Published: August 26, 2016   Updated: September 16, 2016

As facilitators sometimes we are stuck between wanting our trainings to be enjoyable and wanting our participants to learn something. In this video Eric Boggs dives into the facilitator dilemma of being popular vs. being real and how to decide and prioritize group learning vs. enjoyment.


  • everyone isn’t going to be happy and comfy
  • we need to push/challenge to encourage growth
  • be real, even if unpopular

To check out Eric’s latest project visit here.


Question: Should we prioritize learning or enjoyment for our participants?

EB: “It is easy as facilitators to worry about successful outcomes and wanting people to have a good time. But that’s like the facilitation equivalent of wanting to be popular vs. wanting to be real. Right?

(Meg: “yeah, that’s awesome.”)

I want to be liked, I want people to laugh at my jokes. I want people to go home and tell their friends that this was a cool trip and to sign up for another one. I want my colleagues to think I did well. And we also have to push back on this everyone is going to be happy and comfortable.

I think that when people talk about having learned a lot, in a way that is not a euphemism that genuinely means that people were pushed they were challenged and as a result of that they grew. Right? If they are comfortable and have fun and be happy it will be a good experience but it might be on that developmentally is a good time but kind of perfunctory.”

Written by FacilitatingXYZ Team

This is the account that the FacilitatingXYZ team uses. FacXYZ is co-facilitated by Meg and Sam, and brings in expertise, knowledge, and lived experience from facilitators far and wide. Read more about us here.

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