Identify Your Facilitation Weaknesses in Thirty Questions
My colleague Greg wrote a great piece detailing his five ingredients for effective facilitation, detailing the importance of creating a safe and open environment for your participants to have the best possible learning experience. I’ve written before about how to provide trainings that get “heads nodding.” So we’ve already outlined some of our personal strategies for effective facilitation. So with this piece we wanted to offer a list of questions to ask yourself to ensure that you are maximizing your effectiveness as a facilitator (much like the questions we set forth to allow you to reflect on any potential weaknesses in your training).
To ensure you are being as effective as possible as a facilitator, ask yourself:
- Have I prepared a well thought-out agenda, taking into consideration the audience I will be facilitating to?
- Have I thought about any outside books, websites, TED talks, or other resources that might support the content on which I am speaking that I can offer to the participants?
- Is my agenda scaffolded with activities that start “easy” and increase in their risk-taking, vulnerability, or challenge level?
- Is my agenda multi-sensory, with a combination of group and individual work, physical and thoughtful activities, oral and visual, etc.?
- Have I timed out my agenda so that it fills up the time allotted?
- Do I have “extra” activities on the agenda in case I get through everything faster than anticipated?
- Have I done a few “run-throughs” of my agenda so that I am comfortable enough with the content that I don’t need to be glued to my notes or PowerPoint?
- Have I created a visual presentation to support the agenda, but that doesn’t replace me as the main provider of content? Do I need a visual presentation at all?
- What props or accessories do I need to make the presentation more dynamic?
- What supplies or handouts do I need? Have I made ample copies of anything I am distributing?
- Am I making sure the participants will walk away with something tangible that they can put into use immediately?
- Do I know where I am going and how the room will be set up?
- Have I allowed plenty of time prior to the start of the presentation to find the room, set out any supplies, check the cord/technology/screen situation, etc.?
- Do I have music playing to set the “mood” for the training?
- Do I have a sign-up sheet to get participants’ emails so that I can follow up with them after the training?
- Have I written out an agenda, or will I talk the participants through what they can expect for the day?
- If I have control over the room/space situation, have I remembered snacks or refreshments that might make the participants more comfortable?
- Are there notepads and pens for the participants?
- If it is a large room, have I thought about how I can move around so that everyone can see and hear me?
- Am I greeting people as they arrive?
- Am I projecting loudly enough?
- Did I remember to start by introducing myself and where I’m from, and have I figured out a way for the participants to introduce themselves.
- Have I set the expectations for the session clearly?
- Am I paying attention to signals from the participants that they might need to move on to the next activity, might need a break, might need clarification?
- Am I stopping to ask questions, and am I allowing space for answers?
- Am I checking for understanding?
- Did I leave time at the end of the presentation for questions and clarifications?
- Did I make sure to have some sort of formal “closing,” so that the presentation doesn’t just fade out when time is up?
- Am I at the door saying goodbye to people as they leave?
- Did I remember to email participants in a timely fashion, re-capping what took place during the presentation, and offering any additional information or resources that came up during the course of the presentation?
What else would you add to this list? What questions help ensure that you are being as effective a facilitator as possible? What part or parts of the list do you struggle with? Share all of that will us in the comments section below—it will give us a chance to celebrate your successes and help you work through any problems you might have.