, questioning, reframing, planning, using flip charts and
recording are covered.
Practical facilitation experience: participants will have an opportunity to practise facilitation, with
supportive feedback.
Basic techniques: Participants will be introduced to a range of simple practical techniques, with
opportunities to observe them being used and practice them during the course. This includes various
ways of gathering and grouping information and of collecting information; the use of different seating
arrangements; prioritisation; different forms of recording/reporting.
Practicalities of process: Participative meetings or workshops require a great deal of practical
preparation and planning. Participants will have an opportunity to consider the numerous logistical
issues which need to be covered when organising an event. This includes dealing with speakers,
presentation materials, catering, venues, ‘props’, materials needed on the day and so on.
Setting up a successful Network: Together, participants will have an opportunity to identify some of
the key issues arising from the development and operation of a Network and to consider ways forward.

How is the Training Delivered?

This course provides opportunities for participants to learn
in a number of ways, particularly:
• Participating in training sessions or role -plays etc "Engaging as always! Lots of
• Practising facilitation skills and techniques in very useful examples and
“learning by doing” sessions. anecdotes brought it all to life"
Trainee, January ‘04
• Taking part in facilitated discussions run by co-
• Participating in feedback discussions, involving
both trainers and co-participants.
• Observing facilitation practice by the trainer(s).
• Discussing facilitation and process management concepts, challenges and issues.
• Reading the course notes and any other suggested reading material.

InterAct Networks 2004

See for details.

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