Four Resources You Should Be Using
Each of these resources saves me tons of time and helps enhance my meeting or workshop design and facilitation.
Approximate reading time: three to four minutes; 552 words.
Facilitation workshop participants always ask me about the resources I find helpful in my meeting and workshop design and facilitation. While I’ve reviewed several books here, I haven’t highlighted some of the tools I regularly use. Here are four.
Social Tables by Cvent (requires free registration)
This free event planning platform saves me hours in drafting room layouts that I can use with clients and facility staff to make sure the meeting or workshop environment meets my needs. The image above took only a few minutes to create for an upcoming workshop I’ll lead. You can pull actual room diagrams (as I did from the hotel for my session) for more than 1000 properties.
While the site may seem intimidating at first, it is incredibly intuitive. Approach it with a “playing in a sandbox” mentality and just start trying things out. Soon you’ll quickly be adding crescent tables, AV equipment, and food and beverage stations into a draft layout.
You can get into the details and specify quite a few dimensions for various room elements. While meeting standards exist for about every choice you might make, don’t worry if you don’t know them. Whatever layout you draft in Social Space will have more precision than any specs you might communicate in a text document. Use your layout as a starting point for discussion and refinement.
Stanford dSchool Design Thinking Bootleg
The dSchool Bootleg contains dozens of tools and activities connected to one of the five modes of design thinking: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, or test.
The modes and corresponding activities are effective for anything that needs designing: strategies, products or services, communications, organizational culture, awards and recognition … or, wait for it … meetings, workshops, and other learning experiences.
I often use one or more of the Bootleg exercises on my own to stimulate my thinking about a session. I also use them with any individuals or committees who are helping with a session design, as well as with design efforts of groups I’m facilitating.
The Bootleg comes in a card deck format in a free downloadable PDF that you can use digitally or print out.
Methods Library • International Association of Facilitators
IAF is the primary professional association for all things facilitation, and its Methods Library is one of the best resources it offers. Hundreds of methods are available, and each is tagged to make it easier for you to find the ones most relevant to your needs. Some are restricted to members only.
A method typically outlines its goal, length of time required, number of participants for which it is appropriate, and instructions for using the method or conducting the activity. Support materials like a graphic, worksheet, or slide often also are included.
Grove Visual Planning Templates
These affordable professional designed templates are available in a variety of sizes ranging from individual worksheets to huge wall-sized posters. Each helps provide a more visual means to guide discussions and capture information from them.
Template topics include:
Industry Structure Map
Cover Story Vision (one of my faves)
Grove offers lots of other great facilitation resources (I love their markers), so I encourage you to browse their site.
Here is a two-minute video demo of how to use the Context Map.
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