The World Needs a Regular Pick-Me-Up

Below is an interview with Trisha Viecco Carrillo of International Budget Partnership (IBP). Recently, she shared with Jeanette Romkema (GLP Senior Partner) a warm-up she used in a meeting, and Jeanette wanted to learn more…  

Jeanette Romkema (JR): Trish, you have been journeying with the principles and practices of a learning-centered approach for many years now. I have seen you facilitate tough conversations with IBP staff, design meaningful gatherings with IBP partners, support colleagues to ensure effective meetings, and work to ensure all voices are invited into work and heard. I so appreciate your commitment to a principle-based approach and relentless striving to help everyone be the best they can be together!

Recently, you shared short warm up you did with your small team at the start of a meeting. I loved it and wanted to chat with you briefly about it. Thanks for being willing to share it in a GLP blog!

JR: Please give some background on what you did.

Trisha Viecco Carrillo (TVC): I’d love to. I shared this short presentation with the IBP TTAN team in our meeting last week. I thought of this idea after hearing colleagues remind training participants, that a certificate would be provided after the completion of the course they were currently enrolled in. I know the team is tired and could use a light-hearted moment, so I thought, why not “give out awards” highlighting some of the excellent skills/memorable moments I have seen over the course of our many meetings together?

JR: What was your goal exactly?

TVC: My goal was to make this light, fun and provide a general pick-me-up. My entire team has been trained by GLP and are Dialogue Education practitioners. I wanted to celebrate the great work they are doing in our virtual meetings and convenings. 

JR: How did you pull it all together?

TVC: Well, a few weeks prior to the meeting, I asked colleagues to send me a childhood photo, thinking these would really shift the mood of our meeting. I popped the photos into a PowerPoint template and played a few seconds of this music clip from the movie, Sing. I told everyone to pretend we were all dressed up at the Academy Awards and began. I also gave each team member time for an “acceptance speech”. I’m quite sure it was enjoyed by all.

JR: Why have you started to value this sort of personal engagement more in your work? I have to say that I have seen an increase of these sorts of small invitations at IBP over the past year or so.

TVC: I think the current remote work environment has a lot to do with it. Most of our staff are still working remotely and the casual interactions we used to have in the office, in which we connected to one another beyond work, are harder to achieve over Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These types of warm-ups provide a welcome respite from back to back meetings in which we have little time to just catch up. They remind us that we are more than heads on screens.

JR: As facilitator, how have these sorts of small personal yet purposeful engagements helped you?

TVC: I think I do these warm-ups as much for myself as for others! These engagements help me to reconnect with my colleagues and, in some cases, get to know colleagues who I have not had an opportunity to meet in-person. They are also a welcome mental break after being on back-to-back meetings which can really be taxing.

JR: What word of encouragement can you share for our readers who may feel uncertain of these kinds of personal invitation in meetings and work?

TVC: Take a chance! I really encourage others to try to create these kinds of moments or open-up their meetings for some personal connections. I certainly understand that these types of warm-ups are not suitable for all occasions. It is important to know your audience, be familiar with the topics on the agenda and keep it short, so there is a natural flow from the warm-up. Knowing this will help you feel more confident in creating these moments during their meetings. Don’t overthink it and keep it simple.

JR: Trish, thank you so much for modeling courage in your facilitation and design, and making spaces for authentic connection.

TVC: Thank you for the invitation.

What do you do to authentically help individuals to connect to each other?

Trisha Viecco – is the Events Coordinator at the International Budget Partnership. Over her nine years in this role she has coordinated countless meetings around the world for IBP and its partners. Trisha is based in Washington, DC where she lives with her husband and two adorable kids. Presently, she is working toward becoming a Certified Dialogue Education Teacher with GLP.

Read here for more blogs by Trish.

Read here for more blogs by International Budget Partnership (IBP).

Read below for more blogs of this kind:

  1. Start with the Heart: A Warm-up to Consider
  2. Facilitation as Hospitality and Belonging