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Besides understanding the difference between meeting roles and project or work roles, provide each participant with a participants’ package or pre-read handout. At launch or kickoff or any major inflection points, consider binding a participants’ package with spiral edging across the top of your inserts because it is unique and easier for left-handed note takers.

Consider the following nine items when constructing your participants’ package:

What to Include in a Workshop Participants’ Package for a Major Initiative

A Powerful Participants’ Package

  1. Written purpose, scope, and deliverables of the workshop along with a simple agenda for the current session
  2. Lexicon or glossary of terms; focus on terms used in the purpose, scope, and deliverables statements mentioned in the item above
  3. Enterprise and business unit strategic planning support; especially the mission, values, visions, and objectives (ie, key measurements)
  4. Team charter (ie, Management Perspective or framing document) or additional detail about the project supported by the meeting or workshop
  5. Sponsor’s letter of invitation—organizational and/ or enterprise strategic plan
  6. Team members’ contact information (consider photographs when preparing for a meeting with virtual participants)
  7. Relevant reading or support materials gathered during the interviews or from the project or adjunct project teams
  8. List of questions to be addressed during the meeting or workshop
  9. Responsibilities or expectations of the participants; including any overnight assignments, reading, or exercises that may be part of multi-day workshop

Sequencing and Personalization

The sequence of the items above listed in order of priority. No meeting or workshop can arrive at consensual agreement if the participants cannot agree at first on the purpose, scope, and deliverables of the meeting. Next, consensual understanding about what those terms mean must be controlled and not facilitated. Third, knowing how the balance of the organization depends on the success of this meeting and its contributions (ie, deliverable) must be established to create a sense of importance and urgency. The balance of the items may be considered optional, but optimal.

We also recommend that you provide each participant with a cover letter. If assembling “relevant reading material” that contains too much bulk, many participants won’t look at it. Some will perhaps when the meeting commences. Rather, attach a cover letter to each participant. Stipulate which pages are essential for them to read based on their ability to make significant contributions.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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