How do you take the essence of what happens in a group of close to 200 people? This question becomes even more difficult to answer when the audience is predominantly geared to an oral rather than a writing culture. Here’s what we did:
- Find out who likes to write: In an icebreaker, we asked the audience to stand up if a statement related to them. One of the statements was: you have a masters’ degree. This enabled us to identify people who likely know how to capture the essence of a one hour small-group conversation. We approached these people individually, and mobilised their support to write down “What was most interesting in this conversation, and why?”
- Use cards to capture suggestions: One of our themes was strengthening the link between two programs. Small groups were asked to keep track of suggestions on cards. These cards were collected by the facilitators. We regularly analysed all the cards that were coming in, and posted the key points on a news wall.
- Interviewing the audience: Our communications officer was interviewing people about the lessons they were learning. Next time, we will also try to use video interviewing.
- Social media: We had a daily post on our Facebook page (well, almost daily) and asked the audience to like and comment under the post. I learned that it is better for people to comment rather than to post on a Facebook page. If they post on the page, only their friends may see it. If they comment on a post everyone can see it. Social media are a great way to capture the atmosphere of the event.