Facilitators play important roles in organizing a PAOT workshop. Facilitators need to examine their training techniques carefully. Above all, facilitators who organize a PAOT workshop as trainers should be more concerned with action than with technical contents. They should:
– emphasize practical ideas rather than general theories;
– generate discussions and exchange experiences instead of “lecturing”;
– build on strengths and achievements of the participants themselves rather than their weaknesses and problems;
– Become an advisor and facilitator to the participants instead of a teacher.
1. Make your presentation clear and concise
The first step towards a good technical session is to make sure that an initial presentation by the facilitator should not exceed 30 minutes at the maximum. Experienced trainers can make the most concise and stimulating presentations focusing on simple improvement actions in a clear, positive and practical manner. Welcome in about 20minutes by questions, comments and interventions. Interactive sessions have real advantages in increasing the sense of participation. In order to make full use of such interactive sessions, it is important for you to be ready to deal effectively with the unexpected, such as projector failure or power cut. Always have spare parts of projectors and know how to replace them. Or, use printed photographs if the power cut continues.
2. Plan carefully the order of the six technical areas
In order to help participants understand main technical issues which are important for improving working conditions and work quality, six technical areas are particularly highlighted in the training. These technical areas are discussed initially in the checklist exercise. It is advisable for you to conduct subsequent technical session in the following order: materials handling and storage, workstation design, machine safety, physical environment, welfare facilities and environmental protection. In particular, materials handling and storage is usually taken up as the first technical session as this topic may help participants understand good points and improvement points relatively easily. This will help participants understand other technical areas better.
3. Emphasize local good examples
Locally achieved good examples in your own country or industry attract participants and stimulate them to take similar practical actions. Facilitators should collect locally made good examples and introduce them in the training sessions. Locally made good examples are always telling what local people can do. Therefore, facilitators need to compile presentation slides showing these good examples. Exchanging such good examples among facilitators from different organizations or workplaces is also recommended.
4. Catch up the interest of participants and create the sense of involvement
Facilitators should focus on the participants’ own experiences to facilitate their actions. Invite opinions and ideas from the participants. Lively, interactive discussions would enhance the sense of involvement. Refrain from using unpopular technical terms or phrases. Use familiar words in your presentation. The participants are the centres in every PAOT session.
5. Make the training pleasant
Songs, games and funny stories can break psychological barriers of the participants. Games could be related to the technical contents of that particular session. For example, an “egg carrying game” is often used as an introduction to the materials handling session. In this game, participants pass a number of raw eggs filled in a small bowl from a participant to another and they experience the safer way of materials handling. It is suggested that facilitators create new games and performances reflecting the technical contents for making the training course pleasant and understandable. We always need to try to animate participants. Games, brainstorming, questions and answers, voting events, and even jokes can greatly help you animate your participants. You can use your own ideas and skills.
6. Be a good organizer to run the training
When you organize a PAOT workshop, you have to pay careful attention to various aspects for making the workshop successful including budget, arranging equipment and facilities, recruiting participants and designing a complete training program. Make sure that you yourself as a PAOT trainer act as a “facilitator” of group work by the participants. It is important to establish a good team with other facilitators and share the roles to build a successful workshop.
7. Involve participants in managing the workshop
Participants can help facilitators manage PAOT training activities. For example, participants can prepare the workshop venue and facilities, check the attendance of participants or confirm tea or lunch breaks. Then assign participants to play some roles in the workshop management. These experiences are helpful for the participants to organize a PAOT workshop in their own workplaces and communities.