When planning an event with group participation, setting a participation goal can be motivating and provide a tool for evaluation after the event. This lessons learned touches on one of my least-favorite/favorite topics; participation!
Participation is my least favorite because when it is bad, it can be really bad. We've all been to workshops or meetings with poor turnouts. Low participation can force a group to re-cover material at a future meeting that was previously discussed at a poorly attended one. On the reverse, too many participants can make a group event feel over crowded, physically or emotionally removed, and rushed.
Participation is my favorite because when you reach that ideal amount it can really make your job as a facilitator easier. For instance, some activities have an ideal amount of participants and too many or too little requires more effort on the part of group leaders to account for the "excess" or lack thereof. Also, if a group is attempting something for the first time, a smaller group can be more manageable than a large one.
Participation can also be a motivating factor and a tool for evaluation. If you haven't reached the goal you set out for in recruitment, you know you must keep up or increase your efforts. If your event had poor participation rates, you can use that as feedback in determining what changes you need to make in future to your program or its marketing strategy.
Lessons Learned is a RAPP Blog initiative intended for folks who hold formal leadership positions in RAPP programs to share what they're learning through their process