In order to set the mood for the workshop, it is important to open the session in the right way. As such, the facilitator should be assertive in introducing the session and explaining the agenda. This ensures that everyone knows who is in charge and who they can turn to in case of questions. Participants should then be given the chance to introduce themselves so that they feel comfortable engaging in activities with the rest of the group. Introductions can be made individually, with each person taking 1 or 2 minutes to say something about themselves to everybody else. Alternatively, split the group into pairs and have each participant introduce themselves to their partner. After 2 minutes, reform the group and ask each member to present the other person.
It is equally important to finish the session in an appropriate manner, so that participants have a sense of closure. Here, the facilitator should recap what has been covered. Focus on positive points and on praising the participants, but also highlight if something needs to be done differently. This can also be achieved using an evaluation form, if appropriate. Use what you have learnt to help form a follow-up plan. You can also ask each participant to present one thing that they have learnt from the session to the group. Round off by employing one of the more energetic exercises from the toolbox, so that everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
Icebreakers, Warm-Ups and Energizers
These techniques are used to introduce participants to each other, build rapport, help them wake up, to recapture their wondering interest, or to inject energy into the session. As the name implies, the icebreaker warms the learning environment to the point that the ‘ice’ keeping participants from interacting with each other melts and activities can begin.