Manage projects? Some tips on how to avoid fake (or none) participation

Back at “Tools for Youth Exchanges” in Reykjavik, Iceland, we were discussing the main obstacles on your way to a perfect Erasmus+ project. Of course, there are many ways your project to go wrong, but here we will focus on the participation issue.

It is a big issue which may come by rich variety of reasons. It is sometimes really hard to make people be active and to participate with ideas in a project. So, here are some tips which came to our minds:

How to avoid fake participation (or none)

The good news is that you can do a lot to avoid or overcome fake or lack of participation. Of course, at the end it might not help, but these ideas might be useful in many cases.

The planning and preparation

It all starts with the stage when you plan the project and prepare everything for its take off. In order not to have participants who appear to be not interested in your project, it is very important to explain the project really well in your advertisement and information about it. Make sure you understand what kind of participants you need and make a clear profile with the main characteristics that will guide you in your choice afterwards. Once you are aware of the target group, try to find the channels to reach out people like the ones you will need. Put priorities on the main criteria and make listings with the selected participants.

Very often there are the Sending Organisations’ teams who select the participants at first – make sure you are on the same page with them; and they know what you are looking for.

Selection procedure 

Start with a pre-selection; give some of the participants some tasks, so you could find out more about their motivation and way of working. Always make sure the participants know what they are expecting to do (now and later!)

Communication is king. It is vital to have the chance to meet them (online or in person) and to get to know them just a bit. Ask them about their expectations and make sure you understand them. If the project aim meets them, then you altogether will work on fulfilling everyone’s needs.

Select good and positive trainers who can make participants feel good.

Implementation

It is very easy to lose attention and to get boring. So, the first step to a successful project implementation is to prepare a rich variety of activities and to make sure everyone is involved in them. Be flexible and talk to people. Have a clear schedule and use different tools to manage team work.

When you build the schedule with the participants, listening to their ideas, suggestions and willingness to perform some tasks is a good way to manage team work. There is always a chance people to be reluctant to suggest anything, but then find the ones who would love to do it in the group. They will show the others how to do it.

Get back to participants’ expectations often enough in order not to forget them. Cross the ones which are already met.

Evaluation

Reflect as much as possible. Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them (they say, a mistake made twice is a choice).

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