#1: Work Together from the StartThe last thing you want is for the SME to feel “pushed to the edge” – like they’re just props for the real training, which comes from you. And the best way to avoid that syndrome is to keep the SME involved for the entire process. It’s tempting to just get the information you need, write the training, and then say, “I’ll do this part and you do that part.” But quite often you’ll have an unhappy facilitation partner. Instead, work together from the start. As the SME is explaining technical terms, you’re explaining your instructional justifications. It will soon become clear that BOTH of you are SMEs – just not on the same subjects. Now you’re on equal footing when you step into the training room, and you’ve established a level of trust.
#2: Organize, Organize, OrganizeThat SME has a LOT of information – probably more than you can include. Every good facilitator (or speaker) knows that one of the keys to success lies in organizing material in a compelling way. And every good trainer knows that varied activities and well-timed breaks lead to better retention and happier trainees. Help your SME:
- Keep information succinct.
- Add breaks when needed.
- Develop activities.
#3: It’s All About the AV – But It’s Not All About the AVYou know how important audio-visual aids can be to a successful training session. Not only do they add general interest, they’re essential for those visual learners out there. But you also know that creating a great PowerPoint presentation can be challenging. For many people, they tend to make them over-wordy, fill them with complex graphics, and add elements that distract your learners. Your SME (probably) needs your help with the AV. YOU have the experience and expertise in this area, so use it! You need PowerPoints that will keep the SME engaged with the audience, NOT staring back at the screen.
How to Design Your PowerPoint Slides Like a Pro: basic design principles and techniques that will make your PowerPoint designs stand out.
#4: Facilitate the FacilitatorIf you’ve taken our advice so far and worked with the SME from the start, you’ve probably set a tone that a) you’re an expert in training, and b) you can trust one another. And that’s good, because now you need to take a little control. Keep yourself in charge of lesson flow, activities, and breaks. Don’t expect the SME to have the kind of training room awareness your years of experience have brought you. Establish a signal of some kind to let the SME know when to let you take over for a moment. And establish from the start that you might make changes on the fly.
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