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A Reverence for Facilitation

By February 2, 2023Focus On Training

Front of the Room – Brian Lange

A new year is a perfect time to recommit to learners

People are counting on us. People are sacrificing for us. People are desperately hoping we will surprise them and exceed their expectations. They so want us to innovate, challenge and engage them. They want us to value their time, and ignite their curiosity, sense of experimentation and desire to apply new learnings.

So, the responsibility for each of us tasked with facilitating for others is great. Immense. Daunting. Even intimidating. It is, perhaps, time — as we have begun a New Year — for us to (re)commit to our learners, to be clear in our resolve to advocate for them and to positively impact performance in the organizations we serve.

Be It Resolved:

In 2023:

  • I understand “it’s not about me — it’s about the learners.”
  • I will be enthusiastically open to learning with participants — I don’t know it all.
  • I will seek to enable participants to feel a sense of “I’m willing to learn with you.”
  • I will invest in the creation of openings that give learners compelling reasons to listen … and that establish relevance and personal connection.
  • I will include opening activities that put learners to work immediately (team activities, class discussions, etc.) — so they can begin to engage personally with the subject at hand.
  • I will deliver the unexpected: I’ll play with environment, structure and process to craft a unique, evolving and collaborative learning experience.
  • I acknowledge adults need to learn in a safe environment, build off their own knowledge and learn from others and always see the relevance of the material.
  • I welcome comfort-with-silence as a facilitation tool … and will let questions “land” (without rescuing audience).
  • I will refrain from “weakeners” and apologies during my deliveries (“I know this is dry material;” “just going to do a little activity;” “sorry about my handwriting…”).
  • I will be outcomes-focused…and all classroom activities will be in service toward learning points.
  • I will not “fix” class or learner “problems,” but will acknowledge and articulate what I see or hear as an invitation for further discussion. I will not offer the initial solution, pass judgment or label behavior(s).
  • I will enthusiastically embrace the challenge of bringing technical/“dry” information to life for my learners.
  • I will not spoon-feed learning points (get them to think!) or “fish” for specific answers. I will find a way to incorporate (“roll with”) all participant input: “It’s all good!”
  • I do not need participants to “agree” with my point of view. I accept they may view things differently — and that’s OK. I will help them to feel heard, and may in turn earn the chance to be listened to myself.
  • I will apply “discretionary effort” — the effort above and beyond what my learners may expect of me (props, creative activities, alternatives to teaching wholly from slides, resources, etc.).
  • I will be an ambassador of the behaviors and values my company espouses, and I will always act accordingly.
  • I accept that facilitating exploration and learning for others is a privilege —and I will humbly, fervently pursue excellence in my deliveries.

New Outlooks

Let’s be even more in-the-moment. More creative. More collaborative. Let’s share more of the “work” in the classroom with our learners — give them more of a stake in the successful outcome of the training.

Let’s loosen our grip on the wheel a bit. Let’s try more activities with a little ambiguity in them — more room for them to apply their own creativity. Let’s delight in their pursuits, and celebrate their discoveries.

It’s a new year filled with possibility. Here’s wishing you strength, introspection, stamina and extra reserves of creativity and commitment.

Brian Lange is with Perim Consulting and serves as lead facilitator for LTEN PrimeTime! For Trainers Core and Masters Workshops. Email Brian at



About LTEN

The Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network ( is the only global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in meeting the needs of life sciences learning professionals. LTEN shares the knowledge of industry leaders, provides insight into new technologies, offers innovative solutions and communities of practice that grow careers and organizational capabilities. Founded in 1971, LTEN has grown to more than 3,200 individual members who work in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic companies, and industry partners who support the life sciences training departments.

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