Workshop Facilitation Tips

I have been facilitating different workshops for a little more than a couple years now. Some of the workshops were about basic nutrition topics and cooking, as well as, some self-management building skills. I know that a little more than a couple of years may not be enough time to make me feel I have experience in this field. However, I am going to tell you why there is a difference between facilitation and presentation. Also, I have seen people’s reaction towards each type of workshops.

The difference between facilitation and presentation is as follows: (1) Presentation it is usually informative. People listen, see your power point and make notes, maybe ask some questions, but that is it. (2) Facilitation, on the other hand, is interactive. The name says it all! You are only there to start the conversation and to help participants come up with ideas to solve the issues they shared earlier in the workshop.

I, personally, love facilitating workshops, rather than, presenting. It is even better if the workshop you are going to facilitate has some guidelines or a script to follow and is an evidence-based workshop.

Below, I am going to list some of the ideas on how to facilitate that I gather from the different workshops I lead and attended throughout the three years I have been leading workshops:

  • Always ask participants to volunteer when presenting themselves or when giving examples or ideas and go around the room from that person. (That way noone feels like you are putting them on the spot.)
  • Always thank participant for sharing ideas. (So, they feel you acknowledge their effort. Remember, not everyone is open to share difficult experiences.)
  • Never use words like…Great idea!, Good job!, or Awesome!, when participants share their ideas. Remember, that if you use these words with some participants you may have to use it with ALL participants to avoid misunderstanding and the idea of having favoritism towards certain participants.
  • When someone brings up a non-related topic to the conversation, please make sure you redirect them kindly to the workshop and topic you are facilitating. (Sometimes participants take advantage of the opportunity to talk and/or share their problems.)
  • Never put someone in the spot. That person will not come back to finish a series of workshops or when you offer another workshop.

These are just a few ideas I have come up with to share with you.

How about you?

Please! remember I am giving some ideas based on my short experience facilitating. If you would like to add to my list, please feel free to do it in the comments. Also, if you do not agree with my list, please share the reasoning behind it in the comments.

Thank you,

Sara Schrader

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