Facilitation Technique


A – Ask

I – Interaction

D- Discussion

E – Evaluation

D -Decision 

I’m often asked about how to prep for workshops, requirement refinement, meetings, retrospectives etc.

No matter what type of facilitation you do, preparation is the key. And the best preparation is to come up with a vision for the workshop. I have a simple 5 step model for preparation, I call it AIDED. The model is about preparation it’s not about how to run the workshop. Good workshops run themselves but great workshop need to be properly prep-ed.

The model ensures that as a facilitator you are prepared and have visualised the results. No big deal if it doesn’t work out as planned but you can get the ball rolling and keep it moving if things get stuck. It’s also about the journey to becoming a fantastic facilitator. There are a number layers to AIDED that you need to build-on with experience.

So when you are dropped in it and asked to facilitate, we have the model to calm the nerves and get working on it.

A, Ask, the questions to ask

I, Interaction the type of interaction that you looking for in each question

D, Discussion what type of discussion format that you are looking for?

E, Evaluation what type of evaluation are you expecting>

D, The decision or outcome that you are looking for?

Ask, is a list of question that you can ask at the workshop.  Later, I discuss how to formulate really good questions, there’s actually a bit of an art to this. Initially you’ll probably need about 5 or six questions. Not sure where to start, ask the attendees or other stakeholder what questions they want explored or answered. Even if you know this already it’s a great idea to ask participants directly again. This includes them and perhaps gives them ownership in the workshop outcome.

Interaction, how do you want the interaction to go? There is a vast number of possible ways that you want the interaction to go. You need to pick the way that works for the question, the audience and what you the facilitator can control. Brainstorm, go round, smaller groups, fish bowl, shout out, white board, Pair Share. We have plenty more to explore and learn.

Discussion or sometimes I say delivery. How do we create a forum to get to the bottom of the topic. This is a follow-on to the interaction above, you’re handing it over to the floor to work through it. Again the range of techniques here is vast.  You may need to try a few from the tried and trusted cause-effect diagrams, affinity or more sophisticated Liberating Structures.

Evaluation, the facilitator needs to ensure that the attended have worked through an evolution of the items discussed. What are the options, how do they compare, this can be contentious. However as a facilitator you’ve got them working through it.

Decision, we have wasted our time if we don’t get to a decision. As a facilitator you should have prepared for the decision and mobilised the authority to make the decision in the room. This is the learning outcome that I’m so keen on.

There are many layers to facilitation,  AIDED can help you build a roadmap to really get it right. I’ll post a few more expansions of this in the coming weeks.