Tips for staying nimble as a facilitator

Take a remote-first approach

Many facilitators have been hosting sessions virtually since the beginning of the pandemic, and with a lot of success. But as the pandemic went on and hybrid work models were embraced, suddenly meetings and workshops meant having a handful of people together in a room and another handful joining via screen. And guess what, it didn’t work. Why? Because the dynamics were too different, participation became a nightmare, and digital and physical tools were required to cover both groups.

Upgrade your virtual environment

It’s critical to treat your digital meeting room with the same care as you would the physical workspace. Just like an in-person session, you need visual aids, whiteboards, post-it notes and collaboration methods like breakout rooms. You need to think about how people will move through the virtual space and complete different parts of the workshop.

Surprises happen, so have the COVID conversation up front

Just the other week I led a session that was supposed to be 100% in person but — with just a few hours until the workshop — a positive COVID result among one of the participants meant we needed to pivot, and fast.

  • Are people comfortable meeting in person?
  • If so, will everyone wear masks? (I always tell the group that anyone who is uncomfortable meeting without masks should email me directly so I can make it a policy for the whole group and keep them anonymous in the process.)
  • Does everyone need to be vaccinated to attend in person?
  • Will we social distance?
  • What happens if someone tests positive for COVID or has an exposure before the workshop? Will we reschedule, press on without them, or shift to a virtual session?



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Jackie Colburn

Jackie Colburn


Weekly resources for facilitators and leaders. Learn tips and methods to run better workshops, accelerate teams and uncover new ideas.