Every facilitator sets up the presentation table differently. I like to arrange mine so that it is perpendicular to the audience. This prevents me from getting stuck behind it, with the table forming a psychological and physical barrier.
I also have several items on my table that I organize before participants arrive. As you can see from the photo, there are several personal care items (Kleenex, mints, lipstick), a few noisemakers for grabbing attention, my notes and the necessary technology. But the following 3 items are Must Haves:
1. Small, digital clock
An effective facilitator keeps track of the time without drawing audience attention to it. If you look at your watch, people in your audience may notice and become aware of the time. You don’t want this! Instead, you want your audience to be pleasantly surprised at how quickly time has flown by when you announce the break. By keeping a small clock on the table, I can easily glance at it without anyone noticing.
2. Water bottle with lid
Nervousness can lead to a dry mouth and rapid breathing. Taking a drink of water can calm your nerves by regulating your breathing and giving you a mini-break to think. But an open glass of water can lead to disaster – spilled all over your notes and technology! Keep a bottle with the lid on all times.
3. Cheat sheet(s)
In addition to my presentation notes, I keep one or two ‘cheat sheets’ on my table (in this photo, the pink card.) These usually represent a new skill that I am working on or something I find difficult to remember. For example, I recently realized that I might overuse the word “favorite” when I am sharing strategies with my participants, so I created a ‘cheat sheet’ of synonyms so that I can be more precise in my language. Some facilitators keep a cheat sheet of ways to handle difficult participants. Whatever skill you’d like to improve – it’s okay to ‘cheat!’
What essential items do you keep on your presentation table?
For more ideas on conducting an effective learning experience for adults, check out my book Caffeinated Learning.
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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