Course logistics and practicalities

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18. Course logistics and practicalities

Before the course

Build positive expectations about the training.

To do this you could,

  • Send info to participants before the course
  • Draw a fun, light-hearted poster to advertise the course
  • Develop a good title for the training, an attractive welcome pack and questionnaire
  • Send a friendly introductory email
  • Develop a brief questionnaire to find out about their level, experience, past training as well as expectations.

Things you could give people before the course

Aim to get participants curious, excited and interested before they arrive at the training.

  • Outline of the course and its benefits
  • Information about trainers with photos
  • Brain teaser or puzzle
  • Questions to make them think
  • Links to webpage about the training
  • Cartoon related to the topic
  • Logistical information
  • List of who else will be attending
  • Brief questionnaire to find out more about the participants
  • Task related to the training, connecting to their real lives

BUT don’t give too much to do, and make the information colourful and interesting.

Course Logistics

If you are given the responsibility for all the logistics of running a course, there will be many things to plan and organise. In practice this is rarely going to be the the case and these tasks are often shared amongst several people. As the trainer, however, you will want to take a close interest in the organisation and logistics of any course you will be expected to run.

Here is a short list of some of the major logistical considerations for any course:

  • Venue and facilities
  • Room set up
  • Where will you be?
  • Equipment
  • Timing
  • Logistics
  • Organisation of sessions

On the first day of the course

  • Set up the room and equipment well in advance
    • Make the room inviting.
    • Use some colourful materials or a conversation starter if you can.
    • Neat.
    • Have everything well prepared
    • Make sure everything is working
    • Leave the title slide showing

Prepare yourself mentally

If you are afraid of public speaking or speaking in a group, you are not alone. Public speaking or talking to a group is often one of the worst fears of many people.

The following tips can help you overcome any anxieties.

  • Remember, you know the materials. Remind yourself that you are well prepared, that you are familiar with the training materials
  • Read through the materials, discuss with other trainers that have used the materials before, and try some of the suggested activities if you are unfamiliar with them.
  • Release the tension. Take deep breaths. Breathe from your diaphragm and remember to exhale all the way. It also helps to exercise regularly, as unused energy may come out as anxiety.
  • Rehearse. Practice, practice, practice some of the lesson, until you feel comfortable.
  • Think through the possible problems that could arise and what strategies you have to deal with them.
  • Work out what your first few sentences are going to be so that during the first few seconds you don’t have to think.
  • Don’t tell the participants that you are nervous.
  • Know the training room and your equipment. Test your audio and visual equipment in advance. Make sure that instructional aides such as paper, pencils, flip charts, tape, etc. are on hand and sufficient in number.
  • Know the participants. Check the region/s participants are from, their native language, and learn key words and phrases. Greet and talk with them as they arrive for the session(s).
  • Reassure yourself. The participants are not there to see you perform; they are there to learn the material. Future trainers are not there to scrutinize you or waiting for you to make a mistake. Most likely, they want you to succeed because that means an interesting training for them, and as adult learners they will receive information that is relevant and applicable.

Bringing impact to your training style

How you look – body language

Your body language will tell participants if you are relaxed, comfortable with the content and well organised. You will be able to overcome any hurdle if you are prepared, if you take a deep breath and greet people properly, look them in the eye, smile and make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. Show that you think it is a pleasure to be leading the training and that you are looking forward to sharing the day with them.

Dress comfortably and appropriately without anything which will distract people. Stand up straight with your hands beside you, open and relaxed. Don’t put your hands in your pocket, don’t fidget, don’t move about too much for no reason. Never lose eye contact with your participants. Avoid staring at the presentation slides, or other visual aids. Always look at people in the eye when you are talking to the group and listening to individuals.

How you sound – tone of voice

Speak at a volume that is slightly higher than necessary to reach the back row. You will sound confident and assertive. Use silence wisely. Don’t be afraid of it, instead embrace its power. Pause to allow people time to digest what you are saying or to answer questions you may have.

Vary your voice a little in pace and in tone so that you don’t sound the same all the time. Slow down, someone who talks too quickly can be exhausting to be with and they sometimes come across as nervous or impatient which will deter people from asking questions.

Try not to use a ‘training voice’ but rather speak in a natural, conversational style like you are talking to someone you know. Look and sound interested and enthusiastic about your subject and that will immediately help people to feel the same.

What you say

Try to sound as confident and assured as possible and be clear about what you say.

Speak positively and with enthusiasm.

Don’t apologise if you can help it – it will make you lose credibility not win sympathy.

Tell relevant and interesting personal anecdotes to illustrate points or bring in humour.

Try to avoid jargon, acronyms and terminology unfamiliar to most participants.

Bringing a course to a close

The concluding session should bring a proper and warm closure to to any course. It should

  • ensure that expectations were met
  • provide a shared group experience
  • evaluate the learning experience
  • request feedback and suggestions for improvement
  • summarise the course accomplishments and gain commitment for future action
  • send participants off with encouragement.

Ways to follow up after training

  • Send people follow up message or reminder by email
  • Take photos during the course and send them to people
  • Ask the iSIKHNAS coordinator to write up a news story for the iSIKHNAS website and use photos taken during the training
  • Actions proposed during the course could be followed up on
  • Local social media group – What’s App, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Blog or discussion forum
  • Share short video clips on YouTube or the iSIKHNAS training website
  • Meeting with participants to follow up on issues