Facilitation Quick Tips: What I Liked About That...
By Tracy Wright, MAED | August 15, 2017
Project Director, ETR
Here’s a tip that can instantly set a positive tone for live virtual events. Have something up for early joiners to do prior to the start of the training. That lets them know immediately that the trainer is prepared and the training will be interactive. It also gets people engaged right away, so they’re less likely to get distracted by their email or Twitter feed!
It’s important that any activity at the start of a live virtual training be fairly easy. You want to give participants a chance to build confidence working with the particular tools of your virtual platform. You also want an activity that is relevant to the training but not essential to what follows, given that some participants will not join in early.
This month’s FQT fits the bill perfectly!
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Title: What I Liked About That…
Setting: Live virtual events. With adaptation, this could also be used for an in-person event.
Time: 10 minutes
Purpose: To allow participants time to settle in to the content, share prior experiences related to the content, and begin working with the virtual training platform tools.
Best Used: As an ice-breaker or “while you’re waiting” activity just before or right after the start of the training event, or a particular training segment.
- A slide created ahead of time. Create a slide that asks learners to reflect back to an experience that relates to the topic of your event. For example, the slide below was used for a virtual facilitation skills training. Participants were asked to think about a past learning experience and share something they liked about it.
Note: For a “while you’re waiting” activity, you’ll be showing the slide as people check into the event. You may want to add a logo and title, along with the words “Pre-Event Warm-up” so people are clear about where they are and what’s happening.
Necessary Platform Features: Text annotation tools that would work on the slide for this activity. If these are not available, the slide can be adapted so the activity will work with a standard chat feature (see below).
- For a pre-event “while you’re waiting” activity:
Welcome participants to the activity. Show the slide and invite participants to respond to the prompt as soon as they arrive. As a trainer, I usually fill in an example on the slide right off the bat so people see what’s expected and don’t worry about being first.
Repeat the invitation as new people join the event.
- For an ice-breaker:
Show the slide as you introduce the activity. Invite people to respond.
- Once participants have noted their “likes,” process out by connecting to the topic ahead.
- If text annotation tools are not available, create an inviting slide that has a “What I Liked About That…” prompt, along with directions to share thoughts in chat.
- For in-person events, you can write your prompt out on pieces of chart paper posted around the room. As people come into the room, introduce yourself, welcome them, and ask them to contribute some thoughts before the training begins.
Tracy Wright, MAED, is a Project Director at ETR. She is a skilled distance learning, eLearning and professional development specialist. She has also served as a health education teacher in both middle and high schools. She can be reached at email@example.com.