How a leadership consultancy saves time and effort with SessionLab

on on 5 min read

Freelance facilitators and consultants need to wear multiple hats. One day you might be coaching a client through a tough challenge. Another day you might be designing new training material or delivering a bespoke leadership workshop to a room full of executives.

Efficient tools and processes that support your work can help ensure you deliver value to your clients and get more done in less time.

Matt Davies is a leadership consultant, executive coach and facilitator who knows what it means to deliver impactful sessions for demanding clients. 

Here’s how SessionLab helps him succeed.

A tool designed for facilitators 

Facilitators deserve a tool designed for their needs. Matt had been using Word and Excel to design and adjust his sessions but found they weren’t the best tool for the job.

“A big chunk of my work is designing and delivering training and facilitating sessions. I’d always used Word to write notes and then something like Excel to work out timings but that was messy and had too many moving parts. It also meant that changes like re-ordering sessions was messy.”

With SessionLab, Matt is able to quickly move from ideation to a complete agenda design without the mess.

Simply add blocks then drag and drop them around to build your session. When you add or adjust timing for each block, SessionLab recalculates your overall duration automatically. Whatever changes Matt makes, he can stay organized and trust that the timing is accurate. 

“SessionLab has been a game changer. It’s the single thing I most often recommend to fellow facilitators.”

When refining your design, it’s also useful to invite a co-facilitator or client to your session to leave comments and notes while you iterate. In fact, it’s how Matt first discovered SessionLab!  

“I didn’t realise a system like this existed until a fellow facilitator asked for my advice and to collaborate on a piece of work she was doing. She sent over a link and it blew me away! I signed up that day and upgraded to the premium version very quickly afterwards.”

Invite collaborators and edit agendas collaboratively, real-time

Support your design process

Designing a perfect learning flow with a balanced set of activities is one of Matt’s biggest challenges. A long Word document or complicated Excel table can make it difficult to quickly get a sense of how the session will actually feel for participants. 

“My biggest challenges are just being able to visualise the flow of the event and being able to recognise how interactive something is or whether it’s too ‘teach-heavy’. SessionLab’s colour coding is massively useful for that. I take a look at the day overview and get a feel for where the exercises and discussions are, where the breaks are, etc. It’s such a powerful thing to be able to see!”

A colour-coded agenda designed in SessionLab.

SessionLab’s simple, visual overview helps Matt ensure his sessions are balanced and well positioned to meet his client’s goals. By color coding his blocks, it’s easy for Matt to get a sense of the learning flow and make educated tweaks at speed.

Impress your clients 

Delivering value to clients is imperative for a successful consultancy. SessionLab helps Matt work effectively at each stage of the client journey. 

When putting together a proposal, it’s hard to impress a client with a back of a napkin sketch or a bullet-point list in a Word document. Matt uses SessionLab to support this process by quickly creating a beautiful PDF of his in-progress session for client review. 

A high-level overview PDF export of an agenda to share with a client

“I LOVE being able to quickly draft ideas for sessions and produce professional looking PDFs by using the Day Overview function – that way when I’m putting proposals to potential clients, I’m not giving away all of my secrets and I can also create them without having full view of the content; i.e. I can come up with a skeleton of a plan where I haven’t fleshed out every single block and still send it over looking slick.

However you choose to collaborate with your clients, SessionLab supports your process. Customize a printout of your session to share the level of detail you need with your client.

Want a more collaborative process? Invite your client to leave comments and notes on your session or co-create your agenda in real-time in a consultancy meeting. 

Redesign and adjust at speed

Delivering the first draft of your agenda is an important milestone but the work isn’t over yet. After designing a session and getting feedback from a client, it’s time to adjust and prepare for the day of the workshop. 

Matth uses SessionLab to complete new agendas for his clients, but also to refine existing materials and ensure they’re fit for purpose.

“I use SessionLab for designing, tweaking and delivering training and facilitated sessions. I will design sessions directly into SessionLab, but I’ll also take existing facilitator guides (which are often not accurate or realistic in terms of timings, flow, etc and build them into SessionLab so that I can tweak them and ensure that they’re as effective as possible when I deliver.”

Everything you learn as a facilitator is an important learning discovery for next time. Some training activities might go down a storm while others need adjustment. Perhaps you ran out of time during a morning session or a client has a request you need to factor into your next workshop. 

Keep all your notes and any comments from co-faciltiators or clients attached to your agenda to make informed decisions when iterating on your design.

Quickly adjust the duration of any activity to see how it affects overall timing

Need to save twenty minutes in the afternoon? Adjust the timing of each activity and instantly see how it affects your overall duration. Quickly adjust your structure by adding new blocks or dragging and dropping existing ones into place. 

Save time and effort designing your sessions

Time is one of the most important resources a facilitator has, especially if working with many clients, all of whom need your care and attention. 

Matt finds the biggest benefit of using SessionLab to be the time saved while designing his workshops and training sessions. By saving time at the design stage, Matt can focus on delivering the best content for his clients and juggling all the other needs of his consultancy.  

“The key benefit of using SessionLab is less time spent on design, because I can pull blocks and groups across for common components. I re-use a lot of content, which I can then tweak and mould to client needs as the thinking evolves.”

Striking the balance between bespoke design and reusing common elements is easy in SessionLab. Add your best content to your library for easy access in future sessions. Turn your regular sessions into templates to reuse and adjust them for your needs. 

Simple to find and re-use activities you created previously

And when your client requests a change? Simply drag, drop and reorder blocks to quickly amend the design and get sign-off on your session. Bring your client approved, minute-perfect agenda to your workshop and facilitate with confidence.  

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