There’s real time. And then there’s ‘facilitator time’. Real time ticks by steadily on the clock. Facilitator time is conjured up between you and your participants, and it’s as flexible as fresh clay.
For example, you might post a schedule for the session, but it makes more sense to respond to the needs of your participants than to arbitrary minutes you happened to put on your planning sheet – especially if it’s the first time you’ve run a particular sequence of activities.
Tip: don’t tell your participants too much about timings in advance. Perhaps just the start and finish times of the day (or half day), and the fact that there will be coffee breaks.
You can also play with time to make an activity more meaningful and engaging. Squeeze the time you allow when you notice an activity has become too easy or not sufficiently stretching for your participants. Training activities can be used again and again, with the same group, serving a different purpose once they get good at them; a familiar game becomes more of a warm-up or a drill perhaps. And you can freshen it up to raise the challenge by reducing time limits or adding new constraints.
Time limits are sometimes useful, but it’s rare that I’m using a stopwatch, ready to blow a whistle.
Tip: Rather than announce the exact length of your activity in advance, try saying, ‘You’ve only got a couple of minutes to do this’.
You can learn more about playing with Facilitator Time by joining our Inspirational Facilitator online course today!