It is of prime importance to have the ability to effectively use the given time frame within a training course. Therefore, it is required to get to know some fundamentals of effective time management in order to keep the training sessions on track and achieve the envisaged training objectives. It is crucial to develop a detailed agenda ahead of the course as well as continuously taking process notes, process checks and to inform the participants about the next steps. However, effective time management must also allow for some deviations and be flexible.
For trainers, time management is very important. They need to design training effectively to the needs of the learners.
Effective time management is essential to keep the training course on track and to accomplish the envisaged objectives. The key to successful time management is carefully planning and then protecting the planned time – and still remain flexible to cover upcoming needs. Effective time management is about learning different time management strategies, increasing the productivity, getting organised and using the time management skills to achieve goals and get more done in the same time.
Now given that a training session can last from one hour to several days, and it is concentrated time (when you are training, you are training, you cannot do anything else). How can we be expected to perform anything else?
Each training must have an agenda which has been developed ahead of time and ratified by the members of the team. This agenda should include:
Learn more on developing an agenda.
When a training course is facilitated, there must be detailed process notes for each agenda item. These notes specify how the session will be facilitated. Furthermore, these process notes should specify which tools are to be used and how participation will be managed. More detailed information can be found in planning individual sessions.
Effective trainings require people to play defined roles. In smaller training, the facilitator or teacher has do all jobs at the same time. In larger workshops, responsibilities might be divided:
It is important to make sure that the group of participants has clear norms for behaviour and that those norms are created by the group itself (see also setting ground rules).
Process checking is a technique used during trainings to keep things on track. This involves stopping discussion periodically to redirect members’ attention and to show how and where the training is going. The purpose of this shift in focus is to engage members in a quick review in order to identify needed improvements. The 4 steps in process checking are:
Never let a group leave a training session without clear next steps in place. This means defining what will be done, by whom and when. These action plans need to be brought forward at all subsequent trainings to make sure that the group is followed through on commitments.
Evaluation is considered as being an important process of a training session in order to reflect, analyse and improve its effectiveness and efficiency.
As stated above, allow for some flexibility. A training session can’t be planned 100% in advance. Stay flexible, try to find out the needs and interest of the participants, and allow yourself do deviate from your original plan if you feel that it is really necessary. The real art of time management is being flexible and still covering all that you want!
Effective time management is crucial whether the training duration is only one day or even two weeks. Without the development of a detailed agenda ahead, it is almost impossible to keep the training sessions on track and achieve the training objectives efficiently. Yet, managing time successfully also means keeping a certain level of flexibility. Time management strategies cannot only be implemented in trainings but also useful in daily life of the lecturers and participants. It is therefore worthwhile to get to know some useful time management strategies and advice.
BENS, I. (2005): Facilitating with ease! Core skills for facilitators, team leaders and members, managers, consultants and trainers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
An excellent training is nothing without an excellent trainer. This publication covers basic guidelines and tips to help improve your training skills. The following areas are covered: Preparation, Establishing Confidence, Setting the Tone, Facilitating Discussion, and Ending.
This presentation describes in the first part how to manage your personal time in an efficient manner. In the second part the presentation focuses on how to manage time during a meeting.
This paper gives an overview about how to manage the time efficiently during a meeting and explains for example how to set an agenda and ground rules.
STEINLIN, M.; WIDRIG JENKINS, C. (2010): Facilitation Handbook. Knowledge Sharing for Change. Designing and Facilitating Learning with a Transformational Impact. Cape Town: Ingenious Peoples Knowledge. URL [Accessed: 07.05.2012]. PDF
The Facilitation Handbook uses a particular approach to change processes, that builds on the idea of looking at social groups and institutions as complex systems. It contains various sections: starting with a brief general outline of how we believe we can deal with complex systems in a change context, it then draws practical conclusions on designing and delivering change events (such as workshops, meetings, conferences, …) – in particular in terms of the architecture of such events; it then creates an overview over methods and tools which allow to select and assemble them into a meaningful order that directs the event towards results.