IAF Methods

Anticipation Guide

by for . Last edit was almost 2 years ago
15 - 45 11 - 25
Advance polling to prepare participants for interaction with key topics and objectives, particularly for online classroom or web conference meetings.
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To open a meeting with a high level of participant interaction, to prepare online participants for interaction with key topics and objectives.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • Anticipation Guide Template
  • Polling functionality in online classroom environment
  • Web conferencing tool for facilitation of the online workshop/meeting
  • Slide or whiteboard showing the anticipation guide statements
  • Blank whiteboard in web-conferencing tool to capture discussion points and opinions
  • Email addresses for participants as a backup for sending the guide



Number of participants: 11-25

Types of participants: All

Time needed: Facilitator: 15 to 20 minutes to develop the guide, 5-10 minutes to build an online poll, and 15 to 20 minutes to facilitate the activity during workshop/meeting.
Participant: 10-15 minutes to complete online poll prior to workshop/meeting, and 15 to 20 minutes of participation during workshop/meeting.

Ideal conditions: 1. In your online environment, open the anticipation guide poll at least 3 days before the workshop/meeting. 2. Review the poll results before the workshop/meeting, so you better understand the thoughts and opinions of your participants 3. Be open to transition and change in thinking, for participants and possibly yourself as the facilitator.

General Description:

Anticipation Guides are often structured as a series of statements with which your participants can choose to agree or disagree. They focus on prior knowledge they bring to the workshop/meeting, or the "big ideas" or essential questions posed as a way for the participant to clarify his/her opinions before coming to the workshop/meeting. This allows the participant to compare their thinking with the facilitator and other participants in class.

Common themes for Anticipation Guides:

• Current thought on trends

• Quotes from experts in the field

• Research findings

• Transition or change statements that apply to an organization

Tips for creating an Anticipation Guide:

• For a pre-training activity, keep the anticipation guide to 5 or 6 statements.

• One or two statements should be intuitively appealing to participants.

• Use wording that provokes critical thinking on key topics.

• Include statements that may not have a correct answer. It is a good idea to include statements in which you do not have a clear answer. This will stimulate additional participant exploration and discussion leading to deeper understanding of the topic or situation.

Pre-Work Required:

1. Create the Anticipation Guide statements. 2. Build a poll in your virtual classroom/meeting environment, using each statement from the guide. 3. Open the poll at least 3 days before the workshop/meeting. Message to your participants about the poll and its required completion date. 4. Review poll responses and statistics before the workshop/meeting to better understand participant thoughts and opinions.

Type of Facilitator-Client Relationship: The best relationship is one where facilitator and participant share an interest in the workshop/meeting topic(s).

Facilitator personality fit: This is a good fit for the facilitator who enjoys guiding discussion where multiple points of view are expressed. Be ready to accept all answers as a starting point in new or continued learning. Be ready to facilitate where transition and change in thought or practice are expected.

1. On day one of session, after welcome and introductions, elaborate on the primary goals and objectives of the workshop/meeting and be clear about the expected outcomes.
2. In your web conferencing environment, upload a slide of the anticipation guide template with the agree/disagree statements. Review the statements with the whole group.
3. Open your poll and show the statistics of responses on the first statement. Is there a majority vote for disagree or agree? Discuss insights about this. When a poll indicates varying opinion, facilitate a discussion where all views are accepted and respected. Encourage participants to be open about modifying their opinion as they interact with others and absorb new insights. Capture all insights on another whiteboard for the participants to see and annotate.
4. Open the poll statistics for each remaining statement and repeat the process as described in Step 3.
5. Document conclusions and return to your insight whiteboard during the remaining segments of the workshop/meeting for consensus/expansion on individual and group thinking.
6. At close of the workshop/meeting, you might return to these insights by opening a final poll with the original Anticipation Guide statements. It is interesting to see if the poll statistics change, as a result of participating in the workshop/meeting. If you do a final poll, be sure to show and discuss the results with the group by showing poll results.


Usual or Expected Outcomes: 1. Your participants arrive to the workshop/meeting with ideas and discussion points that are aligned to key objectives.
2. You will know what your participants think about key issues before the workshop/meeting.
3. This activity reinforces the benefits of valuing individual and group opinions.

How success is evaluated: Self Evaluation and Group Evaluation


Alternative names: Anticipation Guide for Online Facilitation 

This method can be easily adapted to in-person environments. You can use this activity to open with a high level of participant interaction.

You can use this activity as an ice-breaker that promotes group discussion.

Comments (1) ( 2.0  avg / 1 ratings)

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  • It is good to get thoughts from participants on key topics before the meeting. Limits responses to agree/disagree, which needs to be used carefully if trying to generate creativity in a group.

    over 2 years ago