Facilitator Guide

Designing a Successful Session

A group photo showing a MozFest House Amsterdam session

A good place to start your session design is to consider the purpose of why you are running this session: What are you inviting people into?*

Once the purpose is clear to you, define the desired result or goal you would like to reach in the session: What new insight / consideration do you want people to walk away with? What insights do you want to gain from participants? How would you like folks to feel at the end of the session?

You can use your session’s purpose and goal as reference points in the design of your session, checking in time and again: Does this activity, question or input align with my session purpose? Does it serve my intended goal(s)?

From these two points, you delve into the structure of the session. Typically, an interactive session will have three parts:

1️⃣ Divergence → Opening

In the divergent phase we open up the themes of the subject matter, as well as our minds and hearts to create motivation and connection. We frame and create clarity on context, purpose, desired outcome. We set a tone of openness and intention: what unique possibilities are available because we are coming together?

2️⃣ Emergence → Sorting, working, letting things develop and deepen

The emergent phase is where the intensive work takes place: Discovery, sharing knowledge, experience and evidence. Ideating, pondering, discussing, exploring issues, having reflective dialogues, negotiations, etc. Here the facilitator holds the gentle balance between guiding the group and responding to what is emerging.

3️⃣ Convergence → Closing

The convergent phase is about closing down. Here we sum and wrap up, integrate, finalize, make arrangements for the next steps. And as we all know, one ending is just a new beginning - what new journey or call to action would you like to invite participants on after the session is over? Plant the seed.

Different activities can serve each of these phases, taking into consideration your session purpose and goal. Here are some facilitation resources, which provide a variety of activities / formats that you could use in your session:

* If you feel clear and confident about the purpose of your session you may want to consider using it in the divergent phase of your session. It can be grounding and empowering for participants to know why you are hosting this session by making the purpose of your session explicit (even and especially when it relates to your personal reasons for being passionate about the topic).

After your session

It isn’t over till it’s over! When your session has finished, you can start by taking a deep breath in and out, and taking a moment to celebrate yourself for doing this. After that, we strongly recommend that you take some time to reflect on the session - maybe take yourself out for some fresh air, sit down with a hot drink and your favorite notebook, or grab your phone and open up a new note to yourself. Reflect:

  • What was my favorite part of the session and why?
  • What would I change, adapt or do differently next time?
  • What have I learnt?
  • What am I grateful for now, in this moment? (list as many things as you can think of!)

The MozFest team is also available to debrief and share reflections - please take us up on it! After your MozFest session, we hope you will attend, support and contribute to other spaces with your peer-facilitators. And after MozFest is over, join us for our group debrief where we will also share more information about how you can stay connected with the community in the future.

Resources and Tools:

  • Liberating Structures Menu

    Five conventional structures guide the way we organize routine interactions and how groups work together.

  • Recipes for Wellbeing

    In the same way a recipe in a cookbook takes you through the steps to prepare a particular dish, our wholebeing recipes guide you through specific processes to cultivate wholebeing in your everyday work and life.