5 steps to confident workshop facilitation

Feature image for 5 steps to confident workshop facilitation

Know your audience: 

Get to know about your workshop participants as much as you can. Be open with the limitation of your expertise in theirs. Remember that you are there to facilitate and not to know everything. Assigning participant personas is a good way to connect you with them and help you deliver something that they are likely to feel comfortable with.

Define objectives: 

Know intimately what the workshop is for, make sure that you simplify it to a couple of main objectives. Deliver to those objectives. Continue to remind your audience of the objectives to keep the workshop focused. Be mindful not over-reach and stray too far from the stated objective.

Be structured: 

Take the time to organise your workshop into logical sections. Write out your agenda and allocate time for each section. Your estimate on how much time to allocate will improve with practice and experience. Plan each section with relevant materials, methods, and the roles for each participant. People will engage and contribute more in a well-structured meeting where they can easily understand their role.

Design and test interactions

It has become more common for participants to join a workshop via audio and video channels. Prepare for this and make sure that they can still participate in workshop activities in a reliable fashion. Start early to test any communication channels prior to your workshop. Your participants’ time is valuable and spending time watching you resolve technology issues is not a good use of their time.

Get support: 

Make sure that you have your ‘A Team’ with you. Allocate duties so you can focus on the important aspects of facilitation and participant engagement. Consider allocating someone to scribe and keep time so you can focus on the participants. Practice with your together and discuss your roles.

You would be right in thinking that there is certain aspect of showmanship in facilitating a workshop. So, it is important for you to develop your own style. Most importantly though, practice, practice and practice.