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Holding workshops amongst colleagues can be nerve-racking. As a facilitator, you want to ensure they get the best out of it, but you don’t want to come across as dictatorial either. There’s a fine balance to be struck between a workshop that’s fun and engaging a workshop that people treat as an opportunity to bunk off.
It’s a good idea to map out your workshop beforehand so that you can avoid it turning into chaos.
Here are ten steps to ensuring yours goes well:
When creating a learning and collaborative environment, how you set the room out plays a big part. You should arrange not just on a practical level, but also think about how everyone can interact with one another. Ensuring that all teams or individuals can talk and see to one another can either make or break a session.
An unorganized workshop facilitator can very quickly lose the confidence of the group. If end up spending twenty minutes trying to find the remote for a projector, your group are very likely to start switching off. Find all your relevant materials and resources beforehand to avoid embarrassment.
Food and drinks
People react well to having food in the room with them, even if it’s unavailable. The promise of food or drink can be a great motivator, and scheduling regular breaks to eat or drink will keep people engaged.
Invite the right group mix
You may not have too much choice over who comes to your workshop, but if you have multiple workshops planned over a number of days, think carefully about who it is that you are inviting. If you know that there is more than one person in a group who are likely to disengage, think about splitting them up. Alternatively, invite those who you are sure are going to help with the process.
Explain schedule of events
There is a stigma attached to workshops which can mean that delegates come with a preconceived attitude of indifference. For these people it’s important to give them a good idea of how your workshop is going to progress through the day, highlighting moments that will be of special importance to them.
Set out clear objectives and outcomes
People like to see the broad picture of workshops. At the very start, you should ensure that they understand what you as a collectively intend to achieve from the workshop. Not only does this set out a clear prerogative, but encourages the group to work as a team to make the workshop engaging.
Choose the right activities
Though you will have mapped out every detail beforehand, it is important to remain flexible in your approach to the activities you engage in. You may find that after lunch people are starting to flag and lose concentration, at which point you might want to utilize an energizing activity. Alternatively, you may find that people are overstimulated and easily distracted so you may draw on something that requires more brain power.
Split up into groups
Regularly splitting your teams into smaller groups helps to combat loss of interest. Create a routine of pairing people off to work on activities and reconvening, this way you’ll be keeping people active with one another.
At the end of your session, you should go back to the objectives and goals you set out at the outset. Address any shortfalls you may have encountered in achieving your goals and go round the group individually asking what people will take away from the session. A good workshop only works as well as what it has achieved.
About the author: Inna is a regular contributor to Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays. She is a business analyst who writes on a broad range of subjects regarding business development and workflow. She enjoys healthy cooking and sport as well as writing on emerging markets.