Tips for Trainers – Facilitator Tip: Managing Expectations

Facilitator Tip: Managing Expectations

Sometimes my tips come from recent experiences. Recently I attended a University graduation ceremony for a friend. We flew to the east coast to celebrate with her for the weekend. The schedule indicated that graduates should be there by 8:00am and the ceremony would start at 9:30am. As a participant/spectator in this event, I assumed the ceremony would last a few hours. Six and a half hours later we left sunburnt, dehydrated, hungry and frustrated instead of feeling inspired and excited by the speeches and the event.

Reflecting back over the experience now my expectations for the event were based on previous experience at university graduations. My own graduation ceremonies have never been over 2 hours in length, even my University graduations. That was my expectation. When it was not met and the experience was less-than-fun, my attitude definitely soured. Sometimes in the training world, our participants come to our programs with previous experience with teambuilding programs that influence their attitudes. Some participants are excited are expect a good time. Others come with heavy eye rolling and expect the experience to be less-than-fun. Having a conversation with participants at the beginning to lay out the expectations is an important piece of your introduction. It sets the tone and helps manage the expectations in the room. After laying out those expectations, make sure your actions match your words.

Have fun out there,
Michelle Cummings
Owner/Trainer/Big Wheel
Training Wheels