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Tips for Workshop Facilitation


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Some thoughts on how to be a successful workshop facilitator

Published in: Design

Tips for Workshop Facilitation

  1. 1. Tips for Workshop Facilitation Dr. Jennifer Cham Lead User Experience Architect EMBL-EBI
  2. 2. Who is Jenny Cham? Lead User Experience Architect; founded the UX design capability at EMBL-EBI (2009) Plan & deliver “Gamestorming” style workshops, design studios, focus groups, brainstorming & graphic recording Coauthor: Ten Simple Rules for Running Interactive Workshops. PLoS Computational Biology, 2014
  3. 3. Example layout for a workshop with moderators & team facilitators
  4. 4. Facilitation process – a lens on the discussion Taken from Nick Skinner’s Facilitation Tips Presentation (Poppyfish People Development)
  5. 5. Defining group facilitation “Group facilitation is a process in which a person whose selection is acceptable to all members of the group, who is substantively neutral, and who has no substantive decision- making authority, diagnoses and intervenes to help a group improve how it identifies and solves problems and makes decisions, to increase the group’s effectiveness” Roger Schwarz, author of ‘The Skilled Facilitator’
  6. 6. Effective facilitators Give clear instruction of objectives, rules and materials – what is expected? Set & keep time boundaries Check the team understands the brief - “Is everyone clear about the task?” Reaffirm what the task is and what is expected Ask questions for clarity of outcome. Promote discussion Involve everyone
  7. 7. Effective groups Use specific examples Agree what important words mean Share all relevant information Explain reasoning Discuss difficult issues Focus on interests, not positions Jointly design next steps
  8. 8. Facilitators don’t have all the answers! Ricochet to the group “what do other people think about that?” Reflect to an individual “you asked the question, what do you think?” Deflect (with care to help move the discussion on) “I think the question you should be thinking about is…”
  9. 9. Facilitators do have great kit Decent stationery is essential Suitable spaces for group work Natural light Healthy snacks Good logistics support Use approaches & kit flexibly
  10. 10. SOURCES Ten Simple Rules for Running Interactive Workshops. PLoS Computational Biology, 2014 Material adapted from Nick Skinner’s facilitation tips presentation (Poppyfish people development) The Skilled Facilitator: A Comprehensive Resource for Consultants, Facilitators, Managers, Trainers and Coaches By Roger Schwarz Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers By Gray, Brown, Macanufo
  11. 11. FURTHER INFORMATION UX in science blogs Jenny Cham’s blog EBI interfaces blog UX training module at EBI’s train online experience-design Sketchnotes on UX & Science Jenny’s UX in bioinformatics journal papers list Slide share talks on UX & science
  12. 12. QUESTIONS? (Good facilitators always ask if there are any of these!)