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ASK, NOT TELL

....and many other thoughts about facilitation, coaching ( teams & individuals) and learning

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  • David

Singapore TTT – ‘The Knowledge is in the room!’

Updated: Mar 6


I attended a 6-day TTT course for a management course in Singapore last week. I learnt a lot from it. I wish I could have shared my learnings here earlier. But having been away from the office for a week, I have a lot to catch up and can only write now. Anyway, let me share with you the most amazing piece of learning first. It is a quote – ‘The knowledge is in the room.’


This quote was told by a master trainer to me ‘Being a facilitator, you got to have a faith that the knowledge is in the room. Whatever you do, bear this in mind. Nothing more, nothing less.’ Let me tell you my interpretation.


A good facilitator should ask a lot of questions instead of simply tell our answers. We should make the learners to have their own answers rather then take ours. Adult learns better this way. This is especially the case for experiental learning. However, we facilitators from time to time will face resistance from the learners. Though you ask from different angles, they may not come up with sensible answers, or even worse, they ask back, ‘Why don’t you just give us your thought?’ It is very tempting at these moments to simply tell rather than ask. If you have the faith that the knowledge is in the room, you will resist such temptation to tell. You will re-phrase your question, give them an example or simply give them a longer pause in order to better draw on the learners’ own thoughts.


I find this quote to be ultra-powerful!!


I guess the question then is whether I do believe that the knowledge is in the room. I think so for most of the soft skills training. Adult knows a lot before they enter your classroom. At the same time, they have a good common sense to derive their own knowledge. What you do is to draw the knowledge out, make them face with it and reconsider their behaviours.

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