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Don’t forget the “Instructions” slide

Projecting instructions for all to see can reduce confusion and keep participants on task.

Over the past several weeks I’ve had a number of opportunities to facilitate in-person training sessions. For each of these sessions, I found that I prepared very few slides.

Of the slides I did have in my decks, I realized that almost all of them were “Instruction slides” – written instructions for each activity that could be projected on a screen for all to see.  

It may sound like a little detail, but having instructions written on your slides has the following benefits:

  1. Whether or not people were listening to you when you gave activity instructions, everyone can see the exact same instructions throughout the duration of an activity. Even when people are listening to your instructions, they sometimes hear different things. An instruction slide helps ensure consistency of messaging.
  2. As a facilitator, you can spend less time re-explaining small group activity instructions to each individual group and you can spend more time listening in on small group conversations.
  3. Participants can refer back to your instruction slides in order to ensure they are staying on track during their conversations.

That’s it. There’s no need for a long, drawn out list of nuanced reasons. Three things: consistency of instructions, no need to repeat yourself and participants can direct themselves.

These slides don’t need to be fancy. Here are several examples:


Persuasive Pitch


Instruction slides save time during an activity and keep everyone on the same page, yet it’s an often-forgotten element to an otherwise well-designed training session.

Do you have some other strategies to keep small groups focused and working toward the same goal? I’d love to hear some of your ideas in the comment section!

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