Thanks for coming back for the second Training Tips Thursday. It’s a quick one this week – Say What You Mean (and avoid over-use of the word interesting!)

I remember delivering one of my first formal training courses and I was facilitating a group work discussion. A few times when people made a comment I would say, “That’s interesting”. Sometimes it was interesting and I didn’t have anything to add because they had made the comment so well. Another time I wasn’t really sure what the person was trying to say and another time what they said went right over my head and I felt they know more than me.

When I collected up the evaluation forms at the end of the session there were a few comments on my use of the word interesting. One said she would have liked me to elaborate on why I thought what they had said was interesting. Others just said I was repetitive.

What I should have said was “You’ve made that point so well I have nothing to add, thank you.” or “You sound so passionate about that but I’m not quite sure what the point is that you’re making. Can you elaborate on it?” or, I should have been honest and said, “I think you know more than me about this, can you tell me more about that?”. Because in that situation I was a facilitator. I wasn’t delivering a purely factual piece of training. There are going to be times in your training career when your learners might know more than you about a discussion point. It doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough to train them. I know that now, but when I was new in the role I felt like I couldn’t admit that I didn’t know everything. As I gained more experience I would ask questions if I was genuinely interested in certain points and I felt they were relevant. I would also often look them up in a break so I could verify the information was correct and it always was.

So when facilitating, say what you mean, don’t try and bluff your way through because your learners will pick up on when something isn’t quite right.

Next time

Next week I am going to take a break between Christmas and New Year but in the first week of January I will be writing about successful co-facilitation or co-delivery.