C. Step One: Tell

Step One: Tell

You are just getting started. This step is all about creating context and safety. Here is what to do.

1. Brief intro and context:

  • Brief introductionYou talk, they listen.
  • You’re standing up. They are seated.

In a 30-minute class, all you have time to say is your name, how you identify yourself professionally, and what motivates you to teach today. No more. (We’ll talk about what you can say in a longer class later.)

For example: Hello! My name is Y. I am a [professional title], and I love to laugh. Today I would like to share with you something I greatly enjoy, and that always makes me feel really good.

2. (Optional) Icebreaker(s):

IcebreakerAn icebreaker is an activity or game designed to welcome participants and warm up the conversation among those present. They are helpful especially when participants don’t know each other. They also work very well for warming up the room, even for people who are already familiar with each other. An icebreaker can get people talking, generate laughter, and help participants start with an initial level of comfort.

So far, we have used the following icebreakers. Familiarize yourself with them!

  • What is your intention for today’s class? : This is about self-disclosure and for each to be open about why they are here. The question can be answered by one person at a time speaking to the whole group (less will be said), or to a partner only (more will be said.)
  • Smile and say hello : Some things are so obvious they are easy to miss. The name of this icebreaker describes exactly how it works. Smile and wave (and/or say hello) to each and all the participants around you as a sign that you are a friendly person!
  • Warm welcome : How would you greet guests coming to your house if you wanted them to feel warmly welcome? Ready, set, go!
  • Complete the sentence : Invite all to complete the following sentences: My favorite game as a child was… My favorite word is… There is nothing more I enjoy than… The best way for me to relax is…

(Observe the group applause/validation after each person share, and regular “Nice!”, “Well done!”, “Excellent!” positive reinforcements.)

Icebreakers are great, but they also take time and that’s why they are optional. Whether you use them or not depends on what you want to achieve because you can’t do everything. This will become more obvious to you as you gain more experience.

Tip: Always arrive a few minutes before the start of your program so that you have time to personally greet everybody. This is an easy way to break the ice and position you in a friendly light to all.

3. Self-assessment 1-10: Invite all to self-assess themselves on how they feel right here and now on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 10 (very good). Justify that by saying that you will conclude your program with the exact same exercise so that it’s easier to quantify the impact of what we are going to do together. (It’s a beautiful lead into a group sharing at the end.)