Early in your training session the facilitator must clarify basic housekeeping concerns as identified below. Although they are necessary, you don’t want to burn too much time on these or gobble of prime learning time.
1. Establish ground rules or working agreements so that all participants know the group norms and expectations. Frequently it is best just to ask the group to identify three to five for themselves.
2. Ask the participants to articulate their expectations for the session. Ask them to tell the others what they would like to learn or get out of the session.
3. If participants don’t know everyone, provide time for introductions. Note however that a common facilitator mistake is to let introductions go on too long. It not only slows down the training, but it also burns up prime learning time when the participants are at their freshest. Don’t forget to introduce yourself (keep it warm, brief, personal, and humble).
4. Give the group your facilitation framework. This includes two basic items:
5. The goals of the session
6. A road map indicating how you will achieve those goals—your outline or agenda.
7. Define terms if necessary. To save time, you may want to have terms defined in a handout or printed on newsprint and pasted around the room.
8. Check for agreement, “Is this a good way for us to spend our time together?”
9. Introduce your topic with an opening that sets the tone for the session. For example, if you expect the participants to discuss throughout the workshop, it may be helpful to get them talking early in the session. If the participants sit and listen to long trainer lecture, they will learn that they are to be passive in the session and it will be harder to get them actively discussing later on.
Whatever introductory approach you use, it should accomplish the following:
· It should stimulate interest and engage the learners
· It should set the learning tone.
· It should indicate how you want the learners to engage with the material and each other
· It should provoke participant thinking
· It should launch the material toward your learning goals