Playback speed
Share post
Share post at current time

Facilitation makes workshops work - Myriam Hadnes - E142

Explore the art of facilitation with Myriam Hadnes! Discover her journey, key facilitation techniques, and tips for crafting impactful workshops that work.
Myriam Hadnes workshops work

Workshops Work

I’ve been a facilitator for many years. Over that time, I’ve come to realise that facilitation is a critical skill that every Technology professional will need at some point in their career. Whether you facilitate a Daily Scrum in an Agile team, facilitate discovery workshops, or simply run a team meeting, having the ability to bring together the collective thoughts of many is extremely powerful.

I recently discovered a fantastic resource in the form of a podcast dedicated to facilitation called ‘Workshops Work’. In today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with the host, Myriam Hadnes.

🔑 Key Points

  • Myriam's Background

  • Role of Travel in Professional Development

  • What Exactly is Facilitation?

  • Essential Traits for Successful Facilitators

  • Crafting an Effective Workshop

  • Managing Challenging Behaviours in Workshops

  • Establishing Ground Rules for Successful Facilitation

  • Favourite Techniques and Tools for Facilitators

  • Dreaming of Superpowers: Authenticity and Listening

  • Valuable Resources and Tips for Facilitators

  • FAQs

Thanks for reading Superpowers School! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

🌍 Myriam's Background

Myriam, a self-proclaimed "facilitation evangelist," has an intriguing personal and professional background that spans continents and disciplines. Originally from Germany, Myriam has lived in diverse locations including Paris, Luxembourg, Vietnam, and the Netherlands, reflecting her inherent wanderlust. Her academic journey led her to earn a PhD in behavioural economics, after which she ventured into the world of facilitation. Settling in Amsterdam, Myriam spends her winters in Australia, escaping the less favourable Dutch weather. Her career transition from academia to facilitation highlighted her passion for making group processes smoother and more effective, which she enthusiastically shares through her podcast, Workshops Work.

✈️ Role of Travel in Professional Development

Travel has significantly shaped Myriam’s understanding of cultural nuances, which is crucial in her facilitation work. Experiencing different workplace cultures firsthand, she has observed how certain practices, like group presentations, are received differently across cultures. Such insights are invaluable, showing how travel can enhance a professional’s adaptability and awareness—key traits for anyone involved in facilitating group and organisational dynamics.

🤔 What Exactly is Facilitation?

Facilitation, derived from the Latin word facile meaning 'easy', involves making group processes more straightforward and efficient. Unlike coaching, which is introspective and individual-focused, facilitation is about guiding a group towards a common goal. A facilitator's role includes:

  • Designing a process that moves a group from confusion to clarity and into action.

  • Asking probing questions that encourage deep thinking and reflection.

  • Listening attentively to both spoken and unspoken dynamics within the group.

  • Remaining neutral and detached from the outcomes to ensure the group feels ownership of the solutions.

  • Creating an environment of psychological safety where every participant feels confident to contribute.

🧠 Essential Traits for Successful Facilitators

Being a successful facilitator requires a mix of introspection and extroversion. One must listen actively and be courageous enough to challenge the group when necessary. Interestingly, many effective facilitators identify more with introversion, which can enhance their ability to listen and process information deeply before engaging. Regardless of being an introvert or an extrovert, successful facilitators manage to balance their approach to meet the group’s needs effectively.

🛠 Crafting an Effective Workshop

female carpenter carving an intricate carving

Designing a workshop that resonates requires careful planning and a clear understanding of the desired outcomes. Myriam starts with a clear purpose and builds the workshop structure to facilitate easy understanding and engagement. Techniques like 'turn to your neighbour' are simple yet effective in breaking the ice and encouraging participation. Workshops are structured to include both divergent (idea generation) and convergent (idea consolidation) thinking, ensuring a productive flow that culminates in actionable outcomes.

😤 Managing Challenging Behaviours in Workshops

Handling disruptions tactfully is crucial in maintaining the effectiveness of a workshop. Myriam suggests understanding the underlying motivations of disruptive participants and integrating their insights positively into the workshop. Setting clear expectations and sometimes even seeking permission to moderate discussions helps in maintaining focus and respect throughout the session.

📜 Establishing Ground Rules for Successful Facilitation

Ground rules or working agreements are pivotal in setting the tone for collaboration in workshops. By establishing expectations humorously and respectfully, facilitators like Myriam create a framework that encourages productivity and mutual respect among participants.

🛠 Favourite Techniques and Tools for Facilitators

Myriam often utilises "Liberating Structures" techniques, which include activities like '1-2-4-All' and 'Troika Consulting' to foster engagement and ensure that every voice is heard. Virtual tools like Miro or Mural serve as online whiteboards, simplifying remote collaboration, while avoiding too many complex tools helps in keeping participants focused and engaged.

🌟 Dreaming of Superpowers: Authenticity and Listening

If given a choice of a superpower, Myriam would choose the ability for people to listen genuinely and communicate authentically without masks. This, she believes, would transform personal and professional interactions, fostering a more authentic and effective communication landscape.

📘 Valuable Resources and Tips for Facilitators

For those interested in exploring facilitation further, Myriam recommends resources like the Liberating Structures website, her podcast "Workshops Work", and networking with innovative facilitators like Thomas Landthaler on LinkedIn for fresh perspectives and tips.

Thank you for reading Superpowers School. This post is public so feel free to share it.



Q: What makes a good facilitator? A: A good facilitator listens well, remains neutral, and effectively guides a group towards clarity and consensus while ensuring everyone feels included and valued.

Q: How can traveling enhance facilitation skills? A: Travel exposes professionals to diverse cultures and practices, improving their adaptability and understanding, crucial for tailoring facilitation strategies to various group dynamics.

Q: What are some essential tools for online facilitation? A: Tools like Zoom for communication, Miro or Mural for shared visual spaces, and simple engagement tools like polls or chat visualizers can enhance online facilitation.

Disclaimer: This summary was written with the help of AI

Myriam Hadnes

Facilitation Evangelist: "An expert in the field of facilitation who actively promotes its importance and benefits. This person is passionate about the power of effective group collaboration and aims to spread the word, advocating for the adoption of facilitation techniques in various settings.

⚡️ In each episode, Paddy Dhanda deep dives into a new human Superpower to help you thrive in the age of AI.

🎧 Listen now on:

👉 Apple

👉 Spotify

👉 YouTube

👉 Newsletter


☕️ If you enjoy the podcast, then you can donate a small amount here as a token of your appreciation and BUY PADDY A COFFEE 👉🏽

Similar episode(s) you might enjoy:

🎧 Discover the Benefits of Visual Facilitation Techniques for Enhancing Group Collaboration

🎧 Engagement 2.0: Virtual Events to Keep Everyone Hooked and Involved

Superpowers School
Superpowers School - Self-Improvement Podcast Like Diary of a CEO
Do you want to future-proof your technology career? Building human skills (soft skills) that AI can't easily replicate is what makes us unique and stand out.
Join Paddy Dhanda for a weekly dose of self-improvement. Each episode focuses on a different human superpower at work, helping you upgrade your soft skills and beat AI anxiety.
If knowledge is power, then make learning your superpower!