Preparing for Synchronous Sessions

Preparing to facilitate

Preparing your participants

When planning your session, think about your participants and if you need to prepare them to come to your session. For instance:

  • will they need to watch or read anything before they come? if so, when will you send this to them ahead of time?
  • have they participated in this type of session before? do they know what to expect? will they know what is expected of them in terms of participation?
  • are they aware of the timing of the session and the importance of arriving on time? (relatedly, it's within your role as the facilitator to start and end the session on time)

Preparing yourself

What about you, as the facilitator? What might you need to do yourself to prepare to facilitate the session? Some of these items might include:

  • being very familiar with your lesson plan or session agenda
  • being very familiar with the technology platform you are using and making sure your equipment is working (e.g. computer, headset, webcam)
  • thinking about and planning how you're going to stay on time
  • anticipating how you could be flexible with the session as it's happening, e.g. if a section takes longer than anticipated, can something be eliminated?
  • and, as mentioned earlier, being aware and prepared of how you're working with your co-facilitator

Lastly, expect that you will likely make facilitator mistakes and know that this is a natural process of facilitation, not to mention facilitating synchronously online. Plan to be a professional presence in the session but also make sure that you show up as a real person as well - a human who sometimes makes mistakes (we all do!). And lastly, unless the topic is very, very serious, have fun!

In Week 2 we'll talk more about the skills and details of facilitating synchronous sessions and you'll be able to hear some advice from seasoned synchronous facilitators.