I had a really interesting experience whilst facilitating last week. I was running an all day session for a group of senior professionals. After lunch one of the delegates lifted his phone and a notebook and left the room. I assumed that he had a phone call to take/make and would return. He did eventually come back… 1.5 hours later!
To be honest I didn’t think that much of it at the time. I often find when you work with certain groups, time sensitive situations can develop and they need to step out to deal with them. However, after the session was over he came and spoke to me. He wanted to apologise for leaving the room but the exercises just weren’t his thing.
Initially, as you can imagine I wondered if it was to do with me, my delivery style or my material. After a bit of a chat though, it became apparent that he had no problem with any of those things. In fact, he’d found the first half (the more theoretical portion of the day) really valuable and enjoyable. The afternoon session, the practical exercises, they just didn’t sit well with him. He couldn’t even really pin point why.
In these situations, it is all too easy to take these things personally, but as this experience proves, sometimes it’s the delegates. Maybe they aren’t in the right frame of mind, maybe something else is going on for them and they can’t focus. Most likely you will never know.
The important thing is that you reflect on what happened, consider what you could have done differently but don’t fixate on it because sometimes it has nothing at all to do with you and everything to do with them.