Or, in other words, preparation makes all the difference.
Appropriately framing an activity – that is, to ‘set the scene,’ or provide a context in which the activity will take place – is one of the most valuable tools I employ to help groups achieve their goals, ie get success. Otherwise, your group may not be ready – in most cases, emotionally under-prepared – for what is about to happen.
People have a natural proclivity to want to know why they are doing what they are doing. Framing goes a long way towards answering these questions, as well as reducing anxiety, providing clarity, and generally coaxing people forward into your program.
Everything you do programmatically provides the context in which the next activity is framed. For example:
Your language – it’s not just what you say, but how you say it – your tone and intention make a difference;
Lead-up activities – like building blocks, every activity should aim to complement the next, rather than subvert it. To illustrate, leading into a serious discussion with a very energetic, bounce-off-the-wall type of activity is unlikely to result in a settled, composed or focused group of people; and
Your general approach to facilitation – if you operate under the premise of Challenge by Choice, but your overall demeanour says there is no choice, you are likely to turn people off.
Ask yourself, “Have I done everything to prepare my group – emotionally and physically – for this experience?” “Do they know what they are getting into, and why?”
If not, think about what lead-up activities you could use to prepare thy way, or perhaps what introduction/briefing might be necessary to soothe the group into the activity.