Here are some tips for facilitating workshops. Preparation is key!
General Workshop Facilitation Approach
In general, the approach to facilitating any workshop (be it a design sprint, problem mapping, or planning) is:
- Understand the outcomes so you start with the end in mind.
- Create a clear agenda. I like to use a Kanban board for the agenda so we can prioritise/deprioritise topics as we go.
- Frame up the workshop/design sprint by setting the scene and articulating the deliverables/approach and most importantly “why are we here”
- Create a collaborative and safe environment by ensuring everyone understands their role in the workshop/design sprint. You can use techniques like gathering individual thoughts using post-its, then grouping into themes. You can then talk to what we could/couldn’t cover in the workshop.
- Listen to the read. Be able to read energy levels and pivot where necessary. Consider appointing someone as a “Zen Master” who watches out for energy levels and suggests exercises for refreshers and calling breaks. Often, this person is you, as the facilitator.
- Outline any workshop principles and expectations. You could co-create these by creating a workshop charter. Some common examples are “Put your hand up if you have a concern.” or “Put your phones away”.
- Be fully present as a facilitator so you can support the team to get to their outcomes.
Here are some tips to prepare for a workshop:
- Work with stakeholders and the sponsor on co-creating the workshop outcomes.
- Use a meeting facilitator canvas, such as this one by Mike Sutton.
- Prep using the 7 P’s. You can print them out from page 12 of this workbook.