Well maybe not the worst, but it’s the kind of stuff that makes a SME wake up in the middle of the night before delivering their first classroom session. Or cause a seasoned trainer to panic because she left the training rosters back at the other facility and cannot turn around to go get them! This is certainly not the way to begin a classroom session. Especially when the assignment is given last minute or with barely 24 hours notice to prepare and get mentally ready.
Yup, I’ve got it covered Boss.
And yet, there is an unspoken expectation about the SME’s ability to perform “like a full time trainer” because s/he is a subject matter expert and can train people. With all of the focus on the content, the perfectly worded slide deck, carefully designed activities, ample supply of handouts and possible workbooks, there isn’t any energy left to remember to do one thing more; except show up early for the session. So SMEs are kind of lulled into a false belief that they’ve got everything covered. And then it hits them that they forgot (….). Any full time trainer can fill in that line with an example and true tales from their classroom experiences.
So what’s a classroom trainer/facilitator to do?
It’s called a Materials Checklist Job Aid and I don’t leave home without mine, anymore. The list contains items needed to run a classroom session. Don’t assume that these items are stashed in conference rooms just waiting for your use. Ever write with one of those dried out magic markers? Seriously, I carry two sets of flipchart markers: mine and for learners. Plan on using flipcharts? There may be only one sheet left in the room and it could be written on by the time you arrive. The checklist contains other items also needed for activities and a spare box of pens because I’ve experienced sessions where employees come to class without pens.
Using pent up energy wisely
I now customize the checklist for each workshop I deliver. I include notes about which flipcharts need to be titled before the session begins and those for after lunch. And sometimes, I’ll list key reminders like “Know Your Opening” and “Nail Your Ending” as suggested from SME as Classroom Facilitators workshop so I am modeling what I teach as well. Having this list handy in my leaders guide, allows me to focus my energy on greeting the learners as they arrive and not running rampantly around the room in a panic trying to recover from a forgotten prop.