The role of facilitators is to prepare, present and guide the exercises. This means you as a facilitator:
- help participants to find out what they already know (discover tacit knowledge),
- encourage them to continue learning, and
- help them to discover their own potential.
You are responsible for creating an environment in which participants can learn, experiment, research, and grow. This is a process of sharing, give and take between both the participants and the facilitators.
To achieve all this, careful preparation is crucial. It ensures that you feel safer during the workshop or seminar, and also able to dynamically react to the group dynamics and modify the planned activities if necessary.
You and your team
To successfully run a workshop or seminar, there should be at least two facilitators per group (or more if the group is large). That way, you can share the responsibilities and support each other throughout all phases of the process.
Together, your first step is to agree on the objectives you want to carry out, and plan the activities. You have to be aware of your target group(s), your topics, your goals and your methods to achieve them.
Then, we highly recommend to try all planned exercises, and evaluate them. It is very important to know your limits and competences, as well as the opportunities and risks of the planned activities.
To better prepare yourself, try working through these questions together:
- Who belongs to your team?
- What are each team members’ favorite activities or topics?
- What are the competencies of each team member? What do you bring to the table?
- Does everyone know how the activities work? Is everyone able to guide each activity?
- What time, space and other resources do you have to prepare the workshop/seminar? How will you organize things?
- What about diversity on your team? How are different variables like gender, cultural background, social situation represented in your team? How can this affect the planned activities?
- What experiences does each of you have that are relevant to the planned activities and topics of discussion?
- Both before and during the activities, how can you communicate your ideas and approaches to:
- your fellow facilitators?
- your participants?
- Imagine this situation: during an activity, difference of opinions arises between the facilitators. What do you do?
- In general, how can you deal with opinions you don’t agree with during the workshop/seminar?
- How can you deal with discussions of experiences you don’t yourself have?