5 Tips for Facilitators
Whether you are a 20 year veteran Trainer, or recently hired to immerse new employees, facilitators face many of the same challenges and rewards. The two usually go hand in hand. I’ve experienced that preparing, practicing, and owning your content for an important training session aren’t the only key ingredients for success.
1. Know Your Audience. Learning as adults brings different expectations. WHIIFM, or ‘What’s In It For Me’ is common thought for an attendee. Because this can have such a high influence on participation, collaboration of ideas, and good energy, it is really important to identify ‘Why’ we are all here. And then leverage a buy-in from your audience. Do as much pre-work as possible that allows you to understand the motivations of certain people that have organized or are attending the training session.
2. A Good Night’s Rest. It seems so simple right? I can’t tell you the amount of times I have dropped into a city after 30+ hours of travel, and having only a precious few hours left to check into my hotel, find some decent food, and get some sleep. Check your presentation, and make sure all your slides are error free and updated. Are all of your videos playing properly? Are all of your devices charged? And if part of your client obligations is to attend a welcome cocktail reception with the audience the night before, my trick is to drink Club Soda with a wedge of lime. My head always thanks me the next morning!
3. Allow for Imperfection. This is one I learned the hard way. “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Duly noted Robert Burns! “Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in-between.” In complete agreement Maya Angelou. Understanding this will only keep your sanity when you are five minutes away from the audience coming through the door and the AV connection mysteriously throws you a curveball, or the WIFI decides to drop out, or the room set up that was agreed upon three weeks ago requires a massive overhaul. Charm, wit, a calm demeanor, and the knowledge that your best-laid plans will eventually rebound are your friends.
4. Connection before Content. This is so true of life but also especially important with creating a rapport with your audience. Our CXO (Chief Xperience Officer) Andre Wiringa is the champion behind this approach. Certainly look to align any of your experience with the audience’s industry and business. Praise any individuals that have already helped you in preparation of the session. Recognize certain attendees’ roles and successes, or accomplishments they have achieved as a company. Even remind everyone with a holistic view of company mission statements, or brand values. Interact with your audience from the outset of the session before diving into the agenda and content.
5. Have Fun! As adults in the workplace we tend to discount the use of fun, or playfulness as factors for learning. Create a playlist of music, and master the art of coercing an audience’s mood through music. Encouraging your audience through icebreakers, playful exercises and smaller bits of learning moments only contributes to an ‘A-Ha!’ moment.
Who doesn’t love a list? What’s more is that we also love crossing things off our lists. An influencer that our company references often, Simon Sinek, states in his book ‘Leaders Eat Last’ that our brains receive a shot of dopamine when we cross things off our ‘to do list’.
Perhaps these tips can turn into your Facilitator ‘to do list’ the next time you deliver your session…and consider the shot of Dopamine a gift.