Improve Your Facilitation Skills

When facilitating a workshop we need to be able to juggle several roles. If you find that you're coming unstuck with this, go back to the definition of facilitation. Remember, facilitation is partly the process of getting answers. Answers which will help people learn, make change, make decisions and set goals.To be a good facilitator, you should aim to be good at asking questions and NOT providing answers. Always be aware of how often you're talking and how often you're listening. Facilitators also encourage communication to build understanding and enable people to learn from each other.The 'golden rules' below reflect both approaches, combined with lessons.


  1. Involve people. Design and revise the process to ensure everyone has the opportunity for input. Use the 'Air, Pair and Share' approach. Air - you air the question. Pair - ask participants to discuss in pairs.mmhare - get participants to discuss this with the rest of the group. This virtually guarantees full participation in the workshop, by giving everyone the chance to have their say.
  2. Work with the people. The people there are usually the right people. Set the scene to enable people to be relatively comfortable in working with you and with each other. Find out people's expectations - preferably before the workshop via an online survey, or at the start of the workshop as part of the warm up process. This can also assist in keeping them focused throughout the workshop.
  3. Be flexible.Your plan may not always work. Even with the most thorough planning, it's rare for a workshop to go completely to plan. Be ready for changes required by participants. Be flexible enough to change the process if required. Regularly check in with the group if they are ready to move on. Revisit the workshop purpose and outcomes to make sure that you're on track.
  4. Focus.Your role is also to keep the process moving. Check that people are answering the questions being asked. If not, find out why. Give them space where needed and encouragement where needed. Be aware of when its just time to move on - if needed you can revisit sticking points later. Document the answers.


  • Have a 'workshop buddy' come along to observe you in action and provide feedback
  • Seek feedback after the workshop from either the sponsor/client or participants

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