Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.Siddhartha Gautama (563–483 BC)
Wording for everyone
Wording is important: On this platform I use certain terms and I avoid others. This can have legal aspects, e.g. webinar(™), or ambiguity of a word in the English language. Furthermore, this platform is supposed to be liberal in the true sense: that means TWL does not address a certain group of people, a certain continent or country nor a certain ethnic, cultural, tribal etc. background. TWL is open to everyone who needs support for his or he workshop. TWL is there to support personal growth and progress of individuals and who asks for it.
No gender issues
Nor is a certain gender preferred. I use sometimes she, sometimes he or he or she when I draft an example or describe a situation. Every human person regardless their sex or gender who visits this site is more than welcome.
Luckily, English doesn’t make a difference like many other idioms between you and you. So, we don’t have to deal with it in here. In case I facilitate a workshop in another language, which differentiates like in my German mother tongue or in French or Spanish between “Du” und “Sie” (German), or “tu” or “vous” (French) or “tu” or “usted” (Spanish) I prefer the more personal Du/tu/tu. Accordingly, in English I would call someone by his first name and by title and family name.
Technical Terms and Wording
To avoid distortion in our communication we should agree on a few terms and their use of certain wording. Not too many to bore, still a few for lore.
Workshop, Seminar or Webinar(™)?
On the TheWorkshopLeader.com we deal with all kind of event formats. The most common ones are the following with a short definition
- Workshops: a group learning of knowledge, skills or attitudes
- Digital workshops (DiWo): workshops being on or simulated on computer or networks
- Seminars – offline or online: a course or meeting for giving and discussing information
- Meetings: assembly for a common purpose
- Conferences and summits: a meeting of two or more people to discuss matters of common concern, which can be online or offline
- Online courses: a directed and structured travel of students to a given learning goal
- Trainings: the process of acquiring skill, knowledge or experience
As the very likely the best way for developing ourselves is working and learning in a group, practicing and experiencing something, I prefer workshop, be it virtual or in a specific place, as the widest and most useful term. You can apply a multitude of methods and it still remains a workshop. Furthermore, it involves more the idea of a process, which a group passes together. A seminar is too much reduced to pure information without the options of attitude and skill as well as without experience (though there is a seminar experience of course). Additionally, for me it is connoted with studying in a university or a religious institution.
Due to the size and organizational effort, conferences and summits are more seldom. We do not deny their value and validity. Whenever given, we will discuss them. However, they are a little less in focus due to their frequency. And mostly, professional event managers organize them, who – at least I hope so – don’t need my support, but are more asked to contribute and share their experiences with us.
The wording Webinar(™) became quite widespread in 2019. There are two reasons I won’t use the word.
- In Germany the term is legally protected. Thus, I can’t use it as TWL is hosted in Germany without the risk of being fined.
- The popularity of this format led to a blurred understanding of the term and other hand to an overuse for marketing purposes. Most WebSeminars are in reality sales pitches in disguise.
Leader or trainer?
A teacher is like a candle: she consumes herself to light the way for others. In other words: trainers offer practice, the bad ones only theory. This takes a lot of energy of the trainer, and the result depends very much on the willingness of the student.
A leader, however, inspires and creates the willingness. He shows a path, gives orientation and a student or participant has to walk himself. He or she is more the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage. The leader offers room for learning and accompanies the process of personal growth and development. That’s why I talk of leading a workshop – not giving a training.
Moderation or facilitation?
Both words, moderation and facilitation, are used more or less synonymously – with a slight preference for moderation in panels, group discussions and seminars and a leaning over to facilitation if it’s a method or workshop. The wording moderate stems from the latin word moderare, i.e. To calm down, to temper, to avoid extremes. Sometimes this might be the wrong way to instigate progress and to uncover a truth. So, both terms are in use and mostly – for good reasons – I will speak of leading a workshop 😉