Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Posts tagged ‘designing adult learning’

The impact of energy

IMG_6968In the last two weeks I have attended two very contrasting workshops. Both were delivered  by internationally recognised speakers, both with very different energy impacts and outcomes for me, as the participant.

The first was delivered by a motivational keynote speaker. It was high energy and high impact, I left each day with my head buzzing, excited by what I had learned and looking forward to the following day. I even had trouble sleeping at night as the concepts were rolling around in my head keeping me awake. Since leaving the workshop (now nearly two weeks ago) I am still thinking about what I learnt and how I can apply into my work.

I left the second workshop feeling grounded and rather tired. The presenter didn’t provide energy from the front of the room and wasn’t able to extract the energy from the participants either. I’m sorry to say I would be unable to recall some of the main points from this workshop and it was more recent that the first.

There were some similarities between the speakers – both were passionate about their topic, both delivered a similar number of points in the same timeframe, both used stories and both asked us to discuss their key points with the person beside us. A similar workshop framework being used and yet such a different impact on me as the participant.

What did I take away from this experience – it was an important reminder that we learn and remember more when the learning is attached to emotion. Emotion for me is connected to the energy and enthusiasm of the presenter.

I’m not suggesting we should all go over the top and be “cheerleaders”. However we do need to think about our own energy levels and  the impact we are having on our participants. What works for us will not work for everyone.

Experiment with your own energy level at the front of the room, watch and monitor the group reactions.

From now on when I develop my session plans I will include a new column “energy” and determine for each section the energy level I believe is required and how this can be achieved for the group. Varying the energy level throughout the day to maximise learning, I will also include this in my personal workshop review.

I would be interested in your comments about the energy levels of presenters – when does it become exhausting? what is too much or too little? How do you change your energy for groups?




Planning for success

2013-04-11 14.20.35The biggest mistake made with workshops is cramming too much in. If we genuinely want people to develop new skills and knowledge which they can apply after the workshop use the KISS principle. Workshop developers often seem to think they must impart as much knowledge as possible in the shortest time frame possible, agendas are packed so full that by morning tea we have forgotten what was discussed first thing that morning.

When planning workshops I like to use  Bennetts Hierarchy, it provides a useful framework to refer to when you are developing the  agenda. I have simplified and modified Bennetts to make it practical for me.

Outcome – what is the intended outcome of the workshop, what is the big picture we are aiming to achieve? Gaining clarity about your outcome will help you design the right approach. Are you building skills or is your session about creating awareness?

Practice change – what do we want people to do differently as a result of attending our workshop or session. What tangible measurable change do we want them to make.

KASA changes – this is a very important step to consider

a. Knowledge – what knowledge is essential for the outcome and practice change. Lets not overwhelm people with everything we know and try to pump them full of every bit of knowledge on the topic we have collected over a lifetime! The trick is to make it simple to understand and impactful – provide links to extra information for the data hungry person, provide books for people to look at, and keep the information provided simple, easy to understand and apply and useful. What do they really really need to know!

b. Attitudes – this refers to the feelings/attitudes we are generating in the learning journey. What feelings do we want to create – confidence to make the change and meet the outcome, a positive, open approach to learning, a can do attitude?

c. Skills – the hands on doing. What do we want our participants to be able to do as a result of attending our workshop? How competent do we want them be when they leave to implement their learning’s? Remember knowledge doesn’t always lead to practice change where as skills development can.

d. Aspirations – what motivations do we want to instil in our participants. How do we want them to approach the practice change once they leave the workshop?

Activities  – once we have thought through these steps then we can start to think about the best activities to achieve our practice change while keeping the KASA in the front of our minds.

Resources – what resources do we need to complete our workshop activity; this can include our facilitation kit, venue, speakers, funding etc. These are the tangible requirements, which will make the workshop a success.

Now you have determined the knowledge and skills you would like participants to have and the activities to achieve the practice change the next step is to plan the agenda and think about the time frames required.

Tag Cloud