I bet you feel it every time. When you walk into a room or sit in a group of people there’s always a ‘vibe’ – chilled, tensed, boring, ‘high energy’ or however you feel it. Wherever people are gathered for whatever reason, there is always some level of charge in the atmosphere- ENERGY. As a trainer or facilitator, maintaining the right levels of energy during your session is CENTRAL to how effectively you can deliver an experience and in return how your participants respond and understand. At the very basic, proper energy moderation will help you keep the attention of your participants, enhance openness and capacity for learning and engagement, just to mention a few.
Here are five simple things you can do to keep your energy balanced when facilitating or training.
- Check your own battery level.
As the person leading the group, whatever you radiate is what the room will take in and give back. For instance, just as smiling at one single person will tempt, and often get them to smile, the same works for participants. Before and during the session, being aware of how you feel, what you are exuding and the effect it has on the session gives you the capacity to dictate how the room will feel.
- Build up!
Perhaps my best part of getting a session’s ‘energy’ optimal, preparing the participants for an experience ensures you have just the right emotions flowing in the session. A few days or minutes before the session, introduce, hint or highlight a few things about what your engagement include. You can do a round of stating expectations or how someone feels about the session to come or sharing the schedule and specifics of what preparation is needed for a fruitful experience. Whatever works for you! Bottom line is, when participants understand what to expect they subconsciously tune in. It is human nature. Don’t you experience it the same way too?
- Ice breakers.
These are short activities that prompt participants to ‘break out of their shells’ and loosen up a little. Ice breakers can be as short as two minutes and can take different forms. While some may require participants to stand and move around, others can be simply verbal. They come in handy after a ‘serious’ session like brainstorming or actively listening to a presenter. A quick search online will open you up to a world of hundreds of icebreakers. Alternatively, having understood how an icebreaker should be, you can come up with your own that work perfectly for you and your participants.
- Actual engagement.
Enabling participants to be part of the learning experience is by far the easiest way of keeping energy balanced in a group. Asking questions and prompting conversations will encourage participation and expression. A ‘noisy’ class is sometimes better than a silent class. You can craft part of your sessions to include dialogue, a debate, verbal submissions and other elements that will get participants active.
However, take note that engagement should be monitored closely lest it robs the session of its purpose.
Where you conduct your session plays a big role in how energy is maintained. A large room for a small group would feel too open while an environment that has a lot of noise will be mostly distractive just to highlight a few dynamics. Considering the effect of the environment on the session and participants helps in selecting or customizing something that works to your advantage. A conference room is not the best place for team building and a park does not suite a management training. In addition, taking into consideration other factors such as sitting arrangement and items or props that are in the room give you an upper hand at creating an optimal environment for your session.
An energized session makes it easy for participants to learn, participate and have a good experience while at it. In addition, maintaining good energy levels encourages you as a trainer or facilitator to deliver the best experience the session can allow.
By Emmanuel Marumbu Misiati
Professional trainer and facilitator.