Do I Remember How to Do This?
FRONT OF THE ROOM – Brian Lange & Tina Greene
Guest columnist Tina Greene is back in front of learners
A quick note from Front of the Room columnist Brian Lange:
Throughout the pandemic, I have often found myself wondering what it would be like when I could finally get back into the classroom with learners in person. Well, it turns out a colleague got our first in-person assignment. So, you’re in for a treat: Please enjoy learning about the recent experience of this issue’s guest columnist, Tina K. Greene!
Do I Remember How to Do This?
This is the question I asked myself recently. What if I’ve forgotten how to do this? By “this,” of course, I mean facilitate a workshop in person! It has been sooooo long – too long. To be exact, 16 months and 20 days have passed between workshops that I have delivered in person. The question of whether I remember “how to do this” is valid.
I’ve gone to great lengths to perfect my virtual engagement skills. I no longer look at the person who is talking because I’m busy looking into the camera to convey eye-contact. I haven’t had the luxury of reading body language, so I’m hyper-focused on tone of voice. Content is condensed. Open discussion is narrowed.
New techniques and strategies have been learned and employed.
Back at It
Confession: I forgot how to do some things. Insert embarrassed face emoji here.
- I forgot how to be in a hotel room, evidenced by the fact that I collected four room keys in less than 24 hours because I kept walking out without taking the key with me.
- I forgot to charge my ear buds for the plane ride (fortunately, I’m really good at sleeping on the plane, so there’s that). I forgot to bring my portable speaker so that I could play music prior to the start/during breaks in my workshop (rookie mistake!).
- I forgot I needed to use the company credit card instead of my own credit card (sorry, that’s going to be a fun accounting project).
Here’s what I didn’t forget:
- I kicked off things casually and led my audience on a short (figurative) journey that had them wondering where we were going and then revealed the connection between that and where we were really headed!
- I engaged them in an activity within the first five minutes of interaction.
- I asked lots of open-ended questions and was rewarded with lots of participant discussion that really enriched the content I was delivering.
- I think the learners had been missing in-person interaction as much as I had.
- I focused on what they were experiencing as learners.
I know I will need a few more experiences to get back into the swing of things. I know that I will still need to maintain and continue to develop my “virtual” skills. I have spent the past 16 months and 20 days discussing the fact that the facilitation and audience engagement strategies we extol are as applicable to virtual facilitation as they are to in-person facilitation. I found out that that’s truer than I ever imagined.
I have been yearning to be “with the people!” I got my first taste in 16 months and 20 days – I DID NOT forget how that feels – gratifying! I hope that as you begin to have your first in-person facilitation experiences, you will enjoy shaking off the cobwebs and relishing the human interactions as much as I did.
And, don’t forget your hotel keycard!
Brian Lange is with Perim Consulting and serves as lead facilitator for LTEN PrimeTime! For Trainers Core and Masters Workshops. Email Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tina Greene is a senior consultant with Perim Consulting. Email Tina at Tgreene@perim.com.