Keep the Best Training Facilitator when You Find Them!
What characteristics make the best training facilitator?
The Significance of a Good Facilitator: Because Not Everyone Can Babysit Adults
Alright, we’re about to discuss the unsung heroes of workshops, seminars, and training sessions: facilitators. Yes, those people who somehow manage to keep your team from nodding off or staging a mass exodus.
So let’s get straight to the point now and waffle on later. A good facilitator can be the difference between a productive learning experience and an expensive nap-fest. Here’s why you should care about finding someone who can engage adult learners instead of euthanizing them.
Why you Require the Best Training Facilitator Skills
1. Adults Learn Differently to Children: Andragogy vs Pedagogy:
They’re adults with jobs, bills, and a dwindling attention span. A skilled facilitator knows how to appeal to the grown-ups in the room without diminishing them to a daycare center.
2. Learning Content Requires First-class Communication:
Sure, your content might be groundbreaking and earth-shattering, but guess what? If you can’t communicate it effectively, it’s as useless as a screen door on a submarine. Facilitators bridge the gap between your content genius and the participants’ understanding. Get someone who can translate your jargon into plain English without making everyone’s eyes glaze over!
Facilitators must have wicked communication skills and be able to view content from the learners’ perspective.
3. The Good Facilitator: Creative, Emotional Intelligence and Humour
People Skills Trump PhDs:
Contrary to popular belief, a PhD doesn’t automatically translate to being a charismatic and engaging speaker. A facilitator with phenomenal people skills can connect with your audience, read the room, and adapt on the fly. It’s not just about regurgitating information; it’s about creating an environment where learning can thrive. I’ve found that academics like to become lecturers, not facilitators. This can stifle the learning experience.
4. Problem Solver Extraordinaire: Facilitators Pivot
Let’s face it – things go wrong. Technology fails, participants get restless, and occasionally someone prints the wrong handouts. A good facilitator doesn’t panic; they pivot. They’re the MacGyver of the training room, solving problems on the fly and ensuring the show goes on without turning into a circus.
I’ve worked with facilitators who were just so unassuming and brilliant. But some sneered at any type of direction. It was like “My Room, My Rules” which belonged in the 1970’s! These are the facilitators who think of participants as their audience, you know, “the sage on the stage”.
5. Because Time is Money:
You’re not running a charity here. Every minute your participants spend in a session costs money, whether it’s in salaries, resources, or snacks. A skilled facilitator keeps things moving, maximizes the use of time, and ensures that every moment spent in the session is a step toward your educational and economic development goals.
Become the Best Training Facilitator
Facilitation is an art, and skilled facilitators employ various techniques to create engaging and effective learning experiences.
List of Best Training Facilitator Tips, Tools and Tricks
Here’s a list of some interesting facilitation techniques that showcase the expertise of these specialists in the learning chain:
11 Best Training Facilitator Hacks
1. Facilitation Icebreakers with a Purpose:
- Skilled facilitators use icebreakers not just for laughs but to set the tone for the session and create a comfortable learning environment. They choose activities that align with the learning objectives and encourage participants to connect on a personal and professional level.
2. Socratic Questioning: (my supercharged favourite technique)
- Forget spoon-feeding information. Facilitators who know their stuff use Socratic questioning to stimulate critical thinking. They guide participants to discover answers on their own and inspire a deeper understanding to the subject matter. Socratic questioning is like an ignition.
3. Role-playing and Simulations:
- Good facilitators turn theory into practice through role-playing and simulations. They create scenarios that mirror real-life situations, allowing participants to apply knowledge in a safe environment and learn from the experience.
4. Fishbowl Discussions:
- Instead of the tired old lecture format, facilitators set up fishbowl discussions where a small group engages in a conversation while the larger group observes. This technique promotes active listening and provides a model for effective communication.
5. Gallery Walks:
- To break the monotony, facilitators organize gallery walks where information is displayed around the room. Participants move freely, absorbing content at their own pace. It’s an effective way to cater to different learning styles and preferences.
6. Mind Mapping:
- Facilitators skilled in visual learning use mind-mapping techniques. They encourage participants to create visual representations of concepts, fostering creativity, and aiding memory retention.
7. Technology Integration:
- Specialists in facilitation leverage technology beyond the standard PowerPoint. They use interactive tools, online platforms, and multimedia elements to enhance engagement and create a dynamic learning experience.
8. The World Café Method:
- This technique involves creating a café-like atmosphere where small groups discuss specific topics. After each round, participants switch tables, bringing fresh perspectives to the discussions. It’s an excellent way to encourage diverse thinking and collaboration.
9. Peer Teaching:
- Facilitators understand that participants learn not just from them but from each other. They incorporate peer teaching sessions where individuals or groups present topics, reinforcing their own understanding while providing a different voice to the learning process.
10. Reflection and Debriefing:
- Skilled facilitators know that learning isn’t complete without reflection. They build in time for participants to debrief and discuss what they’ve learned, connecting the dots between theory and application.
11. Open Space Technology:
- Facilitators sometimes adopt the open space approach, allowing participants to self-organize into smaller groups based on their interests or concerns. This participant-driven technique ensures that the agenda addresses the most relevant and pressing issues.
Remember, a great facilitator is not just a talking head. They’re architects of learning experiences, weaving together various techniques to create a tapestry of engagement, understanding, and skill development.