Be Human - People! (part 1)


We aren’t econs - econs are all logical and rationale all the time - we react to different incentives in different ways, and the presumption of “rationality” can often derail a good idea or process. Facilitators should understand the “human” in participants, and a good one will make sure that is taken into account in any process.

People don’t feel absolutes, they experience change.

This is one of the key features of a behavioural economics. It is a key factor to facilitation and the work we do at Change by Exchange.


During any process, it is important to understand that it is the change that people feel, not the absolute or “end position” that is important. This is what we remember and experience. A good facilitator and a good process should ensure that the change is obvious and that the priority on designing processes is that people feel change.   We try to make sure that whatever we are doing, each process or action that we do has a point to it that creates a positive change with the participants.

The story is everything


We know that when someone has finished a process, hindsight bias will kick in. People won’t necessarily remember that they “didn’t know” something, or that something was hard. What they will remember is the story. The peak moment of a journey and process. What it is hard to do in planning is to place a value on a story that we don’t know yet. If you are given a prize, in the form of a cheap trophy, the trophy isn’t worth what was paid for it, it is worth a lot more than that because of the effort that you put into getting it. You can put it on a bookshelf in your office and tell people the story of how you won the trophy. A good, engaging process has to emphasis the story, give out trophies that people value, and encourage people to want to win a bigger trophy next time.

Losses affect people more than gains


The implications for this when facilitating are very important. If you waste someone's time, money, or other resources then they will remember the loss. Even if you “make up for it” with a positive outcome, the loss will stick and be remembered. Participants love when a meeting ends on time.


When their expectations are met. Establishing expectations and getting buy-in early, lessens the chance of a loss. We try to do this. However, remember, we are human. Bad things happen sometimes, appealing to other peoples human side and saying sorry can help minimise this loss. Remember, people are not rationale all the time, we are all human.