How To Facilitate A SWOT Session With Your Youth Work Staff

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SWOT is an integral part of any youth organisations. SWOT sessions are organised for planning and setting goals. It’s not just used for organisational planning purposes, you can also use it for your own to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

So if you have never undertaken a SWOT Analysis session before for you or your youth organisations then this article will help you to understand by just following the simple step by step guide below, and you will be on your way to becoming an expert on SWOT.

It is fundamental that you ensure that you inform your youth work staff members well in advance about the SWOT planning session.

As this will prepare them mentally about the topic and in return provide a productive session. Involve your staff members so that they contribute positively.

Do the following before the session;

A. Send out a pre session questioner or email to find out if your youth work staff members have an understanding of what SWOT is. (Don’t make any assumptions)

B. Ask what are their expectations for the session

C. Send out some back ground materials near to the event to your youth work staff members.

2.  Preparing Your SWOT Chart 

Get hold of a large A3 size flip chart. Divide the chart into four squares. See image below.

On each square write the following

Square 1 Top Left.         STRENGTHS

Square 2 Top Right.       WEAKNESSES

Square 3 Bottom Left.    OPPORTUNITIES

Square 4 Bottom Right.  THREATS

Here you will explain to your youth work staff members that the top to SWOT squares are internal aspects of your youth organisation. The bottom to SWOT squares are external factors, such as outside factors that they are not directly in control of. It is important they are very clear of this from the beginning so there is no confusion. see image below.

4. Preparing Materials For Individual Staff Members

This is a good process if you know that your staff members are beginner’s and have limited knowledge of SWOT.

This will help to plan a successful session for them. To do this send out an individual SWOT chart for them to fill for practice and you can also take this a little further by asking them to focus on their self.

Method 2 On the Day 

1. Session Delivery 

As you are the facilitator you need to introduce the session and explain the aims of the SWOT planning session that you and your staff are embarking on. Also, explain to the staff WHY they are doing this and what the outcome will be by participating in this session.

Once you have done all this you can now concentrate by asking members to relate back to you their own experience completing the individual SWOT analysis.

As this will give you an understanding and identify any issues or misunderstanding if there is any amongst your youth work staff members. It will also allow you to see if they have fully understood to SWOT process and the purpose of the expertise.

2. Brainstorming. 

  • Here you will start exploring the internal factors in relation to strengths and weaknesses. Divide the group into two and ask one group focus on the strengths and weaknesses and the other to focus on the external factors opportunities and threats.
  • Bring the groups back together to discuss as a whole and share their findings and ideas.

3. Narrow Down The Findings 

Once all four SWOT has been completed it’s time to consolidate the ideas presented on a large sheet. Start by focusing on one area and then work yourself down until all four has been completed and the main ideas have been agreed by the team.

4. Reflect and Review

Begin with the internal factors and review and reflect on what the team have agreed. Add this point you may add more ideas or take away other ideas you have agreed on.

From this task identify and decide on the major areas that you and your team need to focus on. Do this for all four SWOT areas.

5. Keep A Record Of Your SWOT Planning Session. 

Make sure that this session is recorded for future reference and all the agreed outputs have been noted. This will help you if need to refer back to it again.

Use these steps with your staff members so that everyone is aware and clear of the SWOT process and more importantly know what the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are of the organisation.

If you have used SWOT With any of your staff members leave your comments below and share your experience with others.

What was the outcome?

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