If you’re the workshop facilitator, one of your key jobs is to maintain the energy. Typically, you throw in a few ‘energisers’ i.e. fun games and activities to liven up proceedings. I still do them of course, but the risk is that you become over-reliant on them. One of the challenges I set myself nowadays is how can I manage the energy of a workshop without using any energisers?
Here’s a few things I remind myself
1 It starts with you
Be very conscious of your own energy throughout a session. People will always follow your lead, so if your energy or engagement levels start to flag, so will theirs. If you sense yourself dipping or ‘checking out’, then pick yourself up. As long as you stay energised, then the chances are they will too. Biggest no – no is checking your phone whilst everyone’s working. Never do this. Once you start, they will too.
2 Use the entire meeting space
Typically, in most workshops, people stand at the front, often by the flip chart or the projector. Looking forward all the time can be predictable and draining. Find ways for people to present from different parts of the room. Keep changing the focal point of the session.
3 Reconfigure the room
When you move furniture around, the room feels re-energised. At break / lunch times, think about ways you change the layout of the space. Remove objects you don’t need any more e.g. projectors and screens. Get rid of tables or re-configure them. Take things off the wall and put them elsewhere. New room layouts give people fresh perspectives
4 Modulate the pace
Great energy management is not just about high energy. Nobody can remain in a hyper-active state for the entire session. You need to mix it up. Intersperse short 5 minute bursts of energy with longer periods of reflection. In the afternoon people are naturally more tired. This is when you need to force the pace a bit and keep things shorter and sharper
5 Move people around
The simple act of moving around and working with different people creates its own energy. Try to avoid letting people work in the same teams for the entire day. There are lots of ways to do this (a) keep changing the size and compositions of the groups (b) ask people to go outside of the meeting room / get fresh air for their work sessions (c) when individuals present back, keep everyone standing.
6 Minimise listening
There are times when we need to listen to feedback from various work sessions. This can draining if we do it too often and for too long. Make sure you restrict this (a) shorten the number of times you present back (b) give people tight briefs e.g. 2-3 mins only (c) only get 4-5 groups max to present back (d) ban powerpoint, use flip charts
These are my top tips.
Always stay attuned to the energy of the workshop. If you can manage the energy really well, then great outputs will inevitably follow