Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0257, May 23, 2006 ....
 

Dear friends,

Many trainers I speak with wrestle with the desire to be more facilitative and interactive in the training they conduct. At the same time, they are concerned about delivering enough content to satisfy their participants. This is particularly an issue in "information rich" fields such as information technology, science and engineering.

This is an issue I wrestle with myself. As a former electrical engineer, there's just so much information to share and I want to do it in the most expedient fashion. Unfortunately, a love of information coupled with efficient delivery contributes more to student overwhelm than to learning.

So if you are an information junkie who wrestles to balance content delivery with healthy and engaging learning processes, this week's article, "Shed Your "Content" Security Blanket," offers some tips for you to consider.


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Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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The Point


Shed Your "Content" Security Blanket
Using content sparingly in your training leaves room for more
interaction, engagement, and connection with your participants.


Group Process Skill


Many trainers I speak with wrestle with the desire to be more facilitative and interactive in the training they conduct. At the same time, they are concerned about delivering enough content to satisfy their participants. This is particularly an issue in "information rich" fields such as information technology, science and engineering.

This is an issue I wrestle with myself. As a former electrical engineer, there's just so much information to share and I want to do it in the most expedient fashion. Unfortunately, a love of information coupled with efficient delivery contributes more to student overwhelm than to learning.

So if you are an information junkie who wrestles to balance content delivery with healthy and engaging learning processes, here are some tips for you to consider.

Application


1. Keep the quantity of your content to a minimum. If you are a content junky, then at least have two versions--a detailed version you can pull in if needed and a one-page, or less summary. Bottom line here is to come in "light" on content. Otherwise, you'll have the tendency to try to "cover" it all and end up covering up opportunities for your participants to participate. Deliver content necessary for the training to participants before the group meets.

2. Build trust. Many of us were punished in our early years for being overly eager to participate. Participants will ask questions, share experiences, and otherwise contribute to your discussions only if they feel it's safe to do so. That means no criticism coupled with an appreciate attitude to all contributions.

3. Model a collaborative learning environment. Set the tone right up front by tending more toward dialogue than lecture. Ask questions and wait for the answers. This will require silence now and then. Learn to deal with that if it's uncomfortable for you. Take a long slow deep breath in and out before jumping in again.

4. Be present. This is the opposite of relying on your content. By being available to the energy in the room and the particular collective intelligence gathered, you'll be inspired to ask certain questions and make certain observations that will inspire a "deeper" cut which translates into a richer experience and deeper learning. Again, attend to your breath to help you here. The voice mirror is also great tool to help you stay present.

6. Trust in the brilliance and experience of your participants.
Letting go of your content security blanket requires trust and faith. Trusting that your participants have something important and relevant to share in the moment and faith that you'll be able to sense when they do and when they don't.

7. Release your need for attention, to be right, and have all the answers. Standing up in front of a room to do a good job of leading or training a group takes a lot of guts and a lot of talent. It also takes a certain amount of ego--an ego that has found some degree of comfort being in the limelight and on the spot. Yet empowering your participants to share this limelight with you will require you to share this spotlight with them. If you're willing to try this, I think you'll find that cultivating an ability to empower others is often more satisfying than being center stage.


Action
 

Which of the actions above will you take this week to lighten your attachment to content? What new actions or changes, if any will you take as a result of these tips. Just click reply and type them directly into this email.

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