Facilitation Tips

Facilitation tips

Practice self care – make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep and eaten whatever sustains you. Have water with you and take deep full breaths to help keep you energized.

Practice active listening – show that you are present by responding to the comments when appropriate and pay attention to the nonverbal body language. Be mindful of your tone, facial expressions, eye contact, posture and gestures. Stay engaged!

Savor the silence – sometimes silence happens in a group around a topic. Let the silence happen (even when it’s uncomfortable) and know that the participants will break the silence. For the introverts in the room, the silence is the time when they can process they are feeling and thinking.

Affirm youth – affirm the feelings and ideas of participants to build an atmosphere of trust and value those who have taken an unpopular perspective or have taken risks. If you are an adult co-facilitating with a student, be sure to allow the student to take the lead.

Stay connected- Be sure to make eye contact with all of the participants in the workshop. Visibility is big for lots of people and they need to know that their presence is felt and appreciated during the workshop.

Honor their identities – Use participant’s preferred names and use the gender pronouns that they request.

Trust the group – Each group has its own intelligence. As the facilitator, it is your role to guide the workshop participants to their own understanding of bullying and their relationship to it. You are the GPS – they will get to their destination even if the signal gets lost!

Set the climate– It is super important that you create a safe space for your participants. It can be hard for many of us to show up to a room with a bunch of strangers and share our thoughts and feelings. Establishing some solid group norms goes a long way in making everyone feel comfortable, welcome and safe. Share these group norms at the beginning of the workshop and ask participants if there are any they would like to add –remember every group is different! 

Again, this is what we have found to be useful as we prepare for workshops.  You might already have your own way of facilitating workshops – that’s great! Our only request is that you remember that these workshops are youth-driven and led and that they are safe spaces for the participants.


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