As a facilitator, I spend a lot of time preparing the flow of a workshop or speech, the currency of the content (and, in these days of fake news, checking & rechecking) – add to this, the development of the flipcharts, the exercises, the key learning points… it’s a big task. But the trap is forgetting the importance of facilitating opening and closing.

I’ve attended lots of workshops as a delegate where I have felt that I’d been rushed into the session or, at times, that it’s all felt very inconclusive at the end when the facilitator wraps up.

I’ve even been in a session where the facilitator has started to take any notes down off the wall and putting them in the bin – it’s almost as if there was no respect for the information we’d spend 2 days exploring.

Sometimes, being rushed into or out of a session just feels rude.


Opening & Closing facilitated sessions from Eskil on Vimeo.

An effective opening should give time for both parties to size each other up – for the facilitator to gauge the room and to start to look at the individual personalities.

For the audience, a well constructed opening can set expectations, help them to ‘connect’ to the facilitator, become familiar with the surroundings and also begin to feel that this is a safe environment to work in.

I already ‘pre-wire’ the audience with introductory emails, small videos, etc. as a way to get them into the frame of mind for the session. Similarly, in terms of closing, I have been developing pre-wired closes that lead into the end of the event a few hours earlier – preparing people for the end.


You need to set up the room (including the people) for meaningful dialog and you need to respect how you finish the discussion a facilitator. Facilitating opening & closing is as important as the content in between!


Contact Neil to discuss facilitating your events:



t: +44.(0)1926.497.211



Facilitating Opening & Closing