Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0224, October 4, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers....
 

Dear friends,

Today we go right to the very basics by discussing the relevant points to consider when creating and distributing "handouts" to your groups and in your meetings. This aspect of facilitation is often abused by meeting leaders and participants who inundate their colleagues with stacks paper that do more to distract than inform. This week's article, "Do You Take Handouts?" offers a short list of tips to review when considering this element of your next meeting, training, or facilitated group.

We've begun collecting your favorite workshop or seminar handouts on subjects relevant to adult training or workshop facilitation such as: time management, project management, communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, change, etc. If you submit your handout, we'll send you copies of all those we collect. See further details below after the article.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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The Point


Do You Take Handouts
 Using handouts to accentuate your workshops and trainings

Logistics Skill


Most meetings and trainings we attend have us leaving with something on paper--what we often refer to in the trade as "handouts." Handouts can certainly be useful as guides for participants to practice and integrate what they've learned in your workshop or to clarify and deepen their understanding of what was expressed in a meeting. However, these can just as easily create barriers to the work you're trying to accomplish.

Below are some general guidelines for the use of handouts in groups. If you have any additional tips, suggestions, or insights on this matter, we'd love to hear them.


Application


Distribute any necessary information early enough prior to your meeting to give participants ample time to review it. This affords participants ample time to prepare and come to your session ready to go to work.

During a one-hour meeting, limit the distribution of any clarifying information to one type-written page. Anything more detailed should be provided either before or after the meeting.

Handouts should only be distributed when you're ready to discuss them. Doing otherwise will divert your group's attention, adding an unnecessary distraction.

If simple type-written instructions for an upcoming exercise are necessary, try posting a single copy in an easily visible portion of the room prior to a break or tape it to the floor inside the entrance so that everyone can see it while walking in with minimal minimal effort on your part and theirs.

Use visuals in your handouts but only if they add to others' understanding. Have at least a couple of colleagues review your visuals prior to handing them out to make sure they are understandable without a lot of explanation.

Make your workshop educational handouts short, simple, and explicit. The use of bulleted or numbered lists are helpful. Use plenty of white space and even graphics if they add to the handout's understanding and usefulness. Write each point like a newspaper headline that captures the whole idea in a compelling way. Then elaborate only as much as necessary to drive home the point. (See example in survey section below).

Action

Try these handout basics in your next workshop or training and let us know how they worked for you. Please email us your comments.

Reader Survey


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Workshop and Seminar Handouts

This week, we're looking for your favorite workshop or seminar handouts that you've developed and used in prior workshops. These can be on any subject. Examples include: time management, project management, communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, change, etc. Click here for an example handout to help you understand what we're looking for. If you submit your handout, we'll send you copies of all those we collect. Please email your responses to us. Thanks!
 
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