Developing a skill may seem like a challenge for some while it may appear innate for others. It can be difficult to acquire a new skill when it is perceived with negativity. Learning professionals are not excluded from the struggle. As learning professionals, we are constantly looking for ways to enhance our skills, especially to help us deliver more engaging learning programs. Before developing or enhancing a skill, however, one must check their mindset. Henry Ford’s famous quote “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right,” reiterates that if you don’t believe in yourself, difficulty will ensue.

Think of all the excuses you have told yourself; those self-limiting rationalizations have the potential to fill a trash can. That is where they belong, in the garbage and leave them there.

How To Develop Your Facilitation Skills

How should training professionals enhance their facilitation skills? Unfortunately, ingesting a magic potion to wishfully acquire the necessary skill does not exist. However, there are a variety of ways to successfully learn a new skill. As corporate trainers, we are very aware of the different options for skill sharpening. One could attend a workshop whether it is online or in person. There is also the choice of taking online self-paced courses. Some individuals may take the approach of watching or listening to webinars, podcasts or videos. Others may prefer reading books or listening to audio books.

Beside the options listed above, there are two more skill development options to explore: Collaborating with a mentor or shadowing a senior employee. These two other choices might be overlooked if you haven’t considered them before.

If you prefer to learn through auditory means, it might be best for you to listen to podcasts, webinars or audiobooks. If you prefer to learn through visual means, videos and online self-paced courses might be the way to go. Or, you might prefer to learn through hands-on training workshops or on the job. Likely, it may be a combination of learning methods that you find most helpful when looking to build your facilitation skills.

For a learning professional to deliver captivating content, they need to grab the attention of an audience and not come off as impatient, arrogant or demeaning to attendees. Two important skills — public speaking and emotional intelligence (EQ) — need development for successful training delivery.

Combat Your Public Speaking Fears

Many of us discovered the fear of public speaking when we were in grade school or high school. In author Derek Borthwich’s book, “Public Speaking How to Speak Effectively Without Fear,” he states “We have very narrow fields of awareness. We construct our version of reality based on the sensory information that is coming through our primary senses. An important concept to grasp is that reality is subjective and each one of us has a different version of it.” Did you ever realize you made something bigger in your head about an upcoming event that does not need to be? When the event took place, it was not as grandiose as you imagined it. We tend to get in our own way at times.

A simple mind hack can eliminate the fear of public speaking. Realize that you, the speaker, are the messenger to deliver the content. Once you remove yourself from the equation and focus on the delivery of information, fear seems to dissipate. In the book, Borthwich also provides techniques for the reader to curtail all those dismal thoughts of speaking in front of groups. Borthwick recommends using “neurolinguistic programming swish technique. “It is a fast, powerful method of altering how negative feelings, thoughts, worries, and anxieties affect us,” he states. With this technique, the individual takes the negative thought and converts it to a positive thought.

Presentations also should not be a brain dump on slides, they need to include information that matters to the audience. As training professionals, we create learning objectives before we design and develop a learning program. It is the same for a presentation. Borthwick recommends before you start working on a presentation, write down the learning objective or purpose. “At the end of the presentation, my audience will have learned or have felt….” This great advice gives you direction and makes you feel confident during your presentation knowing the objective of your presentation.

Building EQ

The other important skill to develop is EQ. Whether you are a student or a professional, the skill is incredibly important to assist by keeping your emotions in check. There are many facets to EQ. In the book, “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ,” the author Daniel Goleman lists all facets. Managing emotions and being empathic are two important components needed in the workforce. If emotions are not managed, bad attitudes create distance between people. No one wants to partake in conversations with someone who is confrontational or thinks they know it all. Another key skill, empathy, allows you to listen to the other person and understand their comments or conduct. As skilled professionals, we may encounter toxic behaviors in the workplace. It would be advantageous to develop EI skills. You will see situations through a unique perspective which allows you to remain calm and not interested in an interaction with someone who exudes immaturity.

Final Thoughts

When your self-limiting beliefs are eradicated, your presentation is polished and your emotions are calm — allowing you to deliver more impactful training. You will be in a space where confidence illuminates and attracts positive engagement. These skills will captivate your learners. Sharpening your skills will never set you back: It will prepare you for something that might be out of your comfort zone.