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Advanced Session Planner features
Advanced Session Planner features

Explore the more advanced features of the Session Planner and create more complex sessions that meet all of your facilitation needs

Andy avatar
Written by Andy
Updated over a week ago

Using groups

As you begin designing longer and more complex workshops in SessionLab, you’ll likely create agendas with several distinct sections for the various stages of a workshop or for separate morning and afternoon events.

With SessionLab, you can use groups to gather a series of blocks together and make the process of moving and adjusting them easy. You can drag and drop entire groups around the Session Planner and you can also find and reuse groups of blocks in future sessions.

You might have a sequence of related activities for closing or debriefing a session or for guiding a group through conflict resolution – add these into a group so you can find and reuse them easily!

After you’ve created a group, you simply need to drag your chosen blocks into the group and that will lock them in place. You can then move the group and all the associated groups and timings will update accordingly.

Don’t forget to give your group a name that means you and any collaborators can identify it easily!

You can also lock the start time of your groups. This is especially useful when you’re still early in the design stage and are figuring out how to spend your allocated time.

For example, you might know that your morning session will run for three hours, but are still deciding on the specific exercises or activities you’ll use, and how long each one will individually run for. Locking the times of your groups can ensure you keep to your schedule while still having space to be creative!

The Block Details tab

You may wish to add more details once your agenda is in place. You can find the Block Details tab if you click on the diagonal arrow icon in the right-hand side of any block:

Here you can add specific goals for the activity, list the materials needed, add links to any websites or online whiteboards, and add longer instructions for your blocks if you need them.

By default, this information will be present in the detailed printout view and with some customization options in the PDF and Word printout table view. (You can find out more about this in our support article about PDF and Word exports).

When using the Block Details tab you can also record the materials you need for running that activity. Whether it’s stationery, objects, or even software, it’s worth noting the materials you need to effectively run every part of your session.

Once you’ve added items to the bullet-pointed list in the materials section, you will then be able to find a summary of all the materials you added to your session under the Session Info tab in the right-hand sidebar.

Adding all of your necessary materials to your session means you can easily see what you might need to prepare or order ahead of running your session. No more turning up without enough pens or missing a crucial element of an activity!

Adding attachments

Many workshops and meetings include handouts, external resources or images that can help the facilitator lead the session or are integral to a specific activity.

In SessionLab, you can attach files to any block in your session for safekeeping and easy use. Whenever you copy, duplicate or reuse a block, these attachments are preserved to cut down on busywork and ensure all collaborators have access to what they need to run a session effectively.

You can also see an overview of all attachments for a session by clicking in the Attachments tab in the right-hand sidebar.

On the same tab, you can find a ‘Download all’ button that will create a zip file of all the uploaded attachments for this session. Bear in mind that this will only contain the files uploaded to SessionLab and not the files linked to via Google Drive, Dropbox or Office 365.

If you’re working in a team or as part of an organization, we recommend linking to the relevant Google Drive, Dropbox or Office 365 files. Anyone attempting to access those files will need access privileges on the platform of your choice and so you can effectively control who has access.

For example, you might have an executive meeting session and want to include a link to sensitive internal documents in your Google Drive. By attaching the Google link, only those people whose Google accounts have access can see those files in your Drive.

If you’re working with clients or collaborators outside your organization who you want to have access to attachments without needing to use another service, we recommend uploading your materials directly to SessionLab. This way, everyone has access and your attachments are all accessible in one place.

Adding inline images

Images, graphs, and slides are a common element of many activities and sessions. Adding inline images to your blocks can help ensure you have everything you need to facilitate a session or provide clear instructions for co-facilitators.

You can add images directly to the Description or Additional information section of your blocks or into any field in the Block details tab in the right-hand sidebar. When you add an inline image, it will also appear as an attachment.

Using notes

Ideas can arrive at any time and often when you least expect them. While working on your session, you might have a concept for an activity or some thoughts about your closing discussion you might want to record for later or pass onto a collaborator. The Parking Lot tab is the perfect place to put ideas, activities in-progress, or potential blocks.

You can also drag and drop any block into the Parking Lot tab for safe-keeping. Think of the Parking Lot tab as a parking lot for ideas, as well as what blocks you’re still debating on adding to your session.

The Session Info tab

The Session Info tab is where you’ll collect all the basic information about your session, such as the date, client, and description. This is particularly useful when collaborating and sharing sessions, or when you have a lot of sessions to organize.

You can access the Session Info tab by clicking on the icon in the right-hand sidebar.

In the Session Info tab, you can set the date of your session, the client you may be running the session with, and add a detailed description too. You can also add tags to your sessions to help keep everything in your workspace organized.

Remember you and any collaborators can sort sessions by date, client, and tags, so it’s well worth inputting this information to help make the process easy for everyone involved.

The description section is a great place to add workshop objectives or goals, links to any online whiteboards or shared documents, and to outline and preparatory steps the facilitator or your participants might need to make.

You can also see a summary of all the materials you need to run the session and adjust your color-coded categories too.

Finally, you can also set the time zone for your session in the Session Info tab. Setting this in your session will show the time zone which the session is in, and session collaborators opening the agenda will see it displayed in the session information tab on the right side.

Exporting your sessions

You can export your sessions as PDFs or Word documents and also customize your printouts to fit your needs and ensure your session runs smoothly.

Exporting to PDF is the easiest way of generating a beautiful, customizable printout you can share digitally or print and take with you to your workshop or meeting.

Aside from choosing from several print presets for displaying your session, you have various PDF customization options too. Customizing your printout to your needs can help ensure you have everything you need to run an effective session. You can adjust the font size, choose what information you’d like to display in the third column, whether to include a category legend and a list of materials, and adjust the page format too.

If you prefer to edit your printout directly, SessionLab also supports a Word export for users on a Pro or Business Plan. However you choose to export your session, remember that you’re in control, and can go back and add / edit details for individual blocks or your whole session as you see fit!

Adding a logo to your exports can help ensure consistency and professionalism when presenting materials to clients or participants. You can adjust the logo on your PDF printout on your Workspace's account page by workspace admins (if you’re on a Pro plan).

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