No matter how amazing a group of people you are working with, or how well chosen the activity you are running, there are certain things you still need to do when running initiatives with your group. These simple rules will help you create the best experience possible for your participants.

Rule #1. You are the expert

No matter how much experience you may or may not have in running initiatives or how well you do or do not know the specific activity you have chosen to run, you must remember that your participants do not know the rules or your intentions till you share them. Presenting an initiative is like playing an original song. No one knows how it’s supposed to go exactly, even if it’s a cover of a song they know well.

Rule #2. Remain flexible

No one can predict what everyone will do in every situation. There are always surprises in store, even for the most experienced facilitator. Give yourself permission to make changes if you need to.

Rule #3. Play to your strengths

While this should be a general truth for all the things we do, sometimes when trying something new or unusual, we forget the simple things. If you are an amazing storyteller, make sure that the activity is structured either like a story or as a portion of a story. Some of us write instructions well, some of us communicate very clearly. Some of us are very supportive and some of us are very funny. Whatever it is you do, make sure your selection allows you to shine.

Rule #4. Let them have their experience

Part of the beauty in initiatives is the physical discovery. If your chosen activity was designed to give your participants a chance to play together, make sure that they have time to play without having to think about anything else. If you’re running an activity designed to challenge the group to conquer it, then it’s your job to allow them to struggle as long as hope and success are still possible.

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Esteban Colon is a Teams Course Facilitator and Experiential Educator with over a decade of experience who works with a wide variety of clientele. In this time he managed a facility, trained scores of new facilitators, led workshops, wrote manuals and continues working in the field. He can be reached directly for questions at esteban_colon@yahoo.com