Steve Willis is a Master Trainer and Vice President of Professional Services at VitalSmarts.
Recently, I was in the back of the room (no, I was not asked to sit there—at least not this time) of a training session. I was watching Angela as she worked her way through the material. She was working well with the group and doing a nice job of engaging them with the material.
After lunch on the first day, her class found themselves wrapped up in a fascinating discussion. They were engaged. They were applying the material to themselves and pulling poor Angela off her schedule. Time began to fly. The first ten minutes of discussion quickly doubled. Twenty minutes behind and they were still interested in continuing on. Angela paused to ask, “Wow, this seems valuable. Should we spend more time on this, or should we move on to the next concept?”
While this is a great question, she addressed it to the wrong audience. She should have directed it to herself. She was asking the group to make a decision without all the information to do so. They don’t know what they’re giving up in order to spend more time where they are. Yes, there are ways to make up time, and yet so many times what happens is the sections toward the end of the training are shortened—sometimes to the point of being non-recognizable. You condense the heck out of the materials, and in the end, the participants suffer.
Participants need you, the facilitator, to make these types of decisions. Instead of asking the group and allowing them to make the decision, solicit input and make the decision yourself. At times, you’ll decide to spend the extra time, and other times you’ll decide to move forward in the material. But you, the facilitator, need to decide to decide.