5 questions to ask yourself to make sure you are not over-sharing.

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Over sharingWhen I sat down to write this week’s blog, I was going to share something which had happened over the weekend.  But as I started to write it, I began to wonder whether or not I was sharing too much.  I questioned whether or not I would cause offense to those involved if I blogged about the situation (it was a very specific situation and not one that could be easily disguised – those involved would absolutely have been able to identify themselves) and I wondered whether or not people even wanted to read about that kind of thing.  Is it interesting to hear more about the facilitator or does it cross a line and become unprofessional?

I don’t know about you, but very often whilst I’m facilitating there are opportunities to share more about myself.  My experiences, my history, my personality.  Sometimes I take these and sometimes I don’t.

Whilst I don’t always consciously think about what I’m doing at the time (I tend to follow my gut feeling a lot of the time in these situations), over the years I have development a mental checklist which helps me strike the right balance between professional and personal.  And here it is…..

1. Do I already have a relationship with these delegates?  If I already know them and they know me, then I will already have some understanding of what is appropriate or not to share.

2.  Do I need to build rapport/establish a relationship with these delegates? Of course the answer to this is almost always YES!  If there are plans for me to work with people for a longer period of time (i.e. a Facilitator that I’m coaching) then I will tend to share more openly than if I’m likely to only meet them once.  Having said that, to help ensure they get the best from the training session, I want to have a good rapport with even those people I will only encounter that day.

3.  Do I need to demonstrate my credibility?  Sometimes when working with groups, you need to establish yourself with more than just a brief summary of your background.  It can be really helpful to share your own real-life experiences during a session with learners.  It not only brings content alive but it provides evidence that you do know what you are talking about!

4. Whats the tone of the group? Some groups are more relaxed than others.  Some just want to focus on the content whereas others enjoy a lighter tone to the session.  I always try and respond to the mood of the group.

4. Am I keeping myself safe? I’ve had times when I could have shared very personal things with groups of learners and perhaps had I not been in a “learning” setting I may have done.  But when in a classroom (virtual or face-to-face) environment, it is important that you keep yourself emotionally safe.  And that can mean holding back, but it’s right to do so.

What are your top tips to ensure you don’t over-share in the training environment?



Founder of Zostera Ltd and The Trainers CPD Club. I've worked in L&D for over 16 years across both the public and private sectors.

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