Skip to main content

Facilitating Ain't Lecturing

     As a facilitator and trainer, I realize that both lend themselves to less skilled people turning each role into a college classroom for bored teens just trying to get through to the next class.  Facilitating requires that the facilitator guide discussion, control the environment where the discussion takes place, and generally move the discourse along.  A good facilitator is almost invisible in the room.  They take charge and step in and out of the discussion at the right times.  They step in to ask questions that open the floor up to the participants' opinions and learning.  They make sure the entire meeting runs on time and no one bogs down the flow.  They step out when appropriate to direct the attention to the people who matter in the discourse.  They shut down the talkers, command respect for the speakers and themselves, and they bring their own personal style or touch (professionalism, humor).
     A trainer acts in much the same way and also contributes wisdom and learning.  The trainer takes the learner to a point of understanding and to new information.  The trainer turns old information into refreshed information that is useful and increased in value.  The trainer makes the environment conducive to receiving content in a relaxed setting where there are no distractions but an increased interest in what's happening in the room.  The trainer does not lecture but helps the learner to experience the lesson through sound, words, visuals, music, laughter, color, lights, and human contact.  A trainer delivers enlightenment.
     When any of these skills is absent between these two roles, the facilitator and trainer devolves into lecturing.  The trainer/facilitator is now professorial and bordering on boring.  They run the highest risk of losing the attention of their learners because now they are bombarding the human mind with information that piles up and has nowhere else to go.  It collects in the brain with little opportunity to process it and do something useful with it.  In order for the influx of information to be collected, stored and used, the listener has to have a chance to put what they've learned into practice.  Any time the person at the front of the room denies his or her participants this benefit, whatever they are teaching is lost in large part to boredom and information fatigue.  Lecturing is for people who lack creativity in teaching.  Engage your audience.  It's about them.

Popular posts from this blog

He Said, She Said

It seems like everywhere we turn today in the news, there are accusations being made between men and women.  Those accusations are of a serious nature and are costing people on both sides in life-altering ways.  Sexual misconduct and abuse, physical abuse, and gender bias are among the many claims being made mostly by women against men.  These men are usually in positions of power.  Therefore, they are in a prime position to commit the crimes and bad behavior they are accused of without a lot of resistance initially from their victims.
     But something has happened lately.  What was once too shameful to speak about out loud is now front and center for all the world to see.  What was perpetrated behind closed doors has now been shoved out in the open by a chorus of voices saying it happened to #MeToo.  One of the difficult angles in these revelations is how the rest of us receives these stories.  Many people without hesitation take sides with the women who are accusing the men.…

Taming the Tongue

I was studying the Bible today because part of my life is spent as a Bible student and Sunday School teacher.  I enjoy reading it because of the many life lessons it holds.  Today's scripture has everything to do with communications.  And since this is a communications blog, I will refer to the verses I read in it just like I would in any book where I find something worth repeating.  In the book of James, chapter three, James is talking about talking--specifically cursing, lying, gossiping, boasting, and a bunch of other things we say that we shouldn't.  These behaviors are born out of one small part of our bodies that we all lose control of along with our brains at varying points in our lives.  But when we lose control, we amass large amounts of grief for ourselves and others.

     Beginning at verse three, he describes this failure of ours.  "When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. …

Words That Heal (Especially After That Big Loss Last Night)

If you stayed up late last night to experience the end of the big College National Championship game, you saw a nail biter and a fantastic finish.  For those of us who didn't have a team in the fight, it was pure entertainment.  But for the Georgia students who fought in that battle and lost, it was a bitter pill to swallow.  They likely woke up this morning feeling like they were having a hangover.        Any sports fanatic will tell you that a loss to the team is also a loss for them personally.  They feel similar (not necessarily the same) pain as the players even though they haven't stepped a foot out, in or on the field, court, track or pool.  It stings pretty badly.  Even though Alabama won this time, they know all too well what it feels like since they experienced the same defeat last year against Clemson.      So how do you get  past the pain?  What can you say to assuage those melancholy feelings that stick around for the next few days and even months?  These qu…