DiscoverLearn/Perform Mixtape3.7. Facilitation and Presentation Tools & Techniques
3.7. Facilitation and Presentation Tools & Techniques

3.7. Facilitation and Presentation Tools & Techniques

Update: 2019-11-22


3.7. Facilitation and Presentation Tools & Techniques

Learning Objectives:

  • State 3 examples of how a trainer can create a learning climate that helps adults learn

  • Discuss the benefits of understanding the course objectives, learning the material, practicing the delivery, and creating good questions while preparing for a presentation

  • Discuss how basic classroom management techniques of starting and ending a session and setting expectations can enhance the learning experience for participants

  • Explain the difference among icebreakers, opening exercises, and closing activities, and provide one example of each

  • Explain how the use of voice and scanning the class for reactions can enhance the learning experience for participants

  • Define facilitation 

  • List three activities that facilitate learning

  • Use questioning techniques to facilitate discussions

  • Summarize the differences in presenting online versus presenting in the classroom

  • Discuss one advantage of using flipcharts, presentation software, and other training aids

  • List one example of when not to use flip charts or presentation software

Creating a Learning Climate: defined as “the andragogical approach to learning climate as being relaxed, trusting, mutually respectful, informal, warm, collaborative, and supportive with openness, authenticity, and humility as key contributing factors” (Biech, 2015). You want to think about having combined strategies, relevant course materials, suitable facilities, and reliable instructional instruments to contribute to a successful learning experience.

: the method and practice of teaching adults and is based on five key principles of adult learning from Malcolm Knowles theory based on five key principles of adult learning: self-concept, prior experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and motivation to learn. (See 3.1. Learning Theories for more info)

Here are practical tips from Training and Development for Dummies (Biech, 2015), to make sure your participants learn in either virtual or physical training environments:

  1. Create a safe haven for learning

  2. Create a comfortable environment

  3. Encourage participation

  4. Facilitate more than lecture

Preparing to Delivery Training: Preparing for the presentation and training session provides trainers with guidance and preparation for learning and development, to include:

  • Clear understanding of the learning objectives 

  • Learn the material

  • Practice the delivery

  • Prepare questions to stimulate learning

READ: 10 Tips for Better Presentations & Facilitation via ATD

Classroom Management for Training
: For working with participants you want to hold their attention, create a safe space for learning, and build in some introductions or icebreakers so others get to know one another and interact with one another. To hold participants attention, it is recommended to:

  • Use effective openings

  • Setting expectations

  • Structuring and closing presentations effectively

  • Taking attendance and keeping records

Managing Difficult Participants: Sometimes you can have challenging participants in your training session that might disrupt the learning, so it’s important to know how to deal with it. Here are some potential disruptions you might encounter with participants who:

  • Talks too often, so you need to ask what others might think or want to contribute

  • Talks too long, so you should ask them to summarize their point

  • Talks to someone else at length to facilitate the training

  • Brings up personal or irrelevant issues you need to redirect

  • Talks too little or under participates

  • Recycle what’s already been decided

  • Challenges ideas or opinions without any evidence or merit

Keeping Energy Levels High -- The Strategies: when a trainer uses active training techniques, learners will get involved in the training experience and be active learners to construct personal meaning. Here are some examples of active training techniques to include:

  • Brainstorming: idea generation and group processing

  • Case study: example of an event or situation to model process, practices or behaviors

  • Role play: act out roles, attitudes or behaviors to practice skills

Energetic presentation + high energy:

  • Project vocally

  • Maintain an appropriate pace

  • Avoid using fillers

  • Enunciate clearly and distinctly

  • Use participants’ names

  • Use familiar terms and expressions

  • Use a lot of examples

  • Praise participants

  • Use appropriate humor

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Use positive facial expressions

  • Gesture with hands and arms

  • Move around the room with energy

Presentation Style & Behavior: for any presentation, what is said is as important as what is shown, for training delivery. There are a number of tips on delivering interactive presentations and keeping the energy level high and understanding these standards for success:

  • Verbal Communication and Use of Voice

  • Capture attention

  • Appearance

  • Mannerisms

  • Body Languages 

Facilitating Learning Activities: for the training field, facilitation refers to guiding or making learning easier, specifically the materials, learning content, and application for training on the job. Solid trainers are facilitators first, and presenters or “sage on the stage” last. It’s not about you, but the information you are trying to deliver to the adult learner. Being intuitive about your audience and their understanding of what you are sharing cannot be taught, but you can learn the basics about how to be a more effective facilitator -- here are some tips:

  • Create an open environment by encouraging others to participate, contribute, etc.

  • Set guidelines for learners’ participation by respecting others’ thoughts, ideas, etc. 

  • Acknowledge people who participate by praising and thanking them for their contributions and ideas

  • Create transitions between questions asked and answered by participants as well as between topic areas

  • Be honest about what they know and don’t know - identify opinion from fact

  • Express an opinion when appropriate by ensuring participants don’t feel judged or invalidated in their responses

  • Give everyone an opportunity to participate, but never force anyone to join in

  • Keep the discussion flowing and focused on the topic, while knowing when to bring this discussion to an end 

Facilitation Techniques

  1. Asking questions

  2. Question-and-Answer Sessions

  3. Transitions

  4. Silence

  5. Active listening

  6. Discussions

READ: The Role of the Facilitator via MindTools

Facilitator’s Self-Check, always asks “Am I…”:

  • Giving people equal time?

  • Making people feel safe enough to participate?

  • Deterring people from dominating the discussion to allow others to speak?

  • Avoiding choosing sides?

  • Handling conflict?

  • Managing my time well?

  • Involving people who don’t participate?

  • Summarizing learning points and training takeaways?

Most good facilitators: 

  • Be a good listener - you might want to take notes if necessary

  • Control the pace - slow the session down if needed to keep participants involved

  • Check in - ask for how people are doing? Check for understanding, pace, etc.

  • Avoid making judgemental comments, even if they are complementary - be aware of the positive and negative comments made; balance these

  • Support the process - keep the group focused and on task for training

  • Smile - be aware of your facial expressions and gestures when listening to responses, feedback or comments; practice a neutral face

READ: Top 11 Skills of an Effective Facilitator by The Design Gym

Icebreakers, Openers, and Closing Activities

  • Openers: warm up to the group by stimulating a challenging and motivating participants to be tied to the topic of training; prepare participants to learn; set the stage or energize a training experience to prime learning

  • Icebreakers: introductory activities to establish a safe environment for learning and allow participants to get to know one another and be involved in the learning process; it can introduce a topic, define personalities, establish group interactions or team involvement, build group or individual identity, identify skill or knowledge ability/awareness, set the tone of the training program, open communications, and evaluate learning styles; key notes to check: time, content flow, impact to training, logistics, meet objectives, feel for all at the end of activity

  • Energizers: activities used when the participants seem overly stressed, bored, or overwhelmed; allows for more dialogue, dig into issues, skills, etc. 

  • Closing Activities: bring the training session or presentation to an end; a review for the learning objectives and key points; review of benefits for work; call to action; open up for questions; allow participants remember key points of training by: reflection, review of materials, self-assessments, checklists, clarification of questions, sharing one thing learned, or a game scenario to review knowledge/skills

Questioning Techniques: 

  • Open-ended questions: longer, detailed responses

  • Closed-ended questions: short and brief answers

  • Socratic method: deep questioning and building on responses to question more

  • Participation engagement strategies

    • Encourage participation form the start

    • Use cards or post-it notes for the shy participants

    • Give away the trainer’s role: rotate facilitation, teams, small groups, etc.

    • Participate, repeat, participate: thanks, restate, & expand on ideas/contributions

    • Ask everyone to stand up & move around: activities, small groups, moving spots

    • Say a lot without a word: move towards conversations, ideas, activities; proximity

    • Remove the tables: rearrange the room; set the tables for interaction

    • Seek more attention-getting answers: ask for more ideas/responses than just 1

    • Select the quietest: encourage group/partner thinking and report outs

    • Participate until the end: one action after; one fact learned; new questions from the training session

Engagement Strategies for Online Training

  • Is the training/course relevant, interesting, and effective as possible

  • Give frequent, personal, and helpful feedback to learners

  • Require practical final products that learners can show to their supervisors or use on the job after the training

  • Offer a certificate for successful completion

  • Contact participants' supervisor and notify them when the employee completes the training requirements

  • Personalize the training - messages, comments, feedback

  • Break the course or training up into sections 

  • Help foster learners’ self-discipline by establishing firm deadlines

Other Considerations for Online Facilitation include:

  • Unique characteristics of communicating online

  • Tips for communicating information visually

  • Tips for creating interactivity online

  • Appropriate interaction with learners

  • Appropriate feedback

  • Keeping print media interesting

Presentation and Training Tools: flipcharts, slide decks, and other training aids...oh my! Here are the 5 MYTHS about use of visual aids for training: 

  1. The more visual aids the better - not so!

  2. Any visual aid is better than none

  3. The more high-tech the visual aids, the better

  4. More things can go wrong when using visual aid in a session, so it’s better to just rely on oneself

  5. Visual aids cost too much

Options for visual aids and training tools:

  • Presentation software (PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, Google Slides, etc.)

  • Flip Charts and easels

  • Whiteboards and other types of boards (chalk, blackboards, etc.)

  • Projection equipment

  • Wi-Fi Connection

  • Audio and video adds to your presentation

Books referenced and read in this episode:

  • Training and Development for Dummies by Elaine Biech (2015)

  • Facilitating with Ease! 4th Ed. by Ingrid Bens (2018)









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3.7. Facilitation and Presentation Tools & Techniques

3.7. Facilitation and Presentation Tools & Techniques

Laura Pasquini