Give Instructions As a Facilitator

If you want the participants in the group you are facilitating to do a task, give one instruction at a time and know when to stop talking. It is easy to confuse participants in a meeting or workshop by giving muddled instructions. By giving one instruction at a time you help participants to succeed in doing what is asked of them.


  1. Get the attention of the group. Make sure they are quiet and listening.
  2. In as few words as possible, ask your participants to take the first step of the exercise you want them to do. This might be something like:"find someone in the room you have not worked with before and sit down with that person".
  3. When the have completed the previous task (in this example, finding a new partner to work with), make sure you have the attention of the group again.
  4. Give the next instruction as succinctly as possible. It might be something like: "The first person should tell your partner what you want to achieve in this session today - then swap and let the second person say what they want to achieve in the session today." Let them know how long they have to discuss (perhaps 3 minutes).
  5. Stop the group in any way that works. You might want to say: "If you can hear my voice, clap once. If you can hear my voice, clap twice. If you can hear my voice, clap three times." This will stop people talking without you raising your voice.


  • Make sure you keep quiet after the pairs have started to work together. It is very distracting if the facilitator gives more instructions after the pairs have started working together.
  • By giving one instruction at a time and encouraging the group to act on that instruction, there will be less confusion than giving all the instructions at once.