Do you need a great facilitator?
Hello, I’m James Allen. I’ve facilitated hundreds of workshops, meetings, focus groups, strategy sessions, teambuilding events and corporate offsites for a range of clients, from corporate household names to creative agencies and startups.
I called my company Creative Huddle because that’s my vision of a really successful facilitated session: team-based, high energy events that help people collaborate effectively by generating ideas, solving problems, sharing opinions and making decisions. People seem to like the name – Creative Huddle implies togetherness, trust and of course creativity.
Everything is tailored to you: I’ll work closely with you to understand your team dynamics and the nuances of your project.
If you’re planning a large event, requiring multiple facilitators, I can call on a network of trusted and experienced associates and manage their involvement too.
Recent clients include:
I’m a member of the International Association of Facilitators, and affirm and apply the IAF’s Statement of Values and Code of Ethics, the only global professional standard for facilitation practice.
Facilitators and workshops
A successful workshop can result in so many ideas, plans, strategies and ambitions, leaving participants energised and excited about their work ahead.
A good workshop facilitator knows that no two workshops are the same. The participants are different, the topics are different, and the energy levels can be different. It’s my job to help you get the most out of your workshop, taking into account all the variables to end up with a useful and rewarding end result.
But what is a workshop exactly? Creative Huddle workshops are a mix of everything I know to work well:
- Idea and knowledge sharing – vibrant, open discussions where participants debate the art of the possible and test out new theories and solutions
- Sections of participation – doing is far more effective than passive listening;
- Peer-to-peer learning and feedback, because everyone brings their own experience, understanding and perspective;
- Flexibility, because the content needs to move in the direction the workshop participants need.
I take my role as workshop facilitator very seriously but there is often a lot of laughter – humour generates lots of energy and helps groups bond and share their thoughts and experiences. Humour is also great for provoking creativity.
Better brainstorms generate ideas for existing projects, campaigns or initiatives by tapping into your team’s creative superpowers.
Stimulate engaging discussions and provoke interesting insights by encouraging participants to share ideas, experiences and opinions.
Take time out to get to know each other better, reveal insights and build capability for collaboration and emergent leadership.
Gather insights from customers, stakeholders, employees or others by asking about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes.
Build shared purpose, ambition and vision for the future, guaranteeing a return to head office with renewed vigour and world-beating plans.
Leaders and managers learn by helping each other find solutions to real work problems through group discussions and actions.
Allow participants the autonomy and freedom to identify, explore and discuss issues and subjects they are most interested in.
Go from boring boardroom to dynamic discussion and leave the room aligned, energised and ready to make things happen.
And many more…
How to choose a workshop topic
I’ll ask you to specify the project that you would like the workshop to focus on, and I’ll also ask you about your team – their experience of brainstorming, and details about their roles, responsibilities and level of seniority.
It’s best to be specific about the topic you choose. Ideally it should be a particular project that the team will all be working on together. It should also be a high value, high priority project so I can help you make the most impact.
I can help you define and refine a project on the phone and over email in the run-up to the workshop. I have a good template to help you create a clear brief so participants arrive for the workshop with a clear understanding of exactly what is expected of them.
Some example workshops I’ve run recently
How can I best help your team? Let some of these past themes inspire you:
What happens next?
I usually send a short online survey to all participants approximately 10 days before the workshop date. This enables me to tailor and shape my workshops so participants get the most benefit.
I’ll ask for a brief summary of their job role & responsibilities (relevant to the workshop), their hopes for the workshop and what they would like it to achieve. I also ask for any initial ideas in response to the brief for the workshop, and to share them now so we can make the best use of the time available.
If you need me to help you find somewhere to hold the workshop I have a database of suitable venues for you to choose from.
I’ll come armed with reams of post-its, Sharpies, worksheets and props – sometimes including a rubber brick and ping-pong balls! – to help stimulate creative juices and problem solving powers.
Our workshop with James achieved all our aims. It offered a chance for the team to think in different ways using different tools, some of which they have already put to use in other meetings. The second part of the session was a great practical exercise where the team agreed an action plan for our next steps that were solution driven. It was also brilliant to have someone independent of the team which freed me as manager to be more involved, and the team to be more confident about speaking up. Thanks James!