The communication experts say that we learn in different ways. We have different “learning styles.”
The secret for speakers, coaches, parents, teachers, and anyone who wishes to connect with others is….connecting with peoples’ learning styles. This becomes so much more effective when using an experiential, learn-by-doing format, rather than traditional lecturing.
Getting people to interact will have far more lasting impact than lecturing.
The primary goal of facilitation is to make things “easier” for a person or group to learn, grasp, or accomplish, while allowing them to come up with the answers. This is particularly true when deciding whether to facilitate or teach.
That is a big decision. Many teachers choose to lecture their students. That has been our tradition. And our egos very often depend on this perception. Teaching is easier to do than facilitating. I know. I taught traditionally for many years. This is not to say that there is never a time for lecture. There is. Balance is the key.
So what’s the point? The point is that not everybody is auditory. People will better learn, engage, shift, and change by actually participating in some behavior that engages their multiple senses. Providing your participants or students with an experience that engages multiple senses is far more powerful than anything a mere lecture can provide.
I was asked to present a 20-minute keynote at a luncheon for 80 members of a local Chamber of Commerce. Few people knew each other. I was asked to help them get to know each other better and talk about better communication — in 20 minutes. I told them I do not do miracles.
Now I could have talked about communication processes and bored them to death.
Not to mention, when people are eating, they are a step away from napping.
My work was cut out for me.
Here’s what I did: I broke them into pairs and asked them to answer one question:
What is the most outrageous thing you both have in common?
Partners left for a quiet place and returned 5 minutes later.
When they stood up and shared their answers, people were falling off their chairs laughing! They learned more about each other in 5 minutes than they would in a lifetime. That is experiential learning.