Moving Past Your Fears

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If you are new to training, you may be thinking, “Can I really pull this off? Can I really speak confidently about a topic in front of others? I’m not an expert; will participants ask me something I don’t know? Can I move past my fear of public speaking?” It is quite normal to have these concerns when you are going to be delivering a training program. After all, most of our experiences in a classroom of any sort have pretty much been the same – there is a teacher at the front of the room going on and on with a lecture about the subject, while students, in neat rows, passively sit there and take notes. For the most effective learner experiences, training programs are not created or delivered in a one-way lecture with an uninvolved audience. Instead, the best training programs are ‘learner-centered’. What this means is simple. You as the facilitator are not the center of attention, nor are you the sole dispenser of knowledge. In other words, learning happens as a result of your participants being allowed to do the work of learning for themselves. If you keep this in mind, then any fears that you are feeling about whether you can successfully lead a training program, or how you will come across to others, should quickly fade away. In addition to making your programs learner centered, here are four additional tips to help you overcome any fears when facilitating training programs: 1. Be fully prepared. – Know all the intricacies of your program. Acquaint yourself with the content, the flow of the program, and any activities. The more you deliver the program, the more comfortable you will become over time, and the more your fears will subside and be replaced with confidence. – Have all the materials, supplies, and learning aids on hand and ready to go. Organization and preparation make you look professional and help the participant to feel comfortable and at ease. 2. Be yourself. Approach and deliver your workshop from the point of view of just being yourself. If you don’t have much experience in being a facilitator, don’t worry. If you do make a mistake in the delivery of your workshop, it’s okay. You are also learning, and your participants will be supportive and understanding if you remain professional. Remind yourself that all you are doing is giving it your best. Don’t be afraid to try for fear of making a mistake or getting something wrong. One thing is for certain is that if you never make a mistake, you’re not taking risks and stretching out of your comfort zone. 3. Incorporate your own stories and experiences. This helps the learner get to know you and connect with you. The artful design of your training program, with your own stories woven in and with your personal facilitation of it, will result in a high degree of participant satisfaction. 4. Practice. There’s no substitute for practice. Review and practice your training program in advance, so you are familiar with the format and flow of the content. That way there will be no unexpected surprises, you will have things well under control, and you will come across as a poised and confident facilitator. Next time it is your turn to conduct a training program, you can confidently say “I can pull this off”. By remembering and applying these simple strategies, you will be professional, poised and confident allowing you to move past the fears that may be holding you back.

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