A World Class Facilitator is at the Heart of being a Professional Consultant and Trainer Part 3

In this series of blogs I’m going to share learning and experiences I have compiled from years of facilitating, running workshops and coaching potential facilitators and consultants as well as designing World Class development programmes for World Class companies.

Good facilitators understand that Knowledge alone is NOT king, but combining knowledge with skill and having the right attitude is the correct combination that raises one’s capability to achieve greater things.

So, in this blog, let’s have a look at more of the basics……

Use of materials and you

There are a number of different methods of passing on information when facilitating a course.

Slides

  • Don’t use colours for the sake of it. Only use colours on a slide if it helps the participants understand, not just to make the slide pretty
  • Rapid/frequent changing of slides distracts the participants, make change deliberate
  • Make sure your slides are in good condition and clear to read
  • Always have a duplicate set of slides on a memory stick in the facilitators box just in case
  • Make sure the writing on the slides is big enough to be seen. Adjust the projector until the writing is clear enough to read

Flip charts

  • Writing must be tidy and legible. Print in small case as it is easier for participant to read. If you feel you can’t write fast enough on a flipchart, practice until you are good at it.
  • Put the flipchart where everyone can see it easily (especially when you are using it)
  • If you are right handed, don’t stand with the flipchart on your right if you intend to actually draw or write on it. Standing to the left means you will not block the line of sight of the group. Obviously, the opposite applies if you are left handed
  • Prepare charts in advance wherever possible. Leave a blank sheet in between each chart, to avoid show-through.
  • When asking for group input record replies word for word – don’t summarise. If the sentence is too long, ask them to summarise in a few words. If you change their input, they lose ownership for it
  • If someone else writes on the flipchart for you, make sure the follow the point above
  • If you need to refer to one flipchart, and write on another, use two stands – don’t flick between pages on the pad

 Discussion

  • Letting the participants discuss items is crucial to their learning
  • You as the facilitator are there to direct verbal traffic so that everybody has chance to make their opinion known to the group, not just a comment to the person next door
  • Use control techniques to keep the discussion to the point, and close down contributions that are wasting time – but remember to do this sensitively
  • Watch carefully for people who want to contribute – shy people give visual indication, and wait for your engagement – eye contact, open hand gesture, “any other points?”
  • Don’t pick on people by name, unless they invite you to draw them into the conversation
  • Always return to a questioner, check their question has been answered

Talking

  • Used only to introduce a topic, or to offer examples/explanations
  • In technical facilitating, talking is necessary to cover the information – but the talking should be the minimum required to deliver the content you wish to share
  • NEVER make a presentation over 10 mins without stopping for questions/comments

Hand-outs

  • Make sure you hand them out!
  • Hand out at the right time. You don’t want people discussing the material while you are explaining something else
  • Where possible, hand out materials as a booklet or manual, so that there are not 1000 individual pieces of paper flying about the room

Practice

  • This is when participants consolidate their learning by putting theory into practice
  • Encourage all participants to practice in the exercises
  • Leave instructions for an exercise up on overhead flipchart, so everyone can refer to this during the practice. DO NOT think they’ll remember the instructions – they won’t!
  • Prevent “show offs” from running everything in their group. Ensure that all participants are given space to “have a go”
  • During practice sessions, go around the groups frequently to check on progress and answer individual questions
  • Debrief practice sessions by keeping the discussion focused on learning and action steps

 

Don’t forget to get in touch with us for more details or a friendly chat about “what” we do and “how” we do it….

Martin Gummery

Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd

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