One of the first rules I have learned during my years as a live class facilitator is: arrive early and stay late.
I always try to arrive one hour before the class begins. Doing so gives me plenty of time to survey the room, double-check technology tools, and contact IT or the A/V department if there is an issue I can’t resolve.
It also puts me in position to turn my attention to attendees as they make their way in. I do not have to worry about focusing on a projector that will not work with my computer. Instead, I can focus my energies on attendees—building rapport, learning names, and making general inquiries about what brought them to the class.
This time of rapport building is critical to successful engagement. Additionally, an icebreaker during the course may not be necessary. If I build rapport while participants are entering the room, I can quickly move into content because trust has already been established.
If possible, I always want to be the last person to leave the room. I close every session by stating, “I am going to hang around for a bit if anyone has any additional questions they would like to process.” In addition, I always ask the person responsible for set up and take down if there is anything I can do to help.
I help gather left over materials, straighten tables and chairs, power down equipment (unless a posted sign tells me otherwise), and make sure the host agency has copies of sign-in sheets and evaluations.
My goal is to teach before the class begins and continue teaching even after the class has concluded. I don’t just want to talk about great customer service or the importance of ethics or why core values are important. I want to model those attributes and send a loud and clear message, “This training opportunity is for YOUR organization. I am here to serve – not be served.”
Arrive early and stay late. You’ll be glad you did!