4 Simple ways of preparing to facilitate a group session effectively.

As a facilitator, teacher, team leader or just a person expecting to conduct a group session that involves learning then you fall into either of three groups; the anxious, the freestylers or the overthinking and overdoing ones. If not, then perhaps you have picked up a few tips of preparing for your gathering. Here are four simple ways of making sure you hack the delivery of content for your group sessions.

1) Read your material … and a little more
If your sessions are based on a curriculum or preset learning substance, the first and perhaps most important thing to do is to be conversant with what you intend to teach. Reading beforehand ensures that you understand, in detail, your content and deliverables. Furthermore, getting information from other sources like articles, blogs and research from credible sites in the internet gives you an added advantage. You can also seek views from experts (more experienced facilitators or teachers also apply) engaged in what you do. The extra effort qualifies you from textbook teacher to a resourceful educator. Facilitating learning is transactional and we can’t give that which we do not have. Enrich yourself with exciting insights that you can share with your group.

2) Organize your delivery by summarizing and prioritizing the main takeaways.
As proven by research, most people only retain 17% – 25% of what they listen to. Therefore, our five or ten minutes allowance for delivery has to be spent precisely for the learning to be effective. A simple way of achieving this is organizing your content into a few intriguing and memorable parts/points. You can do a list (not a long one preferably) like this article, marking the key points that the group should focus on. It is easier to recall three main points as compared to a long important ‘freestyled speech’. Furthermore, organizing your delivery in accordance to importance makes it easier for the learners to digest and absorb information.

3. Envision your execution from start to finish.
Imagining how you will deliver your facilitation directly programs and prepares your mind and body for the actual session. This is a technique that is used by prominent performers because of one simple reason — imagining triggers our internal comprehension of what to expect and how we would perform in the context of the actual experience which directly affects the real execution for the better. The benefits of this ranges from having an objective delivery(goal oriented), reducing tension, increasing attention and focus to adaptability for the sessions that do not turn out as expected. Didn’t Einstein say that “imagination is more important than knowledge”?

4. Learn from what you intend to teach.
A good student makes a good teacher. What have you taken in or mastered from what you would like to share with others? Has it been important to you? In what ways? Experience is the best teacher. Apply the knowledge you have obtained in your daily living and observe the usefulness accrued. Reflect on aspects of your experiences that either reinforce or can be made better with the information you now have and will soon share with others. This step helps us deeper understand the lessons we shall give imprinting them to the essence and simplicity of our who we are. Upon execution there is sharing of experience through relatable stories. Stories affect us in an inherently good way. We remember easiest what we felt. As the teacher you won’t have to write down every key point and the learner is relieved of the burden of notetaking. We learn from experience.

“If we fail to plan, we plan to fail,” said Benjamin Franklin so many years ago. Facilitating learning is a skill that is honed several times before the time of the event or execution. Enjoy your time behind the scenes.
All the best in your teaching or facilitation journey.

By Emmanuel Marumbu Misiati

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