Although there are a number of strategies used by facilitators to ensure their
workshops are successful, here are the top five practices for facilitating a live workshop or online seminar:
- View yourself as a servant to the needs of your participants.
The purpose of having a workshop is for your participants to learn new information so that it can enhance their life in some way. Keep this purpose in mind as you facilitate your workshops.
- Make your participants the center of attention.
Again, it’s all about their learning so make sure to include plenty of interactivity through exercises and discussions which promote learning.
- Listen intently to understand what is being said by your participants.
This will provide clues as to whether they are truly learning. You may need to approach the subject or exercise in another way for them to get it. This information can also provide great feedback for future workshops.
- Ensure participants feel ownership for what has been learned.
Even though the facilitator is providing information and setting up activities and
discussions, participants are still responsible for their own learning. This means that they need to participate in the exercises and ask questions if they need clarification. It also means to celebrate when they have learned something new.
- Stay flexible and ready to change directions if necessary. At times participants may take you to a place you weren’t expecting to go because it’s not on the agenda. You can’t shut that down; instead you have to be able adjust your agenda on the fly.
Remember workshops are about the participants and their learning; it is not about you and your content. So for successful workshops, keep these best practices in mind!