Becoming a Highly Effective Facilitator
Andragogy (AN-DRUH-GAH-GEE): Try saying that three times fast. It’s harder to pronounce than it is to understand. All it means is that adults learn differently than children. When we’re young, we learn mostly through lecture, memorization and repetition. As adults, we learn by doing. Being actively involved in the learning process, adult learners process and remember more information.
So how can you become the kind of facilitator that impacts adult learning and “wows” your participants? With practice, and understanding the levels of learning (Awareness, Acquisition, Application, and Transfer), you’re bound to lead a more effective and memorable discussion.
Here are critical skills that a facilitator needs to possess to be effective:
- Questioning: A variety of questioning techniques elicits group or individual responses and create active participation. Types of questions to include: Direct, Redirected, Reverse, and Group.
- Listening: Good facilitators actively listen to their participants. This encourages a clear line of communication between the workshop leader and his/her attendees.
- Mixed Media: Flip charts and PowerPoint help give structure, momentum and focus to a workshop. Keep in mind that handwriting, color, font and layout can add or disrupt to your workshop.
- Body Language: A strong facilitator controls participants in a variety of ways. If you are leading a discussion to highlight important information, stand in the front of the room. Alternatively, when you want to increase participation or relinquish control of the room, sit with the group or stand/float around the room.
- Transitioning: Transitioning from one talking point to another links content for the participants. Include benefit statements in your transitions, this encourages buy-in and motivates individuals to learn.
- Feedback: Providing balanced feedback allows the facilitator to keep participants informed as to if they are on track with the workshop goals. Feedback should always be accurate and objective.
- Time Management: Pace your presentation and allot time for breaks. Be specific about when you want participants to finish an activity or return from lunch. This eliminates the guesswork of when you can expect everyone to return.
You’ll need expert skills in Questioning and Transitioning for the problem participant. Participants who dominate the discussion or become argumentative can affect the entire group’s learning.
If you have a Dominant or Argumentative individual, try these tricks:
- Reseat the entire group
- Avoid eye contact and focus your attention toward others
- Address their concerns during a break
- Agree that people can “agree to disagree”
Understanding how participants learn, and using the skills above, you’ll create an engaging and memorable training experience.
Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com. Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company