Okay, let's agree you can't be an expert in everything. It is simply impossible. But this does not mean that you can just relax and dodge the questions that come your way. Here are 5 tips to work with the experts and optimise the learning experience for all.
1. Understand the context
The room is full of lawyers throwing all sorts of jargon around the room. The words are lost on you. When you prepare for your training, make sure you read up on your target group and the sector they work in. They will not expect you to be an expert on law – because that is probably not why you are there - but you will be a lot more comfortable with the language used.
2. Identify a resource person
You find out that one of your participants is a truly seasoned expert. Instead of fearing these experts, use them! You can discuss with the client the possibility of engaging experts as resource persons for designing the training. They can provide you with important background information or you can give them a platform to share their expertise when relevant.
3. Ask questions
Just like you will probably tell your participants: there is no such thing as a silly question. Imagine this lawyer who keeps drifting away from the topic of the training. Being an expert can be great, but it can also distract you from seeing the bigger picture. As a trainer, you can be critical and ask probing questions to understand better what is meant and check how it relates to the topic.
4. Refer to the expertise in the group
Although it may feel like it sometimes, very few people expect you to know it all. Questions asked do not all have to be answered by you. Although this is a facilitation technique that should not be overly used, do not shy away from returning questions back to your participants. The answers may very well be within the group!
Most people like to receive compliments and rewards for a job well done. If you have seasoned experts in the group, do not forget to appreciate their contributions. Be wary of giving too much attention to the dominant experts in the group by making sure that others in the group also get a platform to speak and compliments for their contributions.
Finally, and at the risk of repeating ourselves, it’s all about preparing well. Want to feel fully prepared for your next training? Get in touch with Lisa Freiburg – writer of this blog – or sign up for the Training and Facilitation Skills course today.