High Impact Facilitation Starts With People

03/31/2024 3:03 PM | Paul Venderley (Administrator)

Contributing Author: Kim-Khue Chieffo

Kim Hayashi began her session: Designing and Facilitating High Impact Custom Learning & Development Programs by having us consider what we focus on when first creating a training program:

  1. Effective timing or effective methods?
  2. Getting to know the audience, or ensuring everyone learns all the pertinent information?
  3. Using great content, or great facilitation?

The consensus was: it depends.

Kim didn’t necessarily disagree with any of the insights we shared in response to her questions, but she did challenge us to consider a different perspective about content.

“There are three types of content,” Kim shared. “There’s content that’s a good fit for your audience, content that is a bad fit, and content that they’ve heard before.” Each type of content creates a different attitude in our audience.

How do we choose the right content?

We ask questions.

Kim backed up her approach with a bit of instructional design science:

  • Acknowledge Risk — Design to build trust and create the right environment to manage your audience’s perception of risk so they are mentally, physically, and emotionally able to continue learning with you.
  • Apply the Group Development Model — Identify which stage the class might be in. Storming? Forming? How do you get them to Norming, where they can begin to assimilate the skills and techniques you are sharing?
  • Consider Both The Developed Self and the Core Self — Kim acknowledges that most people attending a learning event will be displaying their developed self - the one that is trained to come to work and look and be successful. But she challenges us to consider the underlying values that our learners may have which influence their developed self and find ways to design with those values in mind.

With these disciplines in mind, the great facilitator will keep the audience at the forefront of everything talent development related. Here, Kim recalled the discussion at the start of the session: we may not always have the opportunity to know our audience in advance. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of training for question-based activities to help us assess our audience is key.

She demonstrated this, by the way, not by producing a poll in which we recited the length of our training careers or the type of training we design, but by asking us to state three to five words that represent how we facilitate.

In doing so, she acknowledged that we all were skilled and experienced at what we do (of course! We’re ATD-OC!). Within the first ten minutes of an already active session, Kim had mentally adjusted how much of the science she would introduce and how much of the meat of the matter she would discuss.
This had immediate results: we wanted to hear what she had to say.

By facilitating around the needs of your audience, you create immediate impact.

Which is what we want in our classes.

We want our audience to do three things with the content we provide them:

We want them to hear the content.

We want them to want the content.

We want them to use the content.

By ensuring that the audience feels as though they belong in your class, they will want to hear the content, and they will want the content. From there, it’s up to our facilitation skills to want them to use the content.

For Kim, low-impact content can be fixed. An agenda can be changed on the fly. But facilitation? Bad facilitation can ruin even the greatest content.

For Kim, high-impact content requires a great facilitator who knows where the audience is in order to be effective.

For Kim, high-impact content requires starting with the people.

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