Step two is very important. Essentially, you have three jobs to do: (1) explain how the class is going to work, (2) demo and practice four exercises to make sure everybody is willing and able to participate, and (3) mention three key reminders that serve to either motivate or respectfully excuse any troublemakers that may have been identified.
On this page:
Understand The Reason For Step Two
It is common for new instructors to want to start their classes without giving any explanations. However, this is not recommended for several reasons:
- Participants may not be fully willing or prepared to participate. This can result in awkward moments that could have been avoided.
- The class may have faster, slower, louder, quieter participants, etc. A quick start may not be the most efficient way to handle this diversity.
- A safe and comfortable atmosphere has not yet been established. This can impact participant engagement in the exercises.
- The instructor has not yet asserted their leadership and may risk the class being taken over or derailed by disruptive individuals.
- Clear classroom boundaries and guidelines have not been set, making it easier for distractions and disruptions to occur.
To ensure a successful class, it’s important to take the time to establish a safe atmosphere, assert leadership, and set clear boundaries. Here is how it works:
How Step Two Is Structured
Essentially, you have three jobs to do (the “sub-steps we talk about below are in indicated in the image above):
||2: Demo & Practice
||3. Clear the path
|Sub-step 4 (brief explanation of how the class is structured) is designed to boost the group’s trust in the facilitator by showing them a clear and easy-to-follow process to guide them throughout the class.
||The four types of exercises in sub-steps 5-8 allow the facilitator to establish and reinforce their leadership by having participants listen to and follow their instructions. These exercises also help identify the energy level of participants and those unwilling to participate without explicitly addressing them.
||Finally, sub-step 9 provides a gentle way to motivate or respectfully excuse any troublemakers that may have been identified.
Tip: For in-person meetings, arrange participants in a circular formation. To keep things dynamic, ask them to take one step to the left or right after each instruction. Nobody should be standing in the same spot for more than one minute. That’s because the human body is designed for movement, and people start to get easily distracted and fidgety when standing up and doing nothing. If you want to talk, invite all to sit down.
What To Say
Next, briefly explain, demo, and practice with all:
Did you notice how each exercise gets delivered? It’s typically a 3-step process:
- Tell: Give it a name
- Show: Give a short demo of what it could look like
- Do: This is the most important step, which is a clear sign that it’s time for all to practice together, e.g., “Ready, set, go!” Once said, there is no going back and stopping the group to give further instructions. If you want to engage in variations, you’ll need to clap again to regain the attention of the group.
Did you also notice how many times each exercise was repeated?
- For brain integration and breathing exercises, it’s about three rounds (two are too short, and four start to get too much).
- For positive reinforcements and laughter exercises, it’s up to you, and let it be at least 20 seconds!
Watch any of the demo exercises videos above in sub-steps 4-8 again to see this in action.