The other night, on the forelast night of a workshop I realised it would be good to lay out the principles of facilitating a good workshop in my view:
- The experience of participants matters more than anything else; be ready to spend long nights for them;
- They cannot fail any exercise but your exercise could fail them: be prepared to revise your inputs and adapt exercises based on feedback received (however frustrating that may be);
- The more you work the less they work; the less they work the less they learn: Don’t jam their programme with all the knowledge you’d like to share with them and think about more exercises for them to do;
- Spend more time for them to peer review each other! There’s never enough time to review peer work!
Use as many examples as you can! You will never come up with too many practical examples and this indicates that you actually have first hand experience with it!
- Work with a colleague on a workshop! A pair (or more) of eyes guarantees better observations about your audience’s reactions!
- Spend a systematic time reviewing every day, perhaps up to revising the programme entirely!
- The selection of your participants matters hugely! Try and get to know (about) them beforehand or get a clear participants’ profile before the workshop to know how to adapt your programme to their profile: you don’t design similar events for policy-makers as for technical engineers!
More to come in a future post. Finishing this post from the PPT-rich, communication-poor world water forum in Istanbul is not the best thing to provide more useful ideas 😉