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Tips for Facilitating a Large Group

Facilitating a large group can be a daunting task, but with the right strategies, it can be done successfully.

Firstly though, what do we mean by a 'large' group? This will differ for persons. For me, any group over twenty persons is a large group. While you may consider this to be a small group. Whatever your definition of a large group is, here are my tips for making the faciliation as painless as possible for you (as well as the participants).

Facilitation of Large Group

1. Utilize Interactive Techniques

Engagement is crucial in a large group setting. Find a way to incorporate interactive methods within the first 15 minutes after the start of the session to involve participants actively. You can consider:

  • Group discussions: Break participants into smaller groups for focused discussions.

  • Interactive activities: Incorporate hands-on exercises or simulations relevant to the topic. For example, quizzes and polls

  • Visual aids: Use charts, graphs, or presentations to illustrate key points.

Furthermore, individuals have different learning styles and preferences. This means some persons respond more to audio or visual stimulations, while others prefer discussions. Having a mix of interactive techniques will help to keep the attention of persons.

2. Divide into Manageable Segments

Break the session into distinct segments or modules. This prevents information overload and allows participants to absorb and process information effectively. Clearly transition between topics, providing context for each segment.

Additionally, try to have use different delivery modes to change the pace and feel of the sessions. Nothing kills your facilitation than 8 hours of the same style of delivery. Instead, if the first session was lecture -style with a presenter in front of the room using a Powerpoint, make the second session a moderated panel discussion with multiple speakers, the third session one using flipcharts and so forth. This variety of formats help to keep things 'fresh' and not monotone.

3. Incorporate Regular Breaks

Large groups can quickly become fatigued. Plan for regular breaks to allow participants to rest, refresh, and network. Breaks also provide opportunities for informal discussions and idea exchange.

4.Manage Time Effectively

Time management is critical in large group facilitation. Keep discussions on track by setting time limits for each segment. Allocate additional time for complex topics and adjust as needed. Be mindful of pacing to ensure all planned content is covered.

1 Comment

Very helpful. Thank you Ann!

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​​​Ann-Murray Brown

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