Many years ago I attended some excellent training in facilitation skills. Perhaps the most important thing I learned from this training was the importance of the first five minutes in a training session. If you want to create an inclusive and open learning environment, it is crucial to get the participants talking within the first five minutes. This may be as simple as a quick group introduction around the room or involve a more interactive icebreaker. It establishes the type of behaviour you would like in the session, immediately breaks down any barriers and gets people exercising their vocal chords. They become active, not passive, participants. Now every time I prepare and deliver training I make a mental note to check that my participants have the opportunity to speak within the first five minutes.