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Ideas for Opening your Workshop

The opening of your workshop is when you gain participants' attention, build motivation, and explain why the workshop is important. Sometimes known as the "motivational statement," the "hook," or the “bridge-in,” the opening helps participants focus on what is about to happen and takes a small portion of your overall time.

Here are some possible strategies:

  • Introduce yourself and welcome participants. Explain how you came to be the facilitator of this workshop.
  • Tell a story connected to the workshop topic.
  • Connect the workshop topic to something in the participants' realm of experience.
  • Ensure you can pronounce participants’ names correctly by inviting people to state their names slowly and clearly.
    • In-person: writing them on name tags or name tents
    • Virtual: invite them to change their name on the platform as needed
  • Discuss workshop etiquette.
    • In-person: raising a hand to ask a question, the location of the nearest accessible and/or gender-neutral washroom, the turning off of cellphones, and/or guidelines for laptop use
    • Virtual: platform features such as chat or raise hand, showing or hiding camera, muting audio noise, slides available after by email, bio-breaks welcome
  • Provide an acknowledgement of traditional territory.
  • Review the learning outcomes and/or agenda for the workshop.
  • Conduct a background knowledge probe.
  • Use an icebreaker.


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