Monday, September 25, 2006

Exercises for Group Programs - The Importance of Closure

Closure for Group Programs
Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT - Potentials Realized
Copyright 2006 - All Rights Reserved

Closure is an important part of any group program, even though it may be the first thing that is cut out when programs are running a little long. Effective closure activities can serve many purposes including, creating:

1. A framework for participants to identify:

  • What they have learned from the program
  • What they will take away in terms of learning, new perspectives/insights etc
  • How they will apply their new learning into their daily life - at work or home

2. A forum for participants to create an action plan to reinforce the learning that they have undertaken during the course of the program. How will the participants be "bringing the learning home" to their real lives?

3. An opportunity to reflect upon the learning journey in the context of the program

4. An opportunity for celebration and to give thanks

What type of closure activities do you use in your programs? Is this the first thing that gets cut off when time is running short?

Here a couple of ideas for your next program:

1. Develop an action plan handout (or at the end of a participants notebook/manual) which has participants make commitments as to specific actions they are going to undertake.

2. Learning Partners - Have participants pair up with another/or two other participants to discuss their major learning throughout the program. Provide each group with two or three structured questions they can discuss. have them contact each other by email/phone/in person one month after the program to discusss how their learning has impacted their work/life. Get each group to contact you with a summary of the results. Allot sufficient time for each group to meet, get to know each other and design how and when they will reconnect.

3. Closure Circle - Have each participant share with the group the one most important learning point for them and how they are going to integrate this in their daily life and work.

4. Nature Walk and Closure - To add a creative twist, allow participants 5 - 10 minutes to do a silent walk in the surrounding environment (if venue permits) and have them select a piece of nature which they bring back into the program (i.e. stone/flower/leaf). Participants can close with a discussion of what they have chosen in the closure circle format. A neat thing about it is that participants can take this object home with them as a reminder of their learning and commitments.

I hope that you will try some of these out in your upcoming programs. If you do, I'd love to hear how it went.

Jennifer J. Britton - Potentials Realized ( and

Jennifer J. Britton has been faciltiating group programs (workshops, retreats and group coaching) since 1988. Her work with teams and groups has taken her around the world, and she has faciltiated programs in over 14 countries. Jennifer is the founder of Potentials Realized, a coaching, training and consulting firm, and works with corporate and group clients in the areas of teamwork, leadership and enhanced business results. She is the author of the Engaging Exercises for Teams and Groups Manual, and also a co-author of Starting Your Own Business - A Guide for Women in York Region.

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