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By Tanya Turner
We’ve all been there. Listening to an instructor read every single bullet on a PowerPoint presentation. Yawn. We all know how poor instruction is detrimental to understanding and retaining information.
Conversely, effective facilitation is fun. It’s easy to stay alert, make connections and stay engaged in a rich learning environment. The value of using effective facilitation techniques is clear–participants more easily comprehend and retain information.
Facilitation Methods 101 is a one-day workshop to learn foundational group facilitation methods. The techniques have a wide variety of applications and can be used in professional, personal and volunteer scenarios – basically, any situation that involves a team. In this one-day interactive session, participants learn skills to:
- Create a safe space where participants feel welcome and comfortable
- Deliver lectures that use best practice
- Receive feedback and identify triggers
- Manage difficult participant styles, such as interrupters and pranksters
- Keep people engaged, energized and learning
The session I attended in March 2018 was hosted at Ideas Inc in Saskatoon and co-facilitated by Penny Nilsen and Linda Holmevik. The preparation and attention to detail demonstrated great facilitation in action. It was interactive and engaging – making use of the skills they were showcasing. A healthy, complimentary lunch was included in the registration cost, too. I left the workshop with actionable tips and techniques that I can use to be a more effective facilitator.
With adult education, each learner brings their own experience and learning to the situation. This creates a unique environment for the instructor who instead of teaching is a facilitator in learning. The facilitator is the leader of a team. The team’s mission is to learn.
If you want to improve your presentation and leadership skills, this workshop is a must!
The University of Alberta’s Department of Surgery, which is ranked sixth globally for transplantation, is preparing its first Communications Strategic Plan – with a lot of Toastmasters International input going into it.
District 99 PR Manager Nick Wilson, who heads the department’s communications, authored the plan using knowledge gained from his experience as a journalist and TM leadership and communications programs. “Everything I’ve learned in Toastmasters: delegation, performance measurement and accountability, the High Performance Leadership Project and the advanced series it comes from, including speaking on video and public relations, is pouring into the strat plan,” Wilson says.
“In fact,” he adds, “I wouldn’t have landed this job without the confidence and impromptu speaking skills I needed for the interview – when I first joined Toastmasters I was even nervous about introducing myself at meetings.”
The University of Alberta is no stranger to the program. It has three clubs, and Toastmaster volunteers have been teaching speech craft at The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences – ranked number three in Canada and 15th in the world for research – for more than three decades.
Toastmasters has provided the opportunities to improve my skills that benefit me in the workplace. Less than a year into my membership and I can already feel the results of my efforts. I no longer mumble or speak too fast while giving instruction, and my interactions with newcomers in the workplace have become more fluid. My confidence is through the roof and so I have become a better leader and have garnered respect from my colleagues. Whenever my team receives new members I no longer fret over my initial meeting with them – I know I can wing it with confidence!