Has this ever happened to you?

Your cohort has been so engaged in the CO.STARTERS content by asking questions and offering good perspectives that now you find yourself behind schedule.

Here are some tips on how to optimize the remaining time and cover as much content as you can.

Know where you are and where you need to go.

One best practice when facilitating is to always know the path. You need some way of knowing how much content is in front of you and how much time remains.

Your tracking can be as simple as using sticky notes that act as timestamps and content markers. If you’re a spreadsheet person, that works as well. .

Once you know how much content is in front of you, you need to prioritize which points are the most important, since you won’t have time to cover all of it. Make sure you cover the bolded and important concepts. The other content may not be necessary or relevant, depending on the knowledge level, interests, and needs of your cohort.

Skip if you can.

Once you know your path, determine whether there is a section you can skip. The sections we recommend skipping—if you must skip something for the sake of time—are denoted by the blue swap icon in the facilitator notes.

These sections will generally be toward the end of the session and range from 5 to 15 minutes in length. You might also decide to skip a section if your cohort already feels very confident with a particular topic.

Make a plan.

This isn’t the time to improvise your time management skills. A minimal contingency plan for when the session doesn’t go according to the script is essential.

Decide ahead of time which topics or elements you’ll eliminate if necessary. Depending on the section, you might skip the group discussion component. If you go this route, make sure you at least provide a quick overview of the important content, followed by the case study.

If you still don’t have enough time, you might assign the case study or activity for fieldwork. You’ll still need to introduce the main concept so that everyone understands the basic points; the cohort can then explore the content in detail as part of their fieldwork.

Ask good questions.

Try to always ask at least one question that gets at the heart of the content in each section. .

For the Starting Small section (p. 3.7), for instance, you could open with “When I say MVP, what do you think of?” Right off the bat, some will likely say “most valuable player.” Everyone will chuckle, but use this opportunity to get to the point, “Even though we’re not talking about sports here, your business also has a ‘most valuable player’—your minimum viable product. This is the lowest-effort, least expensive way you can solve your customer’s problem now.””

Then, refer the group to the bold text and definitions of starting small. Congratulations!, You just covered the important content in a creative, memorable way that took less than 5 minutes.

Focus your one question around the section’s key concept. If you struggle to find a good question, consult the important concepts and definitions. Explain to the cohort, “since we had great discussion on the last section and are short on time, let’s get right to the important points.”

Use visual tools.

Be creative. Use the whiteboard to draw a diagram to help explain what you are discussing or list the vocabulary. Show pictures or images. Using such tools provides visual support for the content and will help the cohort remember the critical point you are making, even if you must cover it quickly.

Follow these easy tips the next time you find yourself running behind schedule. If you execute this advice, the cohort will leave confident in the material and thrilled with the amount of discussion and engagement.