“It takes an extraordinary intelligence to contemplate the obvious.” Alfred North Whitehead
I’ve facilitated train the trainer and presentation skills workshops both nationally and internationally for many many years. But it was gently pointed out to me in a recent workshop that I’ve been debriefing facilitation practices backwards!
Let me explain. In my train the trainer workshops, participants learn how to create participatory lesson plans and design participatory learning activities. For the last day, they design a 10-minute learning activity at a learning level of application or above. This is on a topic relevant to the other participants in an activity they have never facilitated before.
In debriefing, I’ve always asked for the observers’ feedback regarding the strengths of the … Read the rest
“I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” Jimi Hendrix
I just attended a three- day marketing seminar conducted by a self-proclaimed curriculum design expert. It was very disappointing to see once again what happens when a trainer ignores the basics and sets learners up to fail.
She made ten glaring mistakes. We covered the first five in last week’s Tip. Here are mistakes 6-10:
- Never hold a one-on-one conversation with a participant in response to a question or comment that many could not hear.
Instead, repeat every question and comment before you answer it. This is both a courtesy and a necessity for those who might have shared the same concern or confusion and needed … Read the rest
“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” Mark Twain
Over the years, the term “lecturette” has been used to reinforce the idea that trainers should keep their lectures brief, limited to no more than 10 minutes. After that, trainers are encouraged to give their participants an opportunity to interact with the information, either to check their comprehension or allow them to test or apply what they have learned.
A lightning talk is a conference presentation that, like lightning, beams a brief flash of light that strikes to the core of a discrete subject. It is a concise, clear and insightful form of communication. It is also very quick, typically 3-6 minutes and definitely … Read the rest
“No matter how small and unimportant what we are doing may seem, if we do it well, it may soon become the step that will lead us to better things.” Channing Pollock
I recently had the challenge of conducting a train the trainer program for two participants.
I feared that the learning experience would be less rich than it would be with a larger group. Much of the learning in any training program occurs during interactions between participants, both during the training and during breaks. Larger groups also generate much more dynamic energy than two individuals can possibly generate.
The small group would limit the number of perspectives that could be shared and the interpersonal learning that could occur. When … Read the rest
“Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.” Thomas Carlyle
I just audited a workshop and the experience gave me a renewed appreciation for all of the things that a facilitator should NOT do when in front of a class:
- Do NOT begin the training session and introduce yourself while standing behind half of the participants. Stand where everyone can easily see you.
- Do NOT leave any participants sitting alone and isolated from the rest of the group. Make sure that all participants are seated with 4 or 5 other people.
- Do NOT tell the participants that: “You will get sick of us.” That thought may not have occurred to the participants until you brought it up.
- Do NOT tell
“Every choice you make has an end result.” Zig Ziglar
I recently reviewed a number of 20-minute videos of trainers in a global organization. I found three major issues. First, there was a heavy reliance on PowerPoint. Second, there was a huge amount of information. Third, it was unclear what the audience was supposed to do with the information.
Let’s look at the issues, one at a time.
When I say that there was a heavy reliance on PowerPoint, this is what I saw:
1. The slides were filled with text.
2. The text was too small to see from the back of the room.
3. The trainers read the slides to the participants.
4. The PowerPoint slides comprised the … Read the rest