Practical ideas for facilitating workshops & people development

Posts tagged ‘groups’

Making groups hummm

imagesI’m often asked to facilitate committees that are not functioning as well as they would like to be. This is often a result of the group having lost it’s sense of purpose, or common vision and not having clear guidelines to operate within.

When I reflect on the groups and committees I have been involved with over the years one comes to mind as being an exceptional group to work with. What was it about this group that made it exceptional?

  • It had a clear vision and purpose – we all knew what we where aiming for and were all on board with the vision.
  • The plan was produced inclusively and we followed through.
  • We all agreed on “how we will work together” and this framework guided our meetings and how we behaved outside of the meetings. This included simple items like starting and finishing time, reporting in, how we would communicate outside of meetings etc.
  • Roles and responsibilities were agreed upon, clearly understood and most importantly committed to.
  • The outcomes we were aiming for were clear, achievable and measurable.
  • It was fun!! I looked forward to my involvement with the group, we had a laugh at meetings and enjoyed each others company.
  • The group provided me with personal gains – personal skill building and networking.
  • Strong inclusive leadership
  • We celebrated our success – once we had reached our vision we celebrated what we had achieved and wound up the group.

My observations are backed up by research by Ian Plowman (2008) who identified the following as key indicators of a healthy organisation

  • Continual injection of outsiders
  • Social cohesion
  • Interest in individuals and group development
  • Member involvement
  • Youth education and diversity
  • Leadership rotation
  • Open mindedness
  • Internal and external communication

What examples of healthy groups and committee’s do you have? What have you seen work well?

Please email ( or post your comments.

Top tips for running training workshops & facilitated groups

2013-04-04 16.21.18Thanks to the GRDC Extension, Adoption Training and Support Group for their top tips on how to run effective training workshops and facilitated groups. The group met in Canberra last week where we reviewed farmer decision making, personality types, extension, adoption and evaluation.

The top tips are not prioritised – they were developed during a facilitated brainstorming exercise.

Training workshops

  1. Plan the event early
  2. Clear training packages and outcomes
  3. Topical and relevant dealing with current issues
  4. Accommodate different learning styles
  5. Evaluate the process
  6. Follow up after the workshop – ensure learning put into practice
  7. Interactive sessions – not all chalk and talk
  8. Recognise the knowledge in the room and draw this into the discussion
  9. Good presenters / facilitators
  10. Introduce the agenda and stick to it
  11. Practicality,think about – Relative advantage, trialabilty, observabilty, simplicity, compatibility
  12. Good take home resources
  13. Logical progression throughout the workshop
  14. Venue that works

Facilitated groups

  1. Establish the ground rules in an inclusive way
  2. Establish the group – take the time to do this properly and build ownership in the process
  3. Good facilitation skills to engage participants – ownership on driving the agenda of the group
  4. Good process and skill
  5. Group has purpose and expectations
  6. Understand the desired overview and stick to it
  7. Include everyone
  8. Stick to agreed timeframes
  9. Manage  the group and individuals energy
  10. Review and reflect effectively
  11. Evaluate
  12. Good planning
  13. Use a range of methods to accommodate learning styles

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