Have you ever wondered about the “tools of the trade” used by a professional facilitator? I use the following list as a checklist before I head to a client event. I no longer trust hotels and other event venues to provide even the basic facilitator tools so I travel with my own.
My toolkit is a Jack Georges bag. It is large enough for all my materials as well as the inevitable rolls of flipchart paper I bring back from each event.
I always travel with:
- Markers, usually Sharpies or Mr. Sketch
- Masking tape, green painters’ tape or Blu Tack
- Packages of Post-It notes in various sizes and colors
- A small clock
I often add:
- Small toys such as palm sized footballs or stress balls
- Hard candies
- Tibetan bells
- A talking stick
- A camera
In terms of paper, I sometimes add:
- Extra copies of the agenda
- Psychometric instruments
- Evaluation forms
In the past few years, most of this material is distributed electronically.
And then, depending on the icebreakers and other experiential activities I am planning to use, I pack:
- Egg timers
- Bolo Bats
- And other eclectic items
One thing I do not travel with, but intend to, is a selection of upbeat music that can be played during breaks.
In addition to the physical toolkit, I travel with a toolkit of models and processes in my head that I can bring forward as different situations require. Early in my career, I was privileged to take a workshop from Jim Weber, and receive a copy of his “toolkit”, a binder with hundreds of frameworks which he later published as “Facilitating Critical Thinking in Groups” . His binder became a model for how I built my process toolkit.
So there you have it- a peek inside one facilitator’s toolkit. I don’t leave home without it.