Top Ten Tips: Facilitation Skills | Chris Jones | Skillshare

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Top Ten Tips: Facilitation Skills

teacher avatar Chris Jones, Arty, farty and a tad crafty....

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 14m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Module 1: what is facilitation and preparation

    • 3. Module 2: agendas and introductions

    • 4. Module 3: small talk and clock watching

    • 5. Module 4: flexibility and tips/tools

    • 6. Module 5: holding court and recapping

    • 7. Wrap Up and recap

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About This Class

This course looks to expand on the role of a facilitator, what its about, how to do it - all within top ten tips!  Theres a project, and some examples of items to use like agendas.

So whether you are looking to pick up skills to cover meetings, or full workshops, there's something in here for you

Meet Your Teacher

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Chris Jones

Arty, farty and a tad crafty....


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1. Introduction: Hi, and welcome to this course on facilitation skills. So what I'm looking to cover in this course on what I'm hoping you'll learn by the end of this course is what facilitation skills are and some tips and hints on how to use them. I think firstly, you kind of need to understand that facilitation isn't about having all the answers. It's not about being the font of all knowledge. It's about bringing people with you, drawing it, act of them getting them to do the work. Whilst almost acting like the greatest showman at the front of the class or the front of the room. And it also facilitation, I think, is something that works in different situations like meetings, for example, or workshops. Probably more traditionally in workshops. But that is obviously where you get other people to do the work for you or to work towards the outcome, I should say. But if you think about a meeting, sorts of your chairperson for that meeting is a facilitator. They're not there to dictate the content. They're not there to add the content. They're there to make sure that whatever agenda or timetable is agreed is stuck to. That there are outcomes and actions and that people own them before they leave the door. So facilitation skills really about I always think of them as people skills. Let's put it that way because it's about getting the best out of people. I always think it's akin to coaching. So for me, coaching is very similar because it's coaching has this Aesop ethos that your client or your coachee actually has all the knowledge to almost complete their goal or their task or their aim for what they need is what must that reassurance or somebody to ask all the right questions to bring that out of them. And they think of facilitation, especially around workshops as being the similar thing. Once you've agreed what the main aim of that workshop, Here's what you want potentially the outputs or outcomes to be. And for example, it could be that working with a new team and your aim is to get them to work better together. Then you split them into smaller groups. You start small, you get them to work together. Af group discussions have outputs, whether it's on post-it notes or flip charts or however they do it, they feed back to the way to group. Then that way to group has a bigger discussion. And before you know it, by the end of the day, they actually know each other's names. They know a little bit more about each other. They also know what their aim is as a group. One of my pet peeves at the moment is around forcing icebreakers on people. But I think if you do it well, and if it fits in with the aim or intention of your session, then it makes sense. And it flows as part of the whole agenda. And it doesn't feel like it's been shoe on dead because everybody has to have an icebreaker, so we'll just tick that box. So for instance, something like this. If it is a new team going back to my example, it could be that you think of an icebreaker that, that maybe either ahead of the meeting or the workshop or during the meeting, you actually get them to find out more about each other. Because that fits in nicely with parts of the aim of your workshop. And Fannie Mae, going back to my cooks, I digress. And what you'll find is that I've come up with sort of 10 segments, ten tips Around this course, objective facilitation skills. And I've treated as one big subject rather than look at it as facilitation skills, skills for meetings or workshops. Most of these will actually fit both purposes at least. And then towards the end, I look at how you potentially could bring it altogether. So things like it's okay for people to actually talk during your meeting. So if you've got a little bit of table discussion going on while you're at the front. That's not necessarily a bad thing because you know that relationships are being built. Things like building an agenda, working with the clients, looking at ancient objectives, doing things like an introduction session and icebreaker, pulling it all together right at the very end. So you do need a bit of a recap so that people go away having things reinforced. So if somebody they did at nine o'clock in the morning, at four o'clock in the afternoon, there might have forgotten about, but it's your job as a facilitator to remind them. And so the main aim of this course is over the next, however long, you are actually going to learn a few skills with your project at the very end as well. I'm looking for you to actually put it into practice and show me that and then see how it goes. So let's crack on. 2. Module 1: what is facilitation and preparation: So top 10 tips on facilitation skills. Tip number one. So in this step, we look at what facilitation skills actually are and aren't. So normally, when you briefed around sort of this kind of session where you have a client or somebody who's, who's either book to you or asked you to lead on this particular event or session. In that session could be something like a meeting. And now way you'd use facilitation skills. This is literally to structure that session. So if it's a meeting, It's about you being the chair to buy you pulling together the agenda, making sure there's somebody to take a minute, making sure there's a structure to the agenda that you capture actions, that people own those actions. It's you that pushes it forward. But what it doesn't do is ask you to have all the content. So the idea is that you structure your meeting so that everybody has an input. And that works equally as well for something like a training session or watching a training session, more of a workshop. Let's put it that way. A workshop where there's a two-way conversation around it. It doesn't set you up to be the font of all knowledge. It doesn't set you up to have all the answers. It is a little bit like coaching in effect. You also as a facilitator, needs to have like a toolbox of techniques and tips that you can call on any point. Because you need to be flexible. You may have designed your workshop to the nth degree to the last minute. But that's, as we all know, doesn't necessarily mean that all runs the order. You may have to alter and adapt as you go through. So the more things that you have in your arsenal, the better because you can either lengthened or shortened certain sessions depending on your audience. If you shorten sessions, then that leads you potentially with some dead air. If he got dead head and you need to fill it, and if you have something in capsules of Appeal sleeve already, then it makes life an awful lot easier. And it's your role as a facilitator as well to help shape the day and set the agenda. Whilst you may not actually be potentially writing the authentic add to the audience. You're there to make sure that the content looks like and how it flows works. And that's based on your knowledge and your experience. The other thing as well is when you have your client or when you have your commissioned person, is to set an end goal and aim and objective for that day. So whatever it is and it can be very simple, it can be very complex. It just depends is to make sure that your day is structured so that you reach that end goal. And that everybody goes away with a clear understanding of what they've achieved, what the next steps are. The other thing as well. And I keep going on and excuse me for using the phrase greatest showman. But basically, the idea of you as a facilitator is to be the greatest showman, is to be the face. And again, it comes back to you will be the person who shaves their experience of that workshop session of that meeting. Because if it's a great meeting, it's time to you. If it's a bad meeting, It's down to you. But ultimately it's your performance. And I mean performance in the session that makes or breaks it. Now let's look at what it isn't. Now, there's a whole list of S isn't teaching. So you're not there to impart knowledge. You are not there to teach them from your experience. You're not there to train them from a handbook. You're not there to coach officially. Although as I've said, facilitation is a little bit like coaching. You're not there to mentor because mentoring is imparting your experience. Again, you're having that kind of relationship with these people. You are there to help them find the solution. It's not about you. So A1 know, going back to the greatest showman, you are front and center most of that day and you are pushing things along. This isn't about you. It's, the aim is, for them. The aim is they benefit from whatever they end result is. And it's the same with meetings as it is with workshops. Make sure there isn't dictatorial and isn't show and tell. It's not sort of wacky finger and pointing and all of that stuff. It isn't any of that. It's supposed to be a collaborative tool. Isn't boring. Card site, please make sure it is not boring. Please make it as entertaining and engaging as possible. And I'm not suggesting that you do it through the power of mine or anything like that. That isn't what this is about. What it's about is making sure that those people engage with whatever activities and tasks you do to get to the end result. And again, make sure is an aimless, so it has an end result in mind. So make sure that you almost have signposts by the first morning break. You want to achieve this by lunchtime, you want to achieve this. By afternoon break, you want to achieve this. And then by the time they go home, this is why you get two. And again, that goes back to making sure it isn't unstructured. So having those Aims those signposts, make sure that it's structured and also making sure that there isn't restrictive. So certainly in the spirit of equality and diversity makes sure that it's inclusive for everybody that needs to be included. When you are considering designing your tasks, when you're considering things like icebreakers or introductions, making sure that you know a little bit more about your audience. And that comes back to talking to your client to make sure that everybody is involved. You know that there are people who have any disability or abilities that you need to consider, that culturally your sensitive, that you've taken things into account. And basically everybody participates. So again, as a facilitator, It's down to you. If somebody as an introvert find a way to get them engaged and get their input. And that comes down to you, your tips and tools and techniques again as well. All right, Onto the next one. Okay, so now let's look at tip number two. Tip number 2 is very simple to remember. It's basically prepare, prepare, prepare, believed me in the world of facilitation and similar to training, managing meetings, that kind of thing. You can never be over prepared because you are preparing for the unexpected, for the kind of things that you can't actually timetable or work into your agenda. Things that are going to just crop up, curve balls, all of that kind of thing. So it's one book for me anyway, preparation is one way that you can appear seamless and professional to your attendees and that's what you want. There is nothing worse than, god knows, I've done it more than once. Standing in front of or sitting in front of a group of people and actually not knowing what happens next. Or I've had an instance where I planned out a week's worth of sorts of induction workshops with the same group of people who then completely baffled me by getting through emotional material before lunch, which left me with my lunch hour, desperately searching Google for other activities that I could potentially get them to do. And it makes you feel on professional, even if you manage to kind of chloride back and cover it up, it makes you feel unprofessional. And ultimately your there to make sure that those people who were attending, whether it's a meeting or a workshop, have an enjoyable and interesting time, have an enjoyable and interesting experience, and actually gained something from the time that they spend with you. So one piece of preparation that I'd advise you try and do is get to know a little bit about your attendees. Because you may be experienced in delivering to a certain type or certain group or certain demographic. But as we all know, it's impossible to turn down work these days. And if you are employed as a facilitator, you may be offered work with groups or the kind of people that you wouldn't normally have trained or work with. So what you need to do is try and find out as much as possible. Usually in these situations, somebody will be your main client will be your, your main point of contact. Quiz them, ask them, find out as much as you can. But then also work with your attendees on the day. And be upfront. Don't bluff it, don't BS. Just try and find out from them. So if you suddenly have moved from an office-based team where you're comfortable and you know what you're doing. And you can make assumptions quite happily. Two more frontline staff who might be slightly more hands-on jarasite. You might find that the, what you would do with an office-based team doesn't land well with frontline staff because they are different type of person. They hey, things, they accept things in a different way and they also react to things in a different way. You may have a task with an office-based team that you plan to take for an hour. You've trialed it and it works and it does take them an hour. That's fantastic. With office-based with frontline teams. That might not be the case. And it may be that it doesn't actually float about. It doesn't get them talking, it doesn't get the desired effect and it is done in five minutes. The other thing to bear in mind, it is making sure that you have a variety of content. So again, going back to learning styles, whether, I mean, I know it's contentious issue about whether or not they exist these days. However, It's kind of a fact that people respond to two tasks and training and workshop sessions in a different way. So if you've got a variety of ways of delivery, variety of ways of a waxy coating information out of them. And chances are something is going to help. So whether it's getting up and getting them to discuss the front of flip chart, sending them off on a treasure hunt. Getting them to do some role-play, something will work. So making sure that you have a variety. But again, if something doesn't land, think on your feet and make sure that you have things in your arsenal, things in the background that you can pull out and go, right, okay. That didn't work. They swell and then start working with that. So when I talk about preparation, one thing you can do ahead of time as well is start to build the ASM on that toolbox that you will need to have to use. And to good areas that I always look out because it's not so much the actual content. It, the idea is that they can spark LinkedIn and Pinterest LinkedIn because there are so many good people who share content that you could kind of, I'm not suggesting that you actually take it wholesale. That would be wrong, wouldn't it? What I am saying no, is it might spark an idea. So if it's around coaching, there may be somebody on there who shares a coaching model that you think, oh, yeah, okay, That could work. But I think it would work better with my audience if I did x, y, and zed. And the same with Pinterest. So if you're doing a facilitating the workshop on it, so round, I don't know, business change and simply type in binge business change into Pinterest and see what comes back with, and then work with whatever it comes back with. A minute. I do an awful lot because I find it to be one of those where because it has a sharing tool isn't a Pinterest. It's one of those 90 percent of it you can disregard. But that 10 percent is the gold. That 10 percent is the stuff that you can actually kind of save and work with. And whether that's, you know, templates for agendas, whether it's ITS for icebreakers or whether it's ideas for, for kind of like, I don't know, visual thinking, that kind of thing. You will find some makeup days. But what I would suggest is that you just go to these two, but start building up your own list as well. And see what works for you on the kind of audience you're aiming for. 3. Module 2: agendas and introductions: Okay. So for tip number three, we're going to look at creating an agenda. You can call it a timetable plan of the day, however you wanna call it, I'm going to refer to as an agenda as we go through this this particular tip. So to start with, if you've been asked to facilitate an event of some kind, whether it's a workshop or a meeting, you usually been asked by a person. So I always refer to these people as clients. So whether you're a freelancer or whether it's somebody within your business, however it's coming to you, that person is your contact and to me that your client that person that you should go to for approval for more information. And they are your go-to person. So if you have any doubts about any of your content or the layout of the day or the meeting. Pass them by them first because at least then you have the assurance that you're on the right track. In terms of the agenda, I would always suggest that you start with the end in mind, which basically means find out from them what their aim is. So if we took an example of a workshop, what do they want at the end of that workshop? Whether it's cohesion across a disparate team or a newly formed team. Whether it's sort of potentially say a group of managers who are going to create their own support mechanism. So what is it that, that person who's asked you to do this, I would like to see as the end result and then work back from that. So how do you achieve that? They were going to be key things throughout the day. For example, you're going to have a welcome and introduction piece. You're going to have a couple of breaks. You're going to have lunch. So that gives you some structure to work with in towards your client about things like a start time and an end time. So as you know, are they early risers are used to being at work at eight o'clock in the morning, in which case, could you start that early, give them an earlier finish? Could you start a nine, 10? When is it? Um, work around that. So if it's a ten o'clock start, then, you know, lunch might be say 12. So that gives you two hours in the morning. And potentially, if they're back after an hour after lunch, which is one o'clock, you might have three or four hours in the afternoon. So you have maybe say five hours on average of work time with a couple of breaks in. So how do you carve out and how do you get from a to B? And so again, I keep harping on a biotech and you'll see more about this as we go through different modules as well. But it's about planning in it, about being creative and having those tools and the techniques in your arsenal to be able to make it engaging, make it entertaining, make it worthwhile, so that you do get to that end result. But they've enjoyed the journey, has they get there? So once you've got all of the details you possibly can from your client, then start to plan. So think about things like I said, you know, there's going to be a welcomed is going to be a piece about housekeeping. This going to be maybe an introduction piece around whether or not they're all from a new group, from different companies in the same company. Or even if they are from companies, it could be they're doing something good for the local population. Regardless, planning something so that you can get to know them as much as they can get to know you and each other. And think about the agenda as a way to keep things on track. But a lot of it is for you. So my big tip around here is again, don't put timings on it. If you're going to give it to the participants, just give them an overview, just give them chunks of topics if you like. But don't put 915, we're gonna do this. 930, we're going to do this because if things slip and you have inserted really good quality conversations, you might decide to scrap that a little bit. And suddenly somebody will pipe up and ask you where that bit went because they were looking forward to that. Whereas if you kind of leave it a little bit open-ended, you can kind of move things around and still cover it, but do it in a slightly different way. The other thing about an agenda as well as it gives you a structure to work too, as well as them. So they have an idea of what they're going to cover. However flexible that might be. But for you, it gives you some structure so that you can then break times during lunch or even during group exercises. Actually revisit it and go, okay, well, they're doing really well at this and I'm going to take a little bit longer. So we might debate about little bit. Or I can shorten that piece so that I just kinda cover it in a very conversational way. And I can take out the group task. So there'll be still covered it, but we still hit launch on time and that kind of days that have been inbuilt flexibility there. So an example, agenda, for example, might be, say you've got a nine o'clock start. You're welcome. And your housekeeping bit might be sort of 15 minutes, which gives people enough time to actually find their seats it down, write up their name cards if they need to have a chat to people, have a drink of tea or coffee, whatever. Then you can go into introductions. So if you think about introductions, it could be some form of icebreaker. So if you plan in say, 30 minutes or something like that, it gives people time to enjoy, calm down, maybe grab another drink, and then sit down, ready for you to then go into some of the like task to task 1, sorry, which might be 30 minutes. Task2 might be 30 minutes. And they could be things like group discussions or flipchart exercises or poster exercises and feedback. So that By the time you come to a break, there kind of feeling a bit more warmed up and less reticent about the day and more willing to participate. So my suggestion for the first couple of tasks is make them social. Make them go to their seats, make them a bit energetic. Because otherwise you'll just slump. Break of say 20 minutes, 1520 minutes, then go into Task 3. So I've put Task 3 might be something like 60 minutes or so. And it might be a more in-depth conversation piece with lots of feedback and conversation and a really good meaty sort of get to the bare bones of a why they're there type thing. So plan a little bit longer maybe for that one. But again, it's an example so you don't have to then have lunch. Then go into something like say a big group discussion around us specific topic. And then put in some exercises in there as well. Because again, people like to talk after lunch, so take it easy and ease them into anything. There's going to be a little bit energetic because they've just had lunch. But equally, don't just leave them sitting in their chair while you talk up them. Because the problem that you'll have with that is that they're just not off. Everybody likes an afternoon nap. And then potentially maybe another break. Again, gets them out of their seat to get some to go somewhere to make a drink and bring it back. P could really short break. Then maybe do another task four. But then, and this is the important bit. Do some thinking around bringing it all together. So wrapping it up and bringing that conversation to a close, show them what they've achieved, what they've discussed. Kind of do that, that reiteration of everything that's happened during the day. And then look at things like next steps. And I'd say, you know, so to 2030 minutes with that because it's a chance for them all to kind of say anything they wanted to say before the door opens and they're out and they've gone. And so just kind of hopefully you see from that just how good an agenda can be just to help you structure it. Because again, if you started out at just test1, test2, break, lunch, that kind of thing, you can actually fill in the blanks about what task one is going to be. Because you know what your aim is university. So you're kind of example can be that roof to start with. And then just add in a couple of lines around it because only you really need to know the details because you're the one then that's going to present it to everybody. Your client might want a little bit more detail, but that's up to you, but you don't have to provide too much detail to your actual attendees upfront. So time for tip number 4. Next one's all around introductions. So why did we do introductions? That's simple really. It's to help people get to know each other. And also you and anybody else who may be in the room. It makes the day flow better. If people get to know your name, get to know you actually gel with you a little bit. If you play this right, if it hit home, it can work well even with an established group because don't forget they may know each other but they don't know you, you don't know them. It helps you set the tone for your style of facilitation and helps you gauge whether what you have planned for the day is actually going to hit home or whether you need to tweak it. So a word of advice when it comes to something like introductions, choose carefully, because again, it needs to be sort of inclusive, but it needs to actually be fit for purpose. So personally, I have a few issues around what we read classes, traditional icebreakers. I think some of them can be really quite dusty. And I today and an out of touch. I think if we learned anything from the pandemic period, we've, we've all just lived through that technology is our friend. Technology can be useful, technology can almost be bent to our well and, and fill in some of those gaps that we need and put good old-fashioned just people skills. I think after 15 months of lockdown can be a bit rusty, but I do think that it's first and foremost. The one thing that you should have in your arsenal is being able to talk to people. So with the introductions pays, for example, one thing you could do is as they come in the door one-by-one, just told to them. Introduce yourself, get to know them. You'll forget their name instantly probably, but there'll be ways that you can do that throughout the day. But just put them at their ease because they may be more nervous than you are. And some examples of introduction, things that you can do is simply ask them what they're most looking forward to you from the session or what they're most writing. And most people will say something like role-play. You can play things like people being gap, which is great. And you have a nice list of generic things on a squared piece of paper. And things like who can drive, which were a tattoo, who's got a dog. And the idea is that you get them out of their chair. They each have one of these cards and they have to go and talk to people to find people to tick that box off, right than a mid, the first person that actually fills that scorecard potentially gets a prize. But it's a good way of getting them out of their chair, energized and also get them talking and finding out about each other. You could do something like a simple treasure hunt. They can either be in the room or in the building that you're in. You can do something around certain domain knowing you, which is sort of that shared thing pair people often get them to have a conversation for five-minute, find out about them. You can either give them a list of things that they need to ask or you could have let them come up with around and then feed it back. So it could be Oh, this person is Chris. He's a lot older than you think he is and and he lives in Cheshire. He comes from Wales. He used to live in Manchester. He works here. He's worked there, that kind of thing and then feed it back to the main group. So you've only got a G1 Who got to know each other during a conversation. But the rest of the group actually get to find out about two. Okay, So something you need to think about is reading the room, doing your homework and finding out about the, not just the venue which hopefully you arrived early enough to be able to sustain any way, but also your attendees. So are there any abilities or disabilities you need to take it culturally? Is there anything that you potentially have planned that is not going to London not gonna work. Sorts of what level are they? Heavy pitched at the right level? Do you need to take up a notch, DNA down a notch? Are they more likely to kinda, Professor link, that's, that's interactive. You could ask your client ahead of time. So whoever said the brief for you potentially ask them as well, quiz them, find out, prepares we've mentioned earlier, and find out what you can about your group to make sure that things are land. Because you've planned this day and you probably planned it to the nth degree and you probably brought materials with you to make sure that your tasks work. But if those tasks and appropriate, what do you do? Don't forget people like introverts. I'm a true introvert. I do obviously have a lot to say. You've probably got this far my clothes and found the edge. But if I'm put on the spot in a group setting, I cringe, I die a little inside. It does not land well with me and potentially then puts me off for the rest of the session. You need to be inventive in the way that you do this. And it may be that you do it in smaller groups. So rather than put me on the spot in front of, you know, 50 other people, put me on the spot in front of 500 people and I'm more likely to open up. Also make sure that you take into account things like EDI. And so again, certain sensibilities around equality and diversity and made sure that what you're doing is fit for purpose. And one good game that we have that works well and usually raises a bit of a smile amongst people is what we call the toilet paper game. And I want to cover that off before we leave this section. And basically what you do is you kinda standard the doors, people come in and you have a roll of toilet paper and you give them toilet paper and you say right, okay, This is going to get used at some point during the day. So and can you just kind of take whatever? And some people will take load, some people will take a sheet. And then once you're ready to actually start the game, you literally say to people, right? Okay, so each sheet is one piece of information about you that you're going to have to share with the group. So if you've taken one sheet, you get off lightly. If you've taken 15, you're going to be there awhile. And it teaches people about that whole the unknown versus the known. But it also teaches people about the people in the group. Because if you've got 15 sheets paper and you're going to have to talk about 15 different things by the end of your 15 things we know about you. So it's usually quite fun. But think of things like that. And again, think of your audience on whether or not something like woodland with them. 4. Module 3: small talk and clock watching: Tip five is a really short one. So this is only going to take a couple of minutes. And it's basically encouraged Smalltalk. And yeah, I did actually say that, do you not hearing things? You may notice that energy does depend on the size of the group. But if you've got, say, 20 people in a room and you are facilitating a session with them. You may notice little conversations, little pockets or conversation that breaks out around the room. I would suggest, especially if you're talking around things like making new connections, networking can obtain bonding, that kind of thing that you allow a little bit of this Smalltalk to happen. Especially sort of coming back from breaks and lunches or at the very start of the day. Because it gives people a chance to get to know each other and talk. And you never know there could be questions being asked and answered that you can't or don't know the answer to or or it actually kind of Foster's of that relationship piece which we all need. I think. So for me, those little conversations. Good. But if you can if they'd been set work and they're kind of going off on a tangent, draw them back. So if you hear, and again, to facilitate this too, what are the best ones is being able to hear other people's conversations. And as you could probably say, being nosy, that's always a good one for a facilitator. But if you can pick up a couple of words and new thing with that early good and that conversation might be good to open out to the wider group, actively encourage that. But again, read the room, make sure that you know, that that person doesn't mind speaking different 220 of the people. And if they don't, then just say, oh, that's a 100, really good. Could you kind of share that with the rest of the room when we can open up, we can see what other people feel about that. So you kinda doing that encouragement bet that, that coaching bit. But equally, leave it alone. So if they're having a nice little conversation, so long as you feel that you're not losing them. Don't come down like a school teacher don't go around with a ruler and rapid their knuckles or anything like that. That isn't the way to do it. These adults will treat them like it equally. They need to treat you like an adult and show mutual respect. So if it is getting out of hand, then find a way to deal with it, but do it in an adult way. So a couple of ways to actually deal with the chapter, especially if it potentially is getting out of hand, is obviously at some points during the day, you'll be asking them to go to their chair and sort of move around and do flip chair exercises, etc. But find different ways to break them into groups. So say you've got 10 people and you weren't, I don't know, two groups of five. But what you're finding is one group of five is dominated by somebody who just has conversations. I've got nothing to do with the topic that you're asking them to work on. Which basically means that their feedback and their workload isn't up to scratch. Find ways of mixing them up to put them with the other group next time. So one way I've seen that works for me anyway is, is rather than say rights please self into two groups or five or just naturally do by tables. You can do that for one or two tasks. But after that, I've done is dependent on the number of groups. So if you went three groups of 10 or whatever is to go around and go right, 1, 2, 3. So Chris, you're number one, Susan, you're number two, PT or number three. And then say write all the ones over there, all the twos over there and all the threes over there. This is your task. So it feels quite random because you're literally starting at the front or the back of the room and going 123, you're not picking on anybody. But what you're doing is actually mixing up that demographic a little bit and changing the group dynamics so that somebody feels comfortable enough to have a bear the gossip or wherever. One that might be disturbing or the people certainly is pulled out of that and not with the same people anymore. And another one as well summit that I tend to do if, if I know that the workload is going to be quite heavy, is say to people at the very start as, as part of the welcome the housekeeping base, just say, look, we've got a lot to get through today. So can I ask that we keep, you know, somebody that we keep our focus. And do you know if if you need to take phone calls or you need to do anything, then come and see me and we can kind of work around that. Also. Things that may be adapting your tasks as well. So having a look, so if the first couple end up with a lot of chatter that isn't relevant is find a way then potentially if doing it in a slightly different way. So some big I've done in the past is write-up flip charts. So rather than get each group to go to flip chart and work on something is right, it flip charts with the main piece that you're looking at and you know whether it's issues or solutions or whatever your heading is going to be, and then get them to look at that. And kind of once you've briefed them, they work and they use sticky notes. Um, and just write their thoughts or their responses to it on a sticky note. And they were then go around individually and put things. Absolutely. It's feels less like a group discussion. And it feels like more of an individual task, which sometimes it actually gives you more results because an individual is doing it and you can start seeing trends. So I did it recently with a group where we were looking at what they do because even though they've all got the same job title, they actually all the different types of work. And so we talked about what they do and then what support and training and issues and that kind of thing. So there were lots of topics, but we've got them to do stuff on post-it notes. And then we were able to grams or when it came to training in their role, there was an awful lot around confidence-building and presentation skills. And because we've got nine people in that room, if we'd had a group discussion, we might only have got that one. So we might have had some nodding heads, but because we asked them to do it individually on post-it notes, we could suddenly spot a trend and think, Okay, that's something that needs addressing. So let's do that. But once they've actually done their peace and they've added their post-it notes. You as a facilitator could go around each of those sheets and excuse me, start actually pulling out things. And then why didn't it up to a group discussion? But it stops that chatter on the table and potentially galvanizes them to work a bit more. Now let's move on to tip number 6, which is all around clock watching. So by clock watching, I actually mean so to keeping on track, keeping to time. Clock watching obviously has bad connotations, but you need it in your session. I'm a ton of smacks of wanting to get into the room warranty and everything to end book is more about keeping things on track and making sure that your agenda works and that you cover everything that you want to cover. And if you do have to ditch something, then you're aware of it in advance and that you can make preparations. And if you do have to fill some time that you're aware of it again and that you do have something to use. And it's making sure that you do get through everything and that everybody gets something from this session because that's what it's about. It's not about you, it's about them. Don't forget that. So as I've already said, the reason that you do it is structure. It's about timing, It's about your agenda, and it's about making sure that you keep things to time. Everybody wants to get out on time, if not a little bit early. So again, you want to do that. Everybody wants a break, everybody wants a lunch. Helps your attendees have some faith that they've only get so much out of this day. It helps you decide on your next steps and pull back all or fail if you need to. But all the while making sure that things flow naturally so that everybody kind of doesn't spot any errors. So how you do it, that bit is actually a put to you and your personal preference. Some people use technology and that will use cantons on their phone. They will use alarm clocks on their phone. They will use the good old-fashioned clock on the wall. Some people actually encourage participation from the group. So if you're doing a lot of table discussions and your setting times, then say to people, right, okay, You have 15 minutes to do this starting now. You are in charge of your own time and they will potentially assign somebody on that table to check the 15 minutes. If you're gonna give them five minutes or ten minutes to feed back, make allowances for that, and make sure that you have some way of doing that time, Jack. Because again, if you've got several groups to get through and you're giving them 10 minutes and they're all over running, then it's going to have an impact on your agenda. But it, it's using something that's fit for purpose. So for example, I've done online modules, I've done online workshops where if we've been put into smaller meeting rooms. So it's almost like separate meetings within meetings. And there is a countdown clock that's available with certain programs that you can use as a facilitator, as a workshop manager. And it helps. I found that it helps. So if there is a way of being able to do that in a room, I would potentially use that because suddenly like an alarm clock on your phone could be a bit intrusive. You want something that's a bit circular, I think. But you do have to find somebody who works for you and whether that is some intense for you only so that you then inform the group and the time is up or whether you involve the group in that. Again, that's something you need to discuss. But the ultimate aim of this one simple tape is find something that works for you to manage that time. Because if you've gone to the time and trouble creating a timetable and an agenda, you want to make sure that it works and that you work to that timetable. My other bonus tip here is if you are sharing your agenda with people in advance, unless you feel strictly necessary. Don't put timings on it. My tip here, especially if it's around the workshop, is don't add timings. Don't put 30 minutes or 60 minutes or 45 minutes or whatever here, there or everywhere. Just give them sort of task names if you like. And, you know, rough ideas of windbreaks might be because it allows you as the facilitator then to interchange things, pad things out, you know, expand whatever you need to do. But if you're telling people that it only got 15 minutes to do this, and it ends in ten. How does that make you look to your audience? And similarly, if you're giving them 15 minutes and it's actually that lasts 30. How does that look? It looks like you can't manage a group. So avoid adding numbers to any of this and just give them an overview so that they understand what the day is about. 5. Module 4: flexibility and tips/tools: Right, so tip number 7 is all about flexibility. And this flows nicely from several of the other texts that we've done. So my background's in training. And whenever I'm designing a session, I always try and build in some kind of flexibility because I know what things are like sessions either overrun or under run. So overrunning is the worst one because you feel like you have no see completed everything under an English is sometimes just as bad, but actually can work in your favor because either people can leave early and who knows somebody wants to stay behind if they don't have to. Or you can add content to it. Or you can kind of bring out a discussion a little bit longer by asking questions. And it's a good facilitator will always ask questions. So whenever somebody's doing feedback, if you know that you need to fill in 10 minutes before officially you can. And for Lunch, 10 minutes of you asking questions and then giving you responses is valid time. It's time well spent. But, you know, you're not scrambling around trying to find some link because really all you're doing then is just getting them to expand on what they've already done. The one thing you can't do, however experienced you are, is actually anticipate everything as chances are, you don't know your audience. So you don't know how things are going, how they're going to react to things. And my top tip or ambient flexible is, is knowing your material, knowing your content, and being confident enough to be able to potentially delivery out of sync. So it's not being rigid enough to say, Well, this is my agenda and this is how I'm going to deliver it. It's the case that this is my agenda. Okay. That pic go down here or we can scrap it all together and that bit there because it fits better with the discussion we're having. And it's, it's been able to pull it back on track in a way that seamless to your audience. But also gets you to your end result, gets you to the desired outcome. Again. And I say this a lot during this course is have some leak obviously, just in case. So that as you become more experienced, you will learn different tips and techniques. And then like you said, you know, similar to simple as just being able to ask questions and thinking about some good, open-ended questions that you can bring into the conversation when you're having, say, a feedback session or a group discussion, or even just, uh, uh, uh, 15, 10, 10 or 15 minute conversation with them as a group ahead of a break or head of lunch so that, you know, you bring it back to the time that you went to, but at the same time you kind of have this conversation with him. And if you do need to drop something and they potentially have seen it on the agenda. That's another 510 minutes discussion well-spent by just talking to them about it and saying, Look, this workshop is potentially going to overrun. So to keep things on track, we could lose this particular task to anybody feel passionately about it. Or, you know, what I think is if we lose this task, why can do is send you actually some of the details by email. So you still get the information and you still have a chance to actually do it yourself if you wanted to. Just think of options in that combat to be inflexible. And the way I always think about it is if you think about sort of teachers who teach in schools, they, they get given a curriculum. You have to cover this. And this is similar to say, your agenda or your, your aims and outcomes. But at times how they deliver it means that they have to be quite creative and innovative. And to make it land, to make it engaging, to make sure that students understand it. So again, it comes back to you as a facilitator being creative and innovative and not just knowing your stuff, but knowing when to change an altar and to be flexible. And the other tip around this is June, sort of you're welcome in your introduction bed within that room. So again, you may have 10, 20 people in that room. You may spot sorts of one or two who potentially could be allies, um, and you know that you can call on to kind of help you deliver engaging session. And so I didn't couple of talks. And one of the last ones I did was about the various generations in the workplace. So sort of Generation X, Y, whatever, millennials. And how, how they adapt to things, how they work differently, how as a manager of a certain age, it can be difficult. And the first thing I noticed was a lady sitting in the front row of this this talk with only like 450 people. It was very friendly, who was kind of warm and receptive and laughed in all the right places, which was great because then I was able to kind of almost pitch some of my stuff to her. And then when I ask the audience anything, you know, it was kinda So what do you think? What's your experience? Because you've you've almost built that relationship with somebody that you can then go to and go okay. Work with me on this one. Because the minute I ask you a question and you answer it, or the people who are a little bit less scared to actually ask questions and come forward and help as well. All right, So flexibility, creativity, innovation. All right, okay, so for tip number eight, Let's look at some tips and tricks and tools of the trade. So let's not forget that you, that make things happen. You're there to make this event worthwhile. And as such, to do that, you need to listen to your attendees. You need to listen to your audience. You need to engage with them and find out what makes them tick. And potentially then alter your tasks or your event during that day to make them hit home. My other one is ask questions, ask lots and lots of questions. So potentially if you've, you've set them up like a table discussion and they're feeding back to the rest of the room. Be prepared with some questions. Ask them simple things like, what makes you think that? Why would you say that? How do you think that will land? How do you think that will be received? How do you think people will feel about that? What would you do if that doesn't work out? Those kinds of questions, then probe, but open it out to the table. So if they've nominated somebody with basically it's usually a volunteer anyway, to IC50, back to the group, then work with that table. So open it up to the table and don't just point at the person who's doing the feedback because they've already done their bit. The rest of the table is sitting there quiet. And also a good point from me helps me understand where we're up to is reinforcing what's been said. So you'd say something like So what I'm hearing is and then reiterate what they said and just say Is that right? And my paraphrasing, am I missing anything? Because it helps you them when it comes to the summary at the end of the day because you've understood and you've got them to tell you that you've understood exactly what they've been discussing. A good tool for me that sits in the corner throughout a workshop, for example, possibly not meeting, but maybe more Workshop is a post-it park, sometimes called a Karp. Ok. And basically all it is is a place where rather than raise random things that pop into people's head throughout the day that are completely off-topic and could derail your session or your task. Explained at the start of the day what a post-it park is and what it is simply is, write down that thought, that comment, put it on that park, and then use that as part of your wrap-up session at the end of the day. So go through those and just say right, if I covered this, are we okay with this? Do we need to take this forward? And if we're going to take it forward, who's going to take it forward? What was this relating to and get the person who's written it to expand on it. Because it could then start a lively discussion towards the end of the day that then leads to somebody else having an action and taking it off and doing something with it. By other top tip is create what I call a battle box. This tends to be just a container. And that container, it will have everything that you think you will need. And that might not possibly be provided at your venue. So I always have a huge stack of Post-it note, for example, because I love using post-it notes. Marker pens always have some marker pens just in case they may have flip charts there. They may have flipchart stands. But mark pens just constantly walk and you get somewhere and you'll find that they they've got god knows how many flip gel pads, loads or flipchart stands for you. Fantastic, but nothing to write on the width. So take your own and make sure that you took when you bring them home as well. The other thing I do is copy a paper. So I have a batch of A4 copy of paper with me as well because it's quite a handy to handout. If somebody's gotten a notebook, they at least have something to write on. And conversely, some pens. So always make sure that you've got sort of a batch of buyers with you as well. I do tend to collect them. So when we do training sessions or workshops or meetings, I am my occupied. I will pick things up at the end and walk out with them. And they always tend to end up in a battle box, which basically just means that they get recycled and reused. And things like white tack or, or blue tack, dependent on the color you buy. To put things onto windows and walls if you are allowed. But please double-check that you're allowed to do that. Because what I find is that when you do some flipchart exercises. It's good to actually clear that flipchart board. But you don't want to actually file that paperwork away because you want it to stay. There was a bit of a reminder for the end of the day. So what I tend to do, space allowing is actually place it around the room. So once we finished an exercise or when we get to a break and everybody is cleared out of the room, I will tend to go around and collect those pages, take them off the boards, right on them, whatever I need to as a reminder, and then pop them up around the room so that the data for people to read and look as they go through the day. My top tip here is that consultative peace. So if you've been asked to design a workshop on facilitator workshop, you will have a point of reference. You will have a client, you will have somebody you can go back to. And this is the person that you talk to about things like the attendees and their needs. Anything around that that you should know about that you need to actually feed into your design, the times, the venues, what is and isn't available. So if you need to use a PowerPoint, is their laptops setup, and is there a security system that you have to get past? What y is could you potentially need to take I mean, prevent, prepare for everything. But if your client can assure you that things are there or give you information and advanced than it helps you not just design your what your workshop, but also not take things that are unnecessary. Build in some flexibility as well. So again, this comes back to preparation. You don't know your audience, you don't have the content's going align. So always make sure that you almost over allow. So I mentioned earlier about not adding times two agendas or timetables if you send them out. So give them just an overview of the topics and assure them that there is going to be breaks and lunches, but you don't necessarily have to assign times to them. However, on your copy, you potentially well, because you will know if something is roughly going to take 20 or 30 minutes, and if it's going to take 20 minutes, then potentially allow 30. That way you have something to work with and you know that you can fill ten minutes. There's a good facilitator if you need to, by reiterating what they've gone through, by going back over it with them, by asking relevant and pertinent questions and drawing out a conversation. Or potentially you let the carbon early lunch and then you tack it onto your wrap-up at the end. You have that flexibility, but just keep that in mind and don't be so rigid that every everything has to be 20 minutes or 30 minutes. There has to be some flexibility because people like to talk and some people don't. The other one as well as around using technology. So it's the use it, use it to its best advantage. So powerpoint is an amazing tool. Don't over-complicate things. I think we've seen a bit of a resurgence Recently of quite pared back a minimalist formats for PowerPoint presentations, which is great because it means that even though everybody and their dog discovered all the animations going, now we're actually taking a step back from them and keeping things nice and clean and succinct. And to the point and that's what you want to get your message across. And what I tend to do when I'm doing PowerPoint is do just that. So I have one slide per task. Now everything is written down. Yes, I will add some notes, but they're my notes, not for everybody else. So it may just be a title of a task. It doesn't necessarily have to have instructions on it because that can come from me. And don't forget things like technology is fantastic. Book. Nothing actually beats a good old discussion. Most people do like to talk, especially in smaller groups where everybody should get a chance to actually have their say. And the other thing to think about is, is there anything that you can get attendees to do head to the meeting to prepare? So we talked about introductions earlier. Is there a way that potentially that could happen outside of the meeting, but they can bring their findings to the meeting to help. So we talked about if you've got G20 and you give them, say, a list of five things, five questions to ask each other to find out about themselves. You know, where are you from having to a pet, that kind of thing. Instead of doing that it actually in the room and taking time out of the day. They could do that ahead of time by email, video, chat, phone call, however they do it, and then write down their note and bring that and present it back to the group so they can kind of sit or stand there and say This is Chris. And this is why I find out about him, that kind of thing. But they do the outside of the meeting so that they already know somebody before they attend. And especially if you encourage them to do either face-to-face or via video chat, they know what people look like. And again, I know harp on about this, but do take into account your group. So are there any issues that you need to address in your materials? Is there anything in the equality, diversity, and inclusion area that you need to consider? Is there anything particularly sensitive about it? Do you need to make people aware of that ahead of time to build that in. Be sensitive to other people's needs. 6. Module 5: holding court and recapping: Tip number nine, nearly at the end. Now, I'm tip number nine. I've called holding court. And I know throughout this I've talked about you as a facilitator potentially being like the greatest showman, the ring master, the person in the spotlight. And while that's true, and you are the person who is moving things along, It's not about you. This is, this session isn't about your viewpoint or your opinion. Park all of that at the door. Because what you're there to do is work with your audience, your attendees. It's their show. You're just there to help them. It can be really difficult to maintain this as, as people kinda looks to you as the spokesperson. So they tag things onto that likey humorous know everything you are. The fundamental knowledge about your role really is to try and get the best out of the attendees, not give them the answers. Even if you know them. That can be the difficulty as well. It's about being impartial. Your job is to keep things flowing to try and avoid being too bigger part of the conversation. And similar to something I mentioned earlier, my tip here is questions. So rather than statements, rather than give them answers, throw it back at them and ask them, what would you do? So how would you handle is that kind of thing actually starts them thinking and if they don't know, and it's opened out as a group discussion somebody else might know. So it's not about going, well, if it was me, I do this. Not do that unless you're really stuck. And I would say that to me, that's always a last resort. Asking questions helps to kind of deepen the conversation and draw attendees opinions out. And the other bonus for me is, is again, going back to things like personality types. If you've got somebody who's in real introverts and potentially isn't engaging as much. Don't take it personally, but work with them. So rather than ask questions if they're having a discussion on the table, for example, and somebody really isn't taking part, is going to ask them themselves individually, direct one-to-one. Just asking the question. So this topic, what would you do? How would you have come up against it before we got any experience in this that can think in one-to-one, somebody who is an introvert. And again, I'm an introvert, appreciate that. I appreciate that individual attention because that's why respond to more than I do group discussions. I just find it easier that way. And that's what you need to do is a facilitator is actually read your audience. I have to tell you this up front is not being easy, being the focus of attention for however long. So if you're doing a day-long workshop or two-day workshop, think about it. That is potentially One day, seven hours to days, and 14 hours, where the focus, a lot of the time is on you to move things. You're the person, the audience will forever associate their experience or what they've learned, or what they've taken away from that session. So you're, and I do call it performance, but your performance matters because your performance will cover how they feel about what ever is that session is about. And whether it's a workforce planning session, whether it's a meeting on finance budget setting, doesn't matter if you aren't on par. Www, they remember you and they will remember you fondly. So it's kind of putting their performance on, but also remembering that it's about your audience and know you and the dissident I think about right? So have you ever been to the theater and senior performance or a play or I don't know, shower concert, that kind of blew a really noxious ox off. And it was so good that say on the way back home or you can do is talk about it. That's what you're aiming for, is a good facilitator, is that people leave it, but don't leave it out the door. They take it with them. And if I walk one thing, do you remember what one thing to take away? If you don't remember the whole day, part of your wrap-up should be to remind them of everything that they've done during that day. So what they're going to take away with them. Think about it as ensuring that they're engaged, ensuring that they enjoy themselves, and ensuring that there's a little bit of education in their wetter, hopefully that comes from their peer group, they support group or the other attendees. But if it comes from you, all better. Okay, finally, number ten. So number 10 is about recap in actions and achievements. So think of it as the final act. It's about bringing things to fruition. It's about making sure that you've kind of, at the start, you may have set out the aim or objective of this session. This part is about making sure that you've reached that. But also about how you got there. So it's not just about, you know, we wanted to do this. We've got a fantastic class or go home. So we wanted to do this. We've done this. But this is how we got there. Look at all these flip charts. Look all these notes, look all these outcomes look really good conversations that you've had. I try and do a recap isn't always easy because the minute that they sense that something's over or about to be over. Or you've got these bags, people putting this stuff in their bags, phone down, the laptops, put in the notebooks away. All of that stuff. What you need to do though, is try and make it that end piece, that final piece. So engaging that they don't want to do that just yet. And it's about great over what's been captured so far. It's about relating it back to your original mission statement or a pose a question to them. So have we, as a group, actually achieved this? Have we done what we set out to do? How, how did we do it? The other thing as well. So what did we do and how did we do it? If you use things like flip charts for example. And this is where I like that, That very today of writing on flip charts as groups, but then the individual post-it notes, Ben, is your job again as a facilitator throughout the day to make sure that those are kinda collated. And I tend to tear them off the flip chart standard and actually put them together around the room, usually on Windows because it's easier but shouted out for the paint work. But if they're kind of grouped together, it's easy then for you as a facilitator to actually walk around the room, either taking them with you or making them get up and look and just discussed that. So this is task 1. These are the outcomes. This is what we did. Great work. This is tasked to you, this is what we did. And, and kinda reiterating that as you go through. And another thing I've seen a lot of, as well as giving people the chance to photograph stuff. So if they enjoyed it so much or there are things on there that are pertinent that they want to take away with them. Then everybody's got a camera these days in their phone. So stop. Take a photo, take away with you, not a problem. Um, my favorite is something along the lines of what you learned today. What is one thing you'll take away from today? So usually comes at the very end. So you do you recap, you kind of go over everything that they've done, all that wonderful work that has been captured fantastic. But you as an individual, what are you going to take away today with one thing that you've done today? And even if it is, I met Susan into account. Fantastic networking. You met somebody and account. So if you have an accounting problem, you know that Ingo decision, simple as that. You know, even if the rest of it didn't land with you, you've taken something away from it and that is brilliant. That's not a waste of a day. And I think the big thing as well about this recap is it's about closing it down so it doesn't feel open ended. So again, what any next steps, any actions that need to take away from this, what you're gonna do, are they going to be minutes? Is there gonna be somebody sent out or emailed and if so, commit to doing it, or somebody needs to commit to doing it so that it doesn't feel like a complete waste of time. Because again, you are the face of this. So if you've done your job and you've been engaging and they've enjoyed it. It's been entertaining, fantastic, wonderful. But it then falls flat on the follow-up. Then it leads about tasting somebody's mammoth and colors that day. So they may have had a great day, but you're not following through on your commitments to actually send them the presentation, make some thing, copy bothered. And it happens, it's human nature, it's the way that we're wired. So if you do make commitments, follow upon them. Because again, it impacts on you and if you're freelance, you want more work. 7. Wrap Up and recap: Okay. It's time for my wrap-up now. So you've had your ten top tips. Hopefully by now, you've learned sort of how to structure a day. But in this part of the wrap-up, I'm just gonna go through it quickly with you. And so most of these start with the briefing session of some sort. So whether it's an email, a phone call face-to-face, somebody will commission you and they will be your client and get as much information out to them at the start. And then we want to drawing up something like an agenda or a timetable. Have a think about whether there's going to be any pre-work for people. So is there anything that you want them to do in advance? Prepare your venue and your materials. So anything you need to take, what remove you've got booked, what kind of shape is in. And then on the day, Welcome to your attendees beyond hand to say hello and B, that smiling face and set the tone for the day. Have some form of introduction or God forbid, an icebreaker, and then weave into your contents and tasks. In terms of that, make sure that there's plenty of variety and that you kinda take into account as, as many different learning styles, abilities, disabilities, anything around EDI that you need to kind of consider just so that it's fit for purpose and fit for your audience. Obviously add a new breaks and lunches. Top tick there. And try and keep your active at your afternoon active and avoid that low that, you know, everybody needs an afternoon nap? No. Getting out of their chairs, get them moving and get them energized enough to see them through the next couple of hours. And then finally, once you've finished everything, wrap it up, bring it to a conclusion. Reiterate everything that they've done, all their agreement, their achievements, their discussions, and any next steps. And, and is there anything post coasts that you need to do as a facilitator? Do you need to email anybody anything? Are there any outstanding questions that you need to either pass on to somebody else or to yourself. Okay? So that's basically facilitation skills. In a nutshell. Isn't rocket science. Very little other than rocket science. It's very much personality. It's very much showmanship. But it isn't all about you. Is partly, but it's not all about you. So I hope you found it interesting and good luck with your project. Okay, So time for your project. So your project is going to be quite simple, quite straightforward. What I want you to do is write up a dummy agenda or timetable for a session. So you pick the topic, you pick the start and finish times, whether it's a full day, half-day, all of that stuff is down to you. But what I would like to see, and I'm going to upload some examples as well into the supporting materials and also the discussion forums. Wildlife to see is your ideas. So as much detail as you want. If if you can add in things like what a task might be. So just an overview, just a couple of lines. But what I'm aiming for here is that if this is something that you want to do, also think that you're being asked to do. This project makes you think about it enough to give you like a skeleton that you can work with, that it's got the bare-bones is there. Where you can do then is pick that up and keep applying it to any future events that you need to work on. Alright, so post them in the discussion forum. I'll be on there as often as they need to be. More than happy to give feedback. All right, thank you very much. I hope you've enjoyed.