A Practice Run is an effective way to practice your facilitation skills and get feedback before the actual workshop with participants. Invite one or more of your colleagues, peers, co-facilitators, and/or supervisors to take part – you may even invite a few friends or others to get some outside perspectives. Share the Practice Run Peer Review Feedback Worksheet (below) with all those attending so they can easily and efficiently provide feedback.
Consider planning a practice run at least one week in advance or more to ensure you have the time to revise the workshop design or content. If possible, conduct the practice run in the same format in which the workshop will take place, so you get a realistic sense of how the time/physical or virtual space will influence your actions on the day of the workshop. Also consider a practice run if you are changing format of the workshop, for instance, changing a workshop that was previously delivered virtually to now being in-person, or vice versa.
The practice run can be divided into two parts: self-reflection and peer feedback.
You can perform a practice run of the entire workshop, or you can select particularly challenging moments. While you are going through the practice run, consider the following questions and take notes:
- Are there any moments in which I felt uncomfortable or noticed mistakes?
- Does the flow of the workshop make sense?
- Are the times adequate for each of the strategies planned?
- Do I need to check my facts or update any references?
- Are there any important things I forgot to mention? (You can check with your Workshop Template).
Use the Practice Run Peer Review Feedback Worksheet for peer feedback of your practice run. The worksheet questions are general and help guide the review process. It is also helpful to point out to your reviewer(s) the aspects of the workshop on which you are particularly interested in getting feedback. For an in-person practice run, you may want to print out the worksheet and provide it to reviewer(s) to help guide their feedback. For a virtual practice run, consider creating an online feedback form with these questions that can be filled out anonymously.
Download the worksheet
- Rehearse transitions. Most disruptions occur during these gaps.
- When writing on a chalkboard or whiteboard, write large enough so people at the back can read it, which is often bigger than you think it needs to be.
- Remember to check how well you can be heard and always use a microphone when available.
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