Never Let Them See You Sweat

By Helen Torigoe, Guest Contributor

Image of a forest with large tree in the center with multiple arm-like branches.

In the first or second year of my attending TCC, I remember “walking into” a session ten minutes before the start time, and the facilitator welcomed me and other early birds by name. I was stoked at being recognized by name and being involved in a conversation although I was just a new login name in cyberspace.

Perhaps that was the moment when I became comfortable and confident enough to continue being an enthusiastic TCC participant for years afterward.

At the 10th hour of the 24-hour-marathon of TCC2020@25 Plenary Sessions on April 15, 2020, Dr. Curtis Ho introduced the same gracious facilitator as the Facilitator Emeritus/Guru who had facilitated countless TCC sessions over more than 15 years. Yes, those of us who have been attending TCC every year are very familiar with Dr. Rev. Alan Selig’s warm welcome and calm introduction of the speakers. But this time, he was the plenary speaker on a topic none other than how best to facilitate TCC sessions: “Never Let Them See You Sweat: Tips and Reflections from 15+ years as a TCC Online Conference Session Facilitator.” 

As Dr. Selig shared his 15-Point Declaration of Attitudes and Actions for Facilitating TCC Sessions that he had gleaned from personal experience, I realized how deeply wise and intentional he had been in every interaction in every session that he had facilitated. I kept nodding and smiling after he introduced each of the 15 declarations/tips because I remembered how I felt as an audience in the sessions that Dr. Selig had facilitated. He has indeed practiced these nuggets of wisdom over the years at TCC. He also observed that they apply to life in general.

Here are Dr. Selig’s 15 declarations/tips/reflections:

Never Let Them See You Sweat (Attitudes and Actions for Session Facilitators)

  1. This is an adventure.
  2. Smile when you talk.
  3. Be humble.
  4. A little paranoia can be good.
  5. Arrive early and stay late.
  6. Have emergency contact info handy.
  7. Welcome people as they arrive.
  8. Discover experience and comfort levels of presenters.
  9. Be ready with a few icebreakers.
  10. Pay attention.
  11. Life goes on.
  12. Every presentation is unique.
  13. Use your power wisely.
  14. Assume platform ignorance.
  15. Never let them see you sweat.

I look forward to bringing an adventurous spirit, cheerfulness, humility, preparedness, attention to detail, and calm demeanor to the future TCC sessions that I will be honored to facilitate. If you plan to facilitate TCC sessions in the future, I highly recommend listening and re-listening to Dr. Selig’s presentation. And remember that:

A personal voice is the digital equivalent of a warm hug and just keep offering a smiling and calm presence.

Editor’s Note: Helen Torigoe is an instructional designer at Kapi‘olani Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Along with colleagues Jamie Sickel and Youxin Zhang, she designed an award-winning professional development program in distance learning, Teaching Online Preparation Program (TOPP). To view a recording of Dr. Seligʻs presentation (and 23 others), see: [Day 2].

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About tcchawaiiadmin is a 501c(3) non-profit organization that produces the annual TCC Worldwide Online Conference in partnership with the LTEC department at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and LearningTimes of New York.
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