Deb in Amman 2013 – 2
Before I get to today’s adventures, I need to confess something that happened the night I arrived. Okay, I was jet lagged and exhausted, but why I ended up in the men’s room- and didn’t know it until a guy came in and told me, goodness only knows! Unfazed, I told him I might as well finish washing my hands before I left- so I did. It certainly explained why the place was so filthy… I have no idea why this slipped my mind.
On to today. I learned that I absolutely must pack at least one package of Mr. Sketch colored markers when I travel. Without them, I wasn’t able to create the flip charts of the learning objectives for all four days last night when I set up. This morning, I had NO help getting my tactile materials onto the tables (5 were set up) or the walls. I was there at 7:30 and it wasn’t until 8:40 that the participant binders, markers, etc. arrived. To say I was a basket case doesn’t convey my sweaty reality. Diala arrived shortly after the materials and she and someone else helped put the post it notes, candy, etc. on the tables as I raced around writing the flip charts.
Luckily, only a third of the participants were on time, so I was just able to finish a little after 9- the scheduled start.
We had 15-17 people (it fluctuated a bit during the day). It is a wonderful, incredibly bright, funny, appreciative and, at times, loquacious group. Working with simultaneous interpretation is an acquired skill, let me tell you! I had to wear a lavaliere microphone and the participants who didn’t speak English had headsets to hear the translation and large microphones to speak into. When they used the mics, I had to wear a head set to hear the English translation.
At the beginning, I could hear the participant speaking Arabic and see the translator’s lips moving (there were two translators, very charming women, seated in a glass booth erected yesterday). It took a while for the translators to realize they had to push one button to translate in Arabic and another to translate in English. It took all day for all the participants to remember to speak into the microphones. The Arabic speakers were already wearing headsets, so they tended to remember. The English speakers would forget that, although I could understand them, the Arabic speakers could not.
I would turn off my microphone during long group activities or breaks, then start and speak for several minutes before someone reminded me to turn my mic on- at which point, I would have to repeat what I had just said.
I also had to remember to take my headset off when people spoke English, because otherwise I would hear the Arabic translation. At one point, I was so confused I put my headset on and the gentleman pointed out that he was speaking English…
I’m sure that, by the fourth day, we’ll all be almost perfect with it.
When I went to take photos of the agenda map and the groups’ flip chart work, I discovered that my camera battery was too low. I’ll have a lot of photos to take tomorrow- of flipcharts written in both English and Arabic (which still looks like water music to me).
I had had some trepidation about this first day because it was brand new. It focused on attitudes: a definition, causes, resistance to change, how to get past or manage that resistance, how to understand the source (values and beliefs), etc. Activities related to handling negative transfer, motivational techniques and persuasive triggers were also included.
At one point, I started to feel like my choice of topics and the flow of the content no longer made sense. But lo and behold, the two sections I was most worried about (regarding beliefs and persuasive triggers) were the ones cited by several of the participants as their key learning. Whew!
I won’t know how they really felt about the training until tomorrow. We started to run short just before 5, our scheduled ending time. I hate closing a session with an evaluation, since all of the energy of the group dissipates, so I had them promise to complete and return them tomorrow morning.