Workshop Tactics

Session Principles

Session Principles

What is the Session Principles workshop tactic?

This tactic creates principles for a meeting or workshop. This 5-10 minute investment results in a more engaged and effective group of people.

Bad habits have a tendency to create mundane, ineffective meetings that do not achieve their goals. Establish and stick to principles to break those habits. Flexible principles create a container for an effective and productive meeting.


How to use the Session Principles tactic in your workshop

1. Write 'Principles' on a whiteboard or a flip-chart.

2. Ask the group for suggestions they can agree on that will make the session more effective.

3. Discuss each principle in brief to ensure there is a shared understanding and there are no differing interpretations or opinions.

4. Explain that throughout the session, it’s okay to pause to ask questions, add to or amend the principles.

Tip: it’s important to make the group self-manage the principles. If the facilitator is the only enforcer of the rules, then the rules lose their power.

5. At the end, revisit the principles by asking:

  • “Are our principles still serving us?”
  • “Would we like to amend or adapt them in any way?”

Example principles:

  • No phones or laptops please!
  • Listen more than you talk
  • No questions are stupid
  • Politely interrupt tangential conversation
  • Share your snacks
  • Never question the wisdom of Workshop Tactics

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