Finding the right guest facilitator can make all the difference

This post is part of a larger series to address the most common myths, misconceptions, and excuses that chapters and members have regarding the LEAD Program.  Follow the entire conversation and get caught up on each of the issues we are addressing by clicking here.

4.      Myth: LEAD Chairmen and Committee members should serve as facilitators

As a general rule, students are not especially skilled or experienced facilitators.  Asking them to take on the burden of preparing for and delivering a quality session is oftentimes too much.  Guest facilitators should be utilized at every opportunity.

A guest facilitator is any individual who facilitates a LEAD session and is NOT a current member of the chapter. For example, chapter alumni who facilitate LEAD sessions are guest facilitators. However, guest facilitators are not limited to chapter alumni. Guest facilitators can also be faculty/staff of the university (e.g. a professor, the president of the university, or a nurse at the student infirmary). Further, guest facilitators can be parents, police officers, or other individuals from the community.

The role of the LEAD Chairman and Committee should be in organizing and managing the phase: scheduling sessions, recruiting facilitators, getting members to the sessions, reporting sessions, encouraging member use of and tracking the usage of the online components.  In this way, a chapter’s LEAD Chairman and Committee should be selected for their ability to manage, plan, and implement programs, not in their public speaking abilities.

In-depth facilitator guidance notes are available for all sessions in Phases I-IV as well as most of All Chapter.  Using these notes as a script, a facilitator will be able to provide a quality program that is interactive, covers all the objectives and learning outcomes of the intended session, and utilizes a format that promotes active learning and discussion.  Skilled facilitators or presenters with content-specific knowledge and experience are also a great resource.  For example, why not reach out to the campus counseling center to facilitate the Myers-Briggs personality types session or the judicial affairs office to host a session on conflict or controversy with civility.  Chances are good that these offices, and others on campus, already have their own workshops and presentations to effectively address these topics.  Feel free to have them conduct their own session rather than sticking directly to the LEAD facilitator notes.

Why you should use guest facilitators:

  • They have “real world” experience;
  • The chapter members do not know these people, which is intriguing;
  • The chapter members hold the individual in high regard and respect their advice;
  • They are “experts” in their field based on their life experiences;
  • They are more willing to challenge chapter members and make them think outside the box;
  • They want to teach the chapter members something, meaning they care and the chapter members recognize this and respond to it.

Sounds good right?  So how do we go about finding and recruiting these people?

Some simple guidelines for involving guest facilitators in a chapter’s LEAD programming.

Step 1: Decide which sessions you want or need guest facilitators. For Phase I, guest facilitators should be used for at least 3/10 of the sessions. Phase II, should have guest facilitators for 6/8 of the sessions. For Phase IV, guest facilitators will be needed/desired for 6/6 of the sessions. In All Chapter LEAD, guest facilitators should be used for at least 2/6 of the sessions and it is recommended to have guest facilitators for 4/6 of the sessions.

Step 2: Meet with the Greek Advisor or Faculty Advisor to get names of possible guest facilitators for the LEAD phases and sessions that you’ll focus on this semester/quarter/year. Also refer to your campus directory.

Step 3: Contact Guest Facilitators to see what dates they are available to facilitate a session.

Step 4: In LEAD Committee meetings, set the date, time and location for the ses­sions. Reserve meeting space for the session if necessary. Order all the materials needed for sessions. The list of needed materials is included in the facilitator notes for each session.

Step 5: Two weeks before the session send the guest facilitator the session guidance notes (Xerox them for the facilitator or provide the password for the digital version). If a brother in the chapter is facilitating the session, meet with them and make sure they spend at least an hour and a half getting ready for the session.

If you are facilitating the session, make sure to spend at least an hour and a half to review the session, add your own examples, ensure you have all materials and do a run through. Your prep time will make ALL the difference.

Step 6: Announce the session in chapter and instruct participants to review the online content prior to the date of the facilitated session. They should plan to complete any worksheets and print off the needed handouts. Make sure to tell the participants WHAT they will learn. Get them excited about the session! Then, remind them about the session and completing the online content the day before. Print a few copies of the handouts and worksheets (from the facilitator’s notes) for use at the session. Prepare any needed materials and confirm the room reservation.

Step 7: Thank the facilitator and recognize them in some way. Thank you notes and gifts (certificates, gift cards, blanket from the campus bookstore, etc.). Always follow-up within 48 hours of a session to thank the facilitator for their time and express to them how they helped the chapter (provide specific examples or changes as a result of their volunteering).

Guest Facilitator access to the online (user) content: To access the online portion of the LEAD Program (the participant experience, not the facilitator notes), guest facilitators will need to complete a request for guest facilitator access.  This form is found online and requires facilitators to identify the chapter/colony for which they will be facilitating.  Upon submitting a request, the guest facilitator will be provided a guest username and password via email, and should use the username and password to log in to the Members Area and access the online content.

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