Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development


Feedback – it’s something we all like to have so we can improve .. even though sometimes we might not like what we hear!

Good constructive feedback helps us grow and learn, develop our skills and become better at what we do. Without it we may tend to keep doing what we have always done because it works for us.

I like to evaluate every workshop using several techniques if possible. These might include

  • Finishing off the day with an ORID – this is asking an Objective, Reflective, Interpretive and Decisional question of the group, it aims to captures the facts, feelings, key messages and changes.
  • If there isn’t time for an ORID …as a minimum asking for a closing comment from everyone
  • Evaluation forms
  • On-line surveys
  • Discussion with a co-facilitator or trusted colleague  (who you know will be honest!) What worked well? What could be done differently?
  • Contact a participant or two after the event and check in with them. Plan a few questions rather than having a general conversation. I like to know what they have implemented or changed since attending the workshop.
  • A self evaluation – if we are really honest with ourselves we know when things have gone well or could have been better – I like to think this through and make some notes in my journal to refer back to. Remember can be our own worst critic so don’t be too hard on yourself!

I’d really like to hear from all of you about feedback ..

  • What is the best way to get the feedback?
  • Are you really honest on evaluation forms?
  • Is it better to reflect and then provide feedback via an online survey later?
  • Will you complete a survey after you have left the workshop or is this too late?
  • What is the best way for a facilitator to receive honest feedback from you?

Finally as Ken Solly told us at an Adaptive Management workshop last week – “Milk every mistake for all it’s worth.”

Looking forward to hearing some thoughts …..

Comments on: "Feedback" (2)

  1. I was talking to my son’s teacher on Friday about how hard kids are on themselves when they don’t perform as well as they’d like. He told me that he tells the children that if they’re not making mistakes, they’re not trying hard enough… because we tend to learn more through our mistakes than our successes, and making mistakes are often a reflection of stretching our capabilities and comfort zone. I’m pretty hard on myself too, so I’m going to keep these words of wisdom close and try to remember them often.

    In terms of feedback forms – I’ve gotten more honest as I’ve grown older – and less worried about anonymity. I hate it when people give me feedback that’s all ‘yeah, great’, when I know there is room for improvement, so I really appreciate criticism, as long as it is constructive and not just whinging. If people give me generic and undeserved praise, it makes it harder for me to assess what I can do to be better.

  2. Wendy Coup said:

    I find giving written feedback at the end of a workshop often very rushed and one of those things that people feel like they just need to do it so they can get on their way home. I prefer to be able to reflect on the workshop after I have had a few days for it all to sink in and I have time to think and aren’t too tired from a full days (or several) of challenging thinking. You do run the risk of loosing your “captive audience” using this method, but maybe the people who do take the trouble to feedback in this case will give more worthwhile feedback.

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