Running a workshop part 2: the art of skillful facilitation
Learn how to run a workshop and follow up so that your workshop doesn't become a lunchroom anecdote about how you'll never get those 3 hours back.
In Part 1 - Planning for your Workshop we covered tips on how to adequately plan and prepare for your workshop. Part 2 - Running the Workshop - will focus on how to run the workshop and follow up effectively so that your workshop doesn't become an anecdote in the lunchroom about how you'll never get those 3 hours of your life back.
Lights, camera, action!
You’ve completed the planning and preparation and are now ready for nearly anything. The room is set up and the attendees have started to arrive. It's time to get started.
Facilitating the Workshop
The workshop is over and now you can focus on the final stage.
You might be thinking: “What is left?” Well, let’s go through it:
- Do you need to send anything out to participants? As a minimum send a thank you communication, actions items and notes. Another option is to take photos of the work in the room and also then distribute that.
- Ensure you capture the feedback from the workshop and put that together as a lesson learnt for the next time you or someone else runs a workshop at your organisation
It’s now time to put your feet up and relax - at least, until your next action item, that is!
Must Haves for Successful Facilitation
You may feel overwhelmed with all the things that need to go into facilitating a successful workshop, however below is a quick summary of the must-haves that you can’t go without.
How many times have you received an invite without an agenda, or one that had been copied and pasted with no relevance to the topic at hand? It’s funny, because in our personal lives, most of us wouldn’t send an invite to our friends for a party without time, place and why. The agenda is the anchor for the session, providing the focus for achieving our goals and objectives.
Keep to the topic and time
As a facilitator, you need to ensure you start and finish on time. Set the expectation upfront that each agenda item will be time-boxed; providing a way to steer the course when required and appreciate that everyone’s time is valuable,
Stakeholder engagement and buy in
This goes beyond an introductory meeting. It is important to understand that you are facilitating the stakeholder’s vision. The stakeholder needs to feel valued, and this can be achieved by providing them with the opportunity to question and contribute the approach you will be taking. Without this, it could result in the stakeholder not being clear on what is expected of them and others, not turning up as they don’t see it as important, or worst of all sabotaging the session.
Capture conversation and follow up
Establish a visual way for participants to express themselves and contribute together. This could be through post-it notes, butcher’s paper diagrams, whiteboards etc. These visuals, combined with the notes taken, need to be captured in the right format for the team, with actions and clear accountability to enable them to continue to make progress from this point.
Last of all, remember the workshop is for everyone. Your role is to facilitate and empower the team, so go forth and facilitate with confidence!