Facilitating an event or a workshop is a huge task and an important role to take. If chosen as a facilitator for a particular group activity or organizational event, realize that you have the potential to carry out the function because the management sees your abilities and skills in facilitation. So, given the facilitation skills you have and your knowledge in facilitating an activity, your main responsibility starts from planning and preparation of the workshop or any kind of group session assigned for you to facilitate on.
It is during the planning and preparation stage that your organizational skills and knack for directing an event will be utilized. Successful organizational activities and programs are rooted from an effective and solid preparation. As a facilitator, you need first to understand the group’s desired output of the activity and the common objectives of the team as well as the framework and perspective of the workshop or program. This way, it will be easy for you to achieve an effective facilitation of the event.
In the entire structure of a program, planning is the most time-consuming and probably the hardest aspect. So the facilitator may need the expert contributions and work hand in hand with fellow colleagues and organizers of the activity.
Setting the Goals
Establishing goals for the event is critical in its success. The objectives should satisfy the purpose of the program and the reason for attendance. Any program, activity, or organizational even should have a set of clear, defined, realistic, and measurable goals to be accomplished by the end of the process.
In defining the objectives, avoid a goal that is vague and indirect such as educating the participants because it is hard to measure whether or not you have really educate them. A goal should be targeted on making action plans, decision-bound, and building an organization. So, to be particular about it, use terms like “develop”, “enhance”, “build”, “accomplish”, “implement”, and “plan.” These terms call for a more specific action for the group to do during the course of the program.
Structuring the Course of the Program
Developing the structure of the group process is a huge aspect and something that makes use of the facilitator’s creativity. Experienced facilitators are able to combine and apply various ways and strategies in designing a program scheme from the many facilitation tasks they have gone through. There are many factors to consider but the major element to think first is the structure itself. Would you want an organized process or an open discussion? To help you arrive at a decision, you also might want to consider other factors such as the number of attendees, the subject matter, the background of the participants, and the time allotted for the event.
Most facilitators use tools and techniques in developing the program structure. These may be in the form of brainstorming, role playing, informal debate, and other facilitator’s techniques. In one program, you may employ one or more useful tools during the program course for variation.
Planning a Realistic Agenda
This aspect of the preparation involves the physical arrangement and task delegation for the program committee. The facilitator and the event organizers must consider the venue of the program, the preparation and setting up of facilities and visual materials, and especially setting the ground rules of the agenda.
In choosing a venue for the program, it must be accessible and comfortable for the participants and there should be adequate facilities. For a large number of attendees, maybe the use of microphone will work better. Proper choice of visual aids will reinforce the effectiveness of the activity. For a more organized process, you may need to assign different roles for your organizers. You may need a note-taker, timekeeper, presenter, or a tone-setter, unless you can do all of these tasks by yourself.
The final phase in the preparation stage is planning how to guide and control the whole program or activity. This basically entails establishing the ground rules, running through the objectives, outlining the flow or delivery of the process, getting involved in the activity, and doing the closure.
Needless to say, after the whole preparation has been ironed out, most of the work is over. If you compare it to a theatrical production, the most time-consuming part is the rehearsal and not the actual performance. Once everything is set, the rest is just putting it into application.