Supervisory Training

Facilitator Skills

Be prepared

You must prepare ahead of time. Have a strong grasp of the content. As a facilitator, it’s your job to guide a group through a process, making it easier for them to accomplish the goal at hand.

Know your audience

It’s important to learn as much as possible about the group to understand roles and dynamics. Having the group get to know each other is important. Provide time at the beginning or throughout the course for attendees to get to know one another.

Set the tone

Create and maintain an inclusive learning environment: Welcome attendees, treat them like adults, not children. Deal with difficult behaviors. If you buy-in they will. Be energetic.

Give Clear Instructions

Speak clearly. Give directions both verbally and visually. Clear instructions make it easier for your group to get to the outcome you’re looking for. Setting up an activity and giving directions for an activity requires practice.

Use an introduction type game as an example
Steps to providing clear instructions:

  • How you want people to present this information to the group
  • What topics of conservation you want them to cover
  • Whether you want them to take notes
  • How much time they'll have for this activity

Actively Listen

Mirroring, paraphrasing and tracking are three tools you can leverage to help you with active listening. Mirroring is when you repeat back the speaker’s words verbatim. It helps the speaker hear what they just said, shows neutrality, and can help establish trust. Remember, with mirroring you’re keeping your tone warm and accepting and you’re using the speaker’s words, not yours.

Paraphrasing, on the other hand, is a straightforward way to show the speaker and group that their thoughts were heard and understood. Paraphrasing, unlike mirroring, is when you use your own words to say what you think the speaker said, “It sounds like you’re saying… [Insert paraphrased content]. Is that what you mean?”

And lastly, tracking is when you’re keeping track of various lines of thought that are going on simultaneously within a single discussion—helping to summarize the different perspectives and show that multiple ideas are equally valid.

Manage Your Time

Group activities have time limits—there are only so many hours in a day. That means you’ll need to plan out how long the different components of your session will take and how long your group will have to reach the session’s goals. There are a few different ways to keep track of time: use a watch or phone and let people know how much time is passing, use a large clock that the whole group can see, or delegate timekeeping to individuals or smaller breakout groups.

Choose a method that will let you pay attention to what’s going on in the room and allow your group to easily track the time for each task. Whatever method you choose, consider giving people warnings as the time for each activity draws to a close. You can say it out loud or hold up a sign (“2 minutes left” or “1 minute left,” for example) so you don’t need to interrupt the group’s work flow or conversation.

Learn. Improve. Pass it on!

Be sure to utilize UTSA's Training & Instructional Design department, which provides the most dynamic and effective training available to faculty, staff and student employees. Specific courses for Leadership and Supervision are provided year round through the mytraining.utsa.edu portal. 


Core Philosophy of the Student Leadership Challenge