The Art of Facilitation

The Art of Facilitation

A client asked me to accompany her to her first workshop this morning.  Let me tell, it was difficult to agree to do so since today is Saturday.  Remember that song, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?  Well, that is me!   But I agreed to sit in for a hefty fee because I also wanna have FUNDS…good-bye Stinson Beach hike and picnic! wink 

Although her content was great, I felt that there was room for improvement in her facilitation skills and presentation skills. There are important things that should be paid attention to when we are conducting a training program to maximize a participant's learning experience. When I first began facilitating corporate workshops, I attended a series of classes under The Art of Facilitation umbrella. Following are three of the items the two of us will go over in our retrospection meeting next week:


 As a facilitator, it is your responsibility to be aware of the momentum of your workshop. If you only focus on delivering information and data to your participants, you may find that you are only partially through your content by the end of chances are that by the end of the third, fourth or fifth hour. Pacing your workshop is a very important element.

It may help to look at the momentum like an accordion–some things will need to be expanded while other things will need to be contracted in order to stay within the time constraints of your workshop.  One of the worst things that can happen from a participant's perspective is for them to realize they did not get through everything you promised in your agenda when you run out of time at the workshop's end. A  facilitator must pace the process to ensure they deliver all the material that you promised. 


The process is about the having the ability to take content and transfer it over so that the participants can own it. Some questions that you might find useful when you are designing a workshop are:

  • What activities do you intend to use?
  • How will you debrief those activities?
  • How will you set it up so that participants feel successful?
  • How will you create a positive environment so that participants are eager to open up?
  • How will you get participants to commit to implementing what they just learned?

All of these issues are part of the process of learning and they are an essential piece in designing an effective workshop. 


A facilitator must be aware of the vibration of the entire class.  Think of it  like taking your own pulse on your wrist.  What is the energetic level of the participants at any given moment in the workshop? If they are all engaged in an activity and the energy is high, then you may want to allow that activity go on a bit longer.

It is important to note when there is a high energy level because then learning is taking place because people are engaged.   Conversely, if you sense a lull in the workshop, notice what is going on. How can you get the energy level back up again? It is important that a facilitator  gauge the energy of the participants and adjust as needed, rather than focusing just on getting though all the content. 


So next time you plan to conduct a workshop, be sure to consider  momentum, process and vibration.


About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. As someone who has attended many conferences and seminars, I have to say you are exactly right about what facilitators need to be concerned about. Also as a former classroom teacher and now a homeschooling mom, I have to say these ideas are also relevant as well. Nothing is worse than standing in front of a group of students and knowing they are bored or that I am nowhere near completing what material I wanted to cover. Thanks for sharing.

  2. These three concepts are critical to effective workshopping! I can’t pick out which is more valuable. I begin to realize that all three are needed for success, whether in a workshop or a classroom. The pacing ensures the customer/student gets the content you’ve promised; transfer ensures the content will be usable; and engagement/energy of participants feeds right back into how much they are learning. Thank you for a helpful post.
    Beth Camp recently posted…Of Elephants and MorningMy Profile

  3. This was very helpful since I am a professional writer.

  4. Great tips for your client and definitely important to remember for those delivering information. It is about so much more! I attend a lot of conferences and I am definitely paying more attention if they are adding some humor, emotion or activities. In fact the activities often have me starting off rolling my eyes but at the end we all have fun!
    Theresa Wilkins recently posted…Working From Home Online – How to Use Elance in 6 StepsMy Profile

  5. Hi Admin,

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post. I really enjoy reading it and i will definitely bookmark your site so I can easily come back next time. More power to your blog!


  6. Thanks Rachel!

    You shared what appears to b a very simple although extremely practical process, for not only energizing your audience, but no matter which specific learning format that you choose to deliver your content in.

    Your three essential processes, will ensure that your delivery is effective! Thanks!

    I had ever heard it explained in this particular manor before.
    Mark recently posted…So What Do Adult Elephants And Your Personal Development Have In Common?My Profile

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