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EAF Steps

Consultation tools


To provide an appropriate forum for the identification, discussion and resolution of issues using input from multiple stakeholders or groups. These types of forums may be necessary for completing a number of different activities and steps during the EAF planning process.


Implementing the EAF planning process can often require the questioning and potentially changing embedded social institutions that relate to how the fishery is governed, the attitudes that are held by the participants and other stakeholders and the way we use and integrate scientific understanding into political decision making. To effectively bring about such change is not something governments can generally do without stakeholder input. The most viable option is therefore to work out how best for the fishers, other parts of society can work together with government in a partnership arrangement. Holding stakeholder workshops is a very good way to initiate or contribute to the formation of partnership approaches.

A stakeholder workshop involves a meeting of multiple stakeholders to:

  • involve these stakeholders in improving situations that affects them
  • form a useful social interaction that enables different individuals and groups, who are affected by an issue or initiative, to enter into dialogue, negotiate, learn, make decisions for collective action
  • get government staff, policy makers, community representatives, scientists, business people and NGO representatives to think and work better together

Workshops can combine training, development, team-building, communication, motivation and planning and usually have a clear purpose or output that is to be generated through the workshop process rather than just being an awareness raising exercise. Participation and involvement in workshops increases the sense of ownership and empowerment, and facilitates the development of the organisations and individuals involved. Workshops are effective in helping to manage or facilitate change, achieving improvement and particularly the creation of initiatives, plans, process and actions to achieve aims. They are also good for breaking down barriers, improving communications inside and outside of agencies, groups and communities.

The main steps to running a good workshop are:

  1. Determining who should be at the workshop
  2. Ensure a suitable date is set (there are a number of specific tools to assist set dates see below)
  3. Send out an agenda or topic or background material early enough for comments and for participants to have read the material
  4. Use a suitable venue that has all the equipment needed and that it is close to where participants are staying
  5. At the opening of the workshop, explain the background and context for the workshop, and the intended outcomes
  6. Get participants to introduce themselves and, if appropriate, conduct some sort of ice breaker that establishes rapport between participants and generates a few laughs
  7. Explain the agenda and process of the workshop and the role of the facilitator
  8. Invite participants or representatives to make a statement about what they would like to see achieved from the workshop
  9. Run the series of activities that will enable the objectives of the workshop to be achieved (there are many specific EAF based consultation tools to assist with this – see synergy section)
  10. Clarify the outcomes from the workshop and agree upon future actions
  11. Ask participants to provide an evaluation of the workshop (optional)
  12. Close the workshop by inviting participants to say what the workshop has meant for them
  13. Write up the workshop and provide a report to participants as soon as possible.

EAF Tool Tips

The complex and difficult social problems that are identified by the EAF process may require innovative solutions which are best created when diverse stakeholders are able to meet, share experiences, learn together and contribute to decisions. Moreover, the ultimate success of any potential way forward lies in developing the collective commitment and capacity to turn ideas and plans into action by all stakeholder groups. This can be achieved through facilitating workshops that involve multiple stakeholder groups which is essentially a form of social learning.

The workshop venue and the set up of the room should be conducive to good discussions. If it is in a lecture style room this will reduce input, try and have a surrounding or U shaped design and try to not have all the different groups sit together – mix them up so that they will interact

Have the venue close to where people are staying to avoid lost time in getting people to the workshop on time.

If there are more than 15 people have breakout sessions to try and get more input from those that will not talk in bigger groups. Especially relevant if one or two people are expected to dominate the discussions.

Workshops can be intensive and tiring. Don’t forget to give participants regular comfort breaks to stretch their legs, have a drink or get some fresh air.

EAF Tool Pedigree

Workshops are the most common form of consultation to gain input from a wide variety of stakeholders.

EAF Tool Synergy

This should be read in conjunction with the tools for facilitation. Similarly, each of the various steps for EAF has specific tools that are designed to be used in a workshop environment (e.g. brainstorming, component trees, risk assessment etc). The one workshop may be able to assist complete a number of EAF steps including scoping, issue identification and risk assessment prioritization and potentially even management options – or some subset of these.

EAF Tool Usage



Low, High

The cost will be determined by who has to attend, what is their capacity to attend, where it needs to be held, how much it will cost to get everyone there and what the cost of the venue if a professional facilitator is required.

The costs can be very small if everyone is local and the venue and facilitator are in-house. It can be very expensive if many people must travel some distance to an expensive location or where a formal venue (e.g. hotel) is used with a professional facilitator and the workshop technical equipment needs to be hired.

EAF Tool Capacity


Some level of facilitation skills and experience is required.

Background Requirements

Low – Moderate

No additional knowledge than is already available is needed, but in some cases importing outside expertise may assist.


Moderate - High

This should provide a reasonable level of participation but will not include everyone if they are not able to attend

Time Range

Short – Moderate

The workshop may only take from a few hours up to one or two days to run but it may take months to organize

Source of Information

Workshop Tips

The following website has a number of tools and descriptions that can be used in workshops: http://portals.wi.wur.nl/msp.

Date Planning Tools

With all the different calendars making appointments to organize people to attend a workshop can often be a huge task. There are web tools that make the process a lot easier. Someone chooses a number of suitable dates, and stakeholders can indicate which dates suit them: Meeting Planner: (http://www.meetingwizard.com), event planner (http://www.datumprikker.nl) and Doodle (http://www.doodle.ch/)


When you are holding a stakeholder workshops it is important that these are run effectively and efficiently. Below are some universal tips to help any workshop run more smoothly.

  • Prior to the workshop, identify and agree the aim to be addressed. You can invite suggestions from stakeholders if appropriate. This can sometimes maximise commitment and empowerment.
  • Make sure you think through the structure of the workshop and have all the materials ready before you start.
  • Consider carefully who to invite to the workshop. Try to get as many of the right people as possible in the same room. Determine who needs to attend the meeting. This can include those that are essential (if they can’t attend the workshop should not proceed), those who should attend but are not critical and others who are essentially optional. A stakeholder analysis may be needed to determine who is needed.
  • Set a suitable date and venue for the meeting and issue an agenda. Is there any background information you can send participants before they come to the workshop? This is a good time to send it.
  • The agenda should define the purpose of the meeting, list the agenda items and time allotments, and include any reference materials that should be reviewed prior to the meeting.
  • Have the agenda and meeting goals on a blackboard or flipchart in the meeting room. This will help keep the team members focused on the tasks at hand. Follow the agenda, start on time and end on time.
  • Think about the atmosphere and group dynamic you want to set with your participants. Are you looking for a straightforward, businesslike and direct approach? Or will your participants feel more at ease in a creative, relaxed and fun atmosphere?
  • Make sure you have a range of materials to use during the session. Put together flip charts, notebooks, sticky notes, coloured markers, sticky tape, pens and pencils for the stakeholders to use.
  • Your meeting should have a facilitator, either the meeting leader or another designated individual. The role of the facilitator is to keep the discussion focused on the topic, stay on the agenda, and stay on time. The facilitator controls the meeting by establishing time limits, listing specific agenda items, defining the purpose of the meeting, and controlling the discussions.
  • Make introductions, have team members introduce themselves and tell where they work or what they do.
  • Use a warm-up activity, sometimes called an icebreaker. This activity serves two purposes: 1) it promotes participation and communication; and 2) it encourages stakeholder team building.
  • Have the team members develop and agree upon meeting ground rules. These agreements establish norms for participant behavior and define how the meeting will be conducted.
  • Encourage participation from all stakeholders ensure that no one person or group dominates the discussion.
  • If decisions are to be made determine how this will occur. There are a number of methods to make decisions ranging from voting to building consensus. A majority vote decision method requires support from more than 50% of the members of the group and can be accomplished through voting, either by a show of hands or written secret ballot. One method is to use the stick dot approach see non-formal prioritization method fact sheet for more details.
  • Keep the discussion focused on the agenda items to avoid investing time where team members discuss items that are extraneous to the agenda. The comments may be interesting, but they are not likely productive to the meeting’s goals.
  • Park issues that are important, but unrelated to the specific agenda in a “Parking Lot” by recording them on the flipchart or blackboard for future consideration or agendas.
  • Prior to adjourning the meeting summarize the results and conclusions from the meeting; record any actions or assignments, who is responsible to complete them, and timeline for each action.
  • Use a check-out to end the meeting. A check-out is an opportunity for stakeholders to share their thoughts on how the meeting went, what worked well and what could be done to improve future meetings.

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