Just Plain Lost?

Lost your place?
Lost your way?
Uncertain of how to continue?
Lost confidence in the agenda?
Feel like you are blundering about?
Lost people's attention?
Just plain lost?

This will sometimes happen.  Sometimes you have something like 'writer's block'; other times you may have been inadequately briefed, or inadequately prepared.  Or you may have inadvertently strayed into a topic you are not prepared or able to deal with.

When this occurs you have a number of choices.  Consider:
  • Pausing and telling yourself it will all be OK in your most convincing voice, then continuing.
  • Suggesting it is time to take a short break to stretch legs/get some fresh air.
  • Starting an off-the-cuff exercise, as a whole room, in small groups, or individually.
  • Asking a question of the group that is on-topic.
  • Asking someone to make a specific contribution.
  • Breaking early for morning tea/lunch/afternoon tea/dinner/the day.
  • Looking around the room for someone who can rescue you.
  • Coming clean and stating that you are not sure where to go from here, and asking for suggestions.
You might be surprised to find that the last of those listed above can actually work; particularly if you are working with people who are switched on and appreciate the challenges of facilitating in the situation you are in.  It is not unusual for someone to speak up, and have a useful suggestion.

I do not suggest:
  • Telling a joke.
  • Dropping your notes on the floor to buy time.
  • Pretending to hear voices.
  • Running screaming from the room.
But there are likely to be situations in which even these approaches are OK.