How to Develop Your Meeting and Workshop Facilitation Skills | The Big Bang Partnership

How to Develop Your Meeting and Workshop Facilitation Skills

Become the Best Facilitator You Can Be in 2020

Developing Your Facilitation Skills

Do you facilitate meetings, workshops or sprints in your organisation?  Or are you working as a consultant or in an agency where you need to run workshop sessions with clients?

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Photo: Dr. Jo North

If so, it’s essential to always be developing your creative facilitation skills and tuning into new ideas, methods and processes that are continuously evolving. By learning more about your art of facilitation, you will stay inspired, become even more confident, expand your repertoire of tools and even learn some time-savers on the way.

If you facilitate sessions but have never had any structured or formal professional training, investing in yourself to develop your creative facilitation skills can be a fantastic confidence boost and take your skills to the next level, even if you’re already super-confident.

Likewise, if you’ve been trained in a specific method, such as Design Thinking or Innovation Sprints, having some deeper and more holistic facilitation skills training will definitely add value to your practice.

Photo: Delegates in session at my Idea Time: The Live Experience! business growth event in Harrogate

Creative Facilitation Training

I love leading Creative Facilitation Skills training, both as an open programme, available for facilitators in different organisations, and inhouse working with teams of a single organisation.

I have some open Creative Facilitation Skills training dates coming up in 2020. These are:

Friday 15th May at Weetwood Hall in Leeds BOOK HERE

Thursday 2nd July  at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead BOOK HERE

London dates are coming soon too! EMAIL ME WITH LONDON DATES

Places are limited – I  keep the numbers low to make sure that everyone has a highly personalised and positively transformational experience on the day. I thought I’d share here what you can expect and a  taster of some of the tools, tips and techniques that you will experience on the course. You can use these for your own facilitation practice rightaway.

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Photo: Delegates in session at my Idea Time: The Live Experience! business growth event in Harrogate

Taking Stock

When was the last time that you stepped back and really took stock of where you’re at with your facilitation skills?  Thinking about your strengths, things you find challenging, repertoire of tools and techniques, the sorts of sessions you run and the nature of the feedback you get is an essential part of your professional development as a facilitator.

If you want to be the best facilitator that you can be, it’s not enough to review the ‘happy’ forms at the end of an event, do some quick learnings, pat yourself on the back either for a great job or simply for getting through it and moving on. I strongly believe it’s ultra-important to be much more intentional and strategic about your personal facilitation brand, skills and performance than that.

I ask every delegate who attends my Creative Facilitation Skills programme to do a piece of pre-work which takes about 20 minutes maximum. This pre-work is a short online questionnaire designed to get you thinking about what you want to achieve from the training, and to help me to shape the day to meet your individual needs and aspirations.

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Photo: Delegates in session at my Idea Time: The Live Experience! business growth event in Harrogate

Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself now.

Some great questions to ask yourself about your facilitation approach and skills:

  • How would you describe your personal facilitation brand?
  • What are your ‘go-to’ facilitation tools and techniques?
  • What methodologies does your facilitation draw from? (e.g. Design Thinking, Innovation Sprints, Agile, Creative Problem Solving amongst others).
  • Do you facilitate internal events, external events or both?
  • What are your facilitation superpowers?
  • What is your facilitation kryponite?
  • If you could learn anything, or solve any facilitation challenge, what woud that be and why?

I’m always really happy to help you with your facilitation questions and development, so you’re very welcome to contact me for a free chat when you’ve completed the questions.  I will be able to share some resources and tips with you to help specifically with your personal goals. Email me at jo@bigbangpartnership.co.uk and we will book in a call.

Email Jo now

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Photo: Delegates in session at my Idea Time: The Live Experience! business growth event in Harrogate

The Idea Time Creative Facilitation Community

We will speak beforehand for sure if you book onto a programme, and you’ll also be invited to join a private Facebook Group. This is open only to people like you who are doing or have done one of my Creative Facilitation Skills programmes. The Facebook Group is there as a great place to share ideas amongst a safe and mutually supportive, intimate community of facilitators. It’s also a fantastic way of getting to know the other people who are coming along to the event beforehand, and I am in the group a few times every week to cheer you on and answer any questions you may have.

Creative Facilitation Skills Training in Action

Once you’re at the Creative Facilitation Training Skills programme in person, you’ll quickly see that you’re going to have a great day. Any nerves that you may have will quickly vanish, I promise! From the outset I make sure to create a safe, enjoyable, supportive and highly productive learning environment for everyone.

Diversity in all its forms – from thinking styles, level of experience, industry backgrounds, gender, socio-demographics and much more – can be a magical ingredient in workshops and learning sessions – and I absolutely love seeing very different people with different ideas collaborate and help each other. So don’t worry – everyone there will have a shared passion for facilitation and learning. You share that passion, too, so you will make a very valuable contribution to the day, regardless or your background or level of expertise.

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Photo: Delegates in session at my Idea Time: The Live Experience! business growth event in Harrogate

Creative Facilitation Skills Training Agenda

I’ve designed the content of the Creative Facilitation Skills training so that it is:

  • Packed with science-based insights, tools and techniques
  • Delivered in highly engaging, interactive way
  • Full of opportunities for you to practise different facilitation activities and ‘play’with approaches that are new to you

Together, we will work on these themes and much more: 

  • Your role as facilitator
  • Understanding innovation – from ideas to commercialisation
  • Co-creation and your role as the innovation facilitator
  • Key success factors in designing and facilitating co-creation events
  • Achieving optimal contributions from co-creation delegates – both individually and in a group context
  • Dealing with ‘challenging’ delegates and ‘sensitive’ topics
  • Developing your own authentic ‘signature’ facilitation style

You will have the opportunity to put their learning into practice and do some hands-on facilitation in the afternoon session.

Plus you will get my facilitation guide and toolkit of over 70 techniques to take away. This is only available for people who attend my programmes.

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Tips You Can Use Now

Some things you can do now to help with your facilitation are:

  1. Download my free Creative Facilitation Checklist and use it as a time-saver and organisation tool to help you get the brief nailed and everything set for your event.
  2. If you haven’t already, get all your facilitation tools into one place. I’ve created my own facilitation technique library as a Powerpoint document in Dropbox, and I suggest you do the same. Review what you’ve been using – do you overdo any favourites, are there any gaps that you’d like to strengthen, for instance some fresh energisers, ice breakers or action planning activities? Have a look at my free DIY Away Day Toolkit for an agenda and activities for a full day workshop, as there will probably be some things in there that you’ve not used before.
  3. Work on your personal facilitation brand. What do you want you clients and delegates to say about you when they describe you, your facilitation and the experience that you create to other people? Write this out, or create a visual perhaps with Pinterest, drawings or cuttings from old magazines and put it somewhere where you can see it. Refer to it when you’re designing your sessions, and remind yourself of it as key points throughout the event.
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  • Resolve to turn aspects that you feel lesss confident about into a strength. Write down anything that you don’t feel confident about. Now ask ask yourself what you would do if you were 80-100% confident. Then resolve to actually resolve to do that, and prepare for it! This is a fantastic way of expanding your comfort zone.
  • Get in touch with me – as I’ve said before, I’d love to hear from you and often a quick conversation with me can unlock things for you. My email for booking your call is jo@bigbangpartnership.co.uk
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Come and Join Me

It would be awesome to work with you at one of my Creative Facilitation Trainings in 2020. Just as a reminder, here are those dates and locations again:

Friday 15th May at Weetwood Hall in Leeds BOOK HERE

Thursday 2nd July  at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead BOOK HERE

London dates are coming soon too! EMAIL ME WITH LONDON DATES

Happy Facilitators

Just a few of the comments from previous delegates are:

  • “Thoroughly enjoyed the session, lots of food for thought and good levels of interaction.”
  • “Clear fun, learnt fab techniques to engage the business.”
  • “Really good fun. I feel loads more confident to facilitate now.”
  • “As a result of the workshop, I have learned about changing and adapting sessions based on observing and responding to participants.”
  • “Now I’m going to think “engage, take breaks in facilitated sessions, and put people at ease.”
  • “Today has shown me to look to be adaptable in workshop sessions. I will structure workshops using 4 stages (clarify, ideate etc).”

Take Action

If you can’t make these dates, or would prefer other options to being there in person, why not have a look at joining my Idea Time Academy online for facilitators?

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My Idea Time Academy helps you to you to design workshops and sessions that will make the most difference to your projects,  and get your team or stakeholder network on board so that you can get results – efficiently, creatively and effectively. It is packed with online training, videos and resources that you can access as and when you need them to build your facilitation skills, save you time and keep your sessions fresh and innovative.

I’d love to work with you to take your creative facilitation success to the next level and beyond. If you’d like to have a chat in person, please do get in touch with me at jo@bigbangpartnership.co.uk. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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