Here are three common mistakes we make in starting a course–and what to do to launch it right. This is excerpted from my Train the Trainer distance learning program, that qualifies as an approval method to become a clock-hour instructor in Washington state.
Mistake One: Not doing a warm-up, or the wrong warm-up
In starting a course, step one is to create rapport. To do that you use warm-ups. Have you ever been in a class where students were directed to introduce themselves and say what they did? That was a kind of a warm-up, and but it’s just so boring! You hear about three or four people and you’re thinking, “Oh, please, please just quit before you get to 30 or 40 of them.” You don’t really learn anything, do you? Avoid those kinds of warm ups. In the resource section of Train the Trainer, and my ‘live’ version, Instructor Development Workshop, there’s a list of great books with warm ups and exercises. Get those books, and start thinking about what warm up would be appropriate to what you’re teaching.
My Warm-Up for the ‘live’ Instructor Development Course
When I’m teaching this course live, I start it by inviting people to tell me who their best teacher was, and why. Actually, I don’t have them tell me. I have them tell each other. Then, we make a list of best teacher attributes. We get people talking to each other, we get them refining things, we get them sharing common things that they have experienced. [ctt template=”3″ link=”0fS13″ via=”yes” ]From doing a great warm-up, we get them to have a great experience of getting to know each other so the barriers come down, the risk level goes down, and they start getting kind of softened up.[/ctt]
Later, when I ask little tougher questions, they’re going to contribute because they know I’m not going to hurt them! And, the people in the class aren’t going to hurt them.
Why I Use the ‘Best Teacher’ Warm-Up
Why do I use the warm up of the best teacher? Because that’s part of the course. See if you can come up with a warm up that lead you segues you into what you’re going to teach.
2. Mistake Two: Spending Too Much Time Telling about YOU
Have you ever been in a course where the instructor spent the first half-hour (or more), telling the attendees about himself/herself? Don’t do that! You’ll see, from , my courses, there’s a natural flow to the four-step course launch process. It doesn’t include a half-hour on instructor bio! Instead, you can introduce yourself in 3 minutes. And, provide your bio–and most importantly–why you’re qualified to teach this course–in your outline, in your pre-course email, in a handout, etc.
3. Mistake Three: Launching Right into the Course By Saying ‘We’ve Got a Lot to Cover’
Oh, how exciting!!! It’s about as exciting as saying ‘I’ll never get through that outline, so bear with me.” If you have 3-4 hours of class, take time to go through the four steps as I’ve described in my courses. Those steps include telling the benefits the attendees will get from the course, and then asking them what they want from the course.
Launching your course is the most important part of the whole experience. People remember the beginning and the end. Be sure your beginning is carefully ‘choreographed’, and you do what needs to be done for specific reasons–not because you saw someone else do it!