Unfortunately, most trainers just don’t get it! When it comes to facilitating activities, they either don’t do activities at all, only facilitate them when they see disengaged participants, or only facilitate activities when people tell them they’re supposed to do an activity. If you actually want to facilitate interactive and fun activities that make learning stick, engaging, and applicable, then you need to do more and our Activity Facilitation Mastery Certification program is the place to start!
Within the activity, you need to demonstrate your credibility and build rapport not only with the material (functionality and workflows), but also with the content and format of the activity.
For any activity that you might choose, the way to accomplish this is to walk from person to person or group to group and ensure that things are going well.
In part, this means that they understand the functionality and the industry knowledge.
Below are my favorite 10 ways to build credibility and rapport in a classroom during activities.
#1 Use the trainees’ names.
Whenever you call on someone or whenever a trainee asks a question, address him by his name. Keep your seating chart accessible and try to memorize it by the morning of day 2.
#2. Refer back to the trainees’ goals throughout the lesson.
If you’ve written them down, cross them off after you’ve covered them in lecture to demonstrate that you’ve taught it to them.
#3. Let them know you care.
A benchmark check is one thing, but asking “How are you doing?” in an assuring voice goes a long way toward improving rapport. If they say, “Fine,” but they’re not, follow up with another question to get to the problem.
- Use benchmark checks to test this (refer to the lesson on Assessing Whether Trainees Got It). If your trainees are getting it, leave them be.
- Silent Benchmarks are the best in non-lecture activities. One way to accomplish this is through “multiple choice benchmarks”
- Buddy Benchmarks are also a good idea. (We’ll talk more about this later)
#4. Work the Experts.
As you make your way around the room, don’t neglect any opportunities to stroke your trainees’ egos. Pay special attention to your experts who might not want their credentials flashed in front of the whole class but who nonetheless would like you to acknowledge their expertise on an individual basis. Another way to address trainee credibility is to use your experts as leaders during group work. You can use them to help gauge understanding within the group.
#5. Build Activity Credibility/Rapport
It’s most important for you to build the activity’s credibility. You need to actively assess both your trainees’ understanding of the activity as well as their willingness to do it.
- First, be certain that the trainees know what the activity is asking them to do. Ensure that they’re on the right page (literally and figuratively) by applying minute-by-minute benchmark checks to guarantee that they move seamlessly through activity checkpoints. They should be able to get through the activity regardless of their knowledge of the content or the industry.
#6. It’s also imperative that your trainees understand why they are doing the activity, even if they’re not comfortable with it yet.
Watch out for people who clearly seem apathetic about or disgruntled with the activity and talk to them. Use the One-Sentence Intervention (refer to the Praise and Encouragement section of this lesson) to gauge their attitude and expand on your explanation for the activity and build up some more credibility for it. When answering questions, let the trainee finish talking before you start.
#7. Look for puzzled faces in your class.
If you see one, address everyone, never singling out one person. Give a quick benchmark check to identify the deficiency and then re-teach the objective.
#8. Give regular breaks (every 60-75 minutes).
Remember what it’s like to sit in class for 8 straight hours.
#9. Use the Parking Lot when you don’t know the answer to a question or if it’s outside the scope of the class.
Be sure to get back to the trainee with the answer and cross out the question on the Parking Lot to let the class know it’s been addressed.
If not, help them by first determining if they are lacking in their understanding of functionality, industry knowledge, or both. Fill in the gaps, using this as an opportunity to build both your credibility and theirs.
If you want to dive deeply into the strategies, techniques, and tools you need to facilitate classroom activities. This four-hour program focuses on how to facilitate activities so your participants can enjoy themselves and still learn exactly what they need to know, check out our Activity Facilitation Mastery program.