We sat down with Romy to hear more about his roles as a facilitator, psychological safety practitioner, and trainer!

How have your roles as a facilitator, psychological safety practitioner, and trainer influenced your experience at Forward·Inc?

I think all of it is really relevant, as I was brought in to deliver training for Forward·Inc trainers on how they increase engagement and experiences in the online space. I myself am an experiential learning trainer. I’m also a facilitator and base all of my work around experiential methodologies and approaches. What I’ve learned over the years is that psychological safety is the foundation for any kind of learning environment. So in those trainings with Forward·Inc trainers, we were talking a lot about how do we create those safe spaces? How do we set the conditions so people feel that this is a container they can bring themselves, they can bring their ideas, that they’re not just being forced to listen to information but also feel comfortable to ask questions, bring in new insights, et cetera?

And it was very relevant because we went deep into, as well, experiential and engagement hacks and tools that people can use to really feel like this is not just your typical online meeting, but really feeling that there’s more connection, more engagement, more impact in terms of the experiences that are cultivated there. I was able to bring this to Forward·Inc, which was so lovely to work with such great trainers doing mission-driven work that I really believe in.

Could you share key tools or tips you find most useful for everyone?

Some of the things that we talked about in the training that we did was how you, from beginning to end of any meeting infuse engagement and experiences and connections. We talked a lot about this principle of connection before content and what is a connection before content because there’s this big misunderstanding that we need to kick off with an icebreaker. But I always say the way that you start any meeting sets the tone for what happens later on. One of the things that I shared with the Forward·Inc Trainers is that they build this connection before content moments, making sure that they’re related to the topic. They connect people to each other, and they create this opportunity or choice for vulnerability and authentic sharing.

For example, in our training, which was on experiential online events, the connection before content, we had people go into breakout rooms. We had people bring items to the screen, which is another hack. We also talked about people showing up as full as remembering that your participants are full cups of life experience You can drink from them if you ask these questions if you get them to share do you agree do you disagree with me? You know, what what did you see? So connection before content and connection through the content and even connecting at the closing right and having this final checkout moment is so important and can set the structure and the skeleton for any meeting that you design.

What upcoming project do you have in store with Forward·Inc?

Bring more training to the Forward·Inc wider team, about these facilitation tools and training tools how do you see that these are actually key and core leadership skills that we need to be using on.

For instance, what if there’s conflict? Because we often only end up hearing from the extrovert. So all of those are great different tools to maximise engagement, psychological safety, experiential learning, whether it’s online, offline, or any other kind of environment. We’re still defining what that looks like, but I’m looking forward to many more opportunities and working with the team.

What were the main takeaways you wish the community left with following your work with Forward·Inc?

I’ve had to really try and push this idea of why psychological safety and connection is so important and why experiential learning is so important. We’re finally reached this moment in the world where people realise this is a human need, and you can’t do your best work unless you feel safe as a team.

When it comes to psychological safety, what I what I was really proud of to see within the group was how much we were able to talk even about our emotions right and so that always tells them that we’ve done a good enough job to set the container to for people to share about their real frustrations and real emotions or even things that happened in childhood.

And when it comes to experiential learning, it’s very similar. We want to get you to engage. We need to be cultivating engaging experiences. So unfortunately, particularly in this online space, it feels very one directional- I’m talking right now, you’re listening in a moment, you’re going to talk and I’m going to listen. But how do we turn this on its head so that there’s experiences that people can resonate with? 

Our brain is not a sponge. In fact, it’s more like a tea strainer. Put the water through the strainer and what comes out is without all the leaves. This is the same way our brain learns and what comes out are the experiences our brain remembers.

If there’s anything I ask people to take away, it’s don’t just focus on the information, but also on the experiences and emotions. People realise ‘I don’t actually remember the content that I learned, I actually remember how I was feeling’.

We need to be cultivating more experiences that help bring and evoke the emotions that we want and also make sure that they’re interactive and engaging with people.

What were you particularly passionate about during your time with Forward·Inc?

I feel very lucky that I’ve found my passion and my purpose in life. Working with Forward·Inc., what resonates is the mission of the organisation and empowering individuals who have incredible ideas and perhaps often are not given the opportunities that they need to help those ideas come to life. And so I am.

The topic of migration is close to my heart. I’ve worked with a lot of migrants and refugees. And so knowing that this, the organisation stands behind the opportunities to provide equitable opportunities to individuals who can change the world, who are actually changing the world and, you know, show bringing new ideas and new innovations to life is what empowers me also.

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