Tips for facilitators – IV

Maybe you are an experienced trainer or facilitator or maybe you are completely new to the topic. I know it can be a difficult and for some even daunting task to facilitate a workshop or session, but there are ways to make it easier. In this series, I want to share some of my tips for facilitating.

When you facilitate a workshop, you will face unexpected challenges. Some are big, and some are small. It is often difficult to plan for the big challenges as those often come unexpected, but we can plan for the little things that could annoy us or our participants.

Imagine you welcome your participants and ask them to write their names on a piece of tape with a marker so everyone knows each other’s names. Sure, you could try to make those in advance, but sometimes you don’t know the names yet. Unfortunately, many markers will smear, and they end up with black or blue hands (I think I didn’t write about use of colors in facilitation yet, but there is a reason why we should stick to black and blue when writing, but this is for another article). What you can do to prevent this is to ask them to write down their names and then put another layer of tape on top of the tape with the name on it. You can see through the top layer, so the name is still visible.

The second tip has also something to do with tape. Imagine you have a lot of metaplan boards and you want to put something on those walls. The go to methods is using tape. However, if you like a clean design then the visible tape over moderation cards etc. will be a thorn in your side. What you can do instead is to prepare “nubsies” in advance. “Nubsies” is tape which you roll a certain way, so the outside is sticky, and the inside is not. To do this you take the roll of tape and start to roll the tape around your index finger with the side that is not sticky touching your finger and the sticky side is outside. Now, you can roll the tape around your finger for 2-3 times. Then, simply rip of the tape and you can slide it from your finger. When you put it on the backside of what you want to put on a wall or the board, you won’t see the tape.

The last tip is for all of you who are left-handed. I am left-handed, and I know how strenuous it can be to write on a flipchart or moderation card, or to draw something using markers. The problem is that often our hands will wipe over what we just created and therefore we smear the writing/drawing and our hands look dirty (and marker ink can be difficult to remove). With a simple trick, from the time when you started writing, we can alleviate this problem. Just take a sheet of paper or a moderation card and use it as a blotting paper. You place it beneath your left hand and just move it along as you write or draw. Sure, it slows you down a bit, but on the upside, we have clean hands and a clean writing on the board.

What are your tips? Let me know in the comments =)


Take care, Stephan


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