As all trainers would testify getting great participant feedback is absolutely essential to survival as a #trainer. Each of us has developed our own strategies to build credibility, connect with and engage our participants. We use a plethora of #training methodologies and brush up our content.
These are the strategies that we have seen our mentors use and we have been able to adapt them and use them ourselves:
As with an aircraft maximum fuel is consumed during takeoff. Remember: well begun is half done….Understand the importance of the beginning of a #training program. It sets the expectations and tone for the entire training program. Create a learning environment right at the start of the program.
- Dress professional and sharp. Remember that appearances matter.
- Create calm…create eustress. Visualize success
- Be at the venue early. Checkup that all equipment works and be ready for the participants to arrive.
- Greet each participant as they trickle in. Shake hands if culturally appropriate. Remember a handshake can very powerfully communicate confidence and trust.
- Introduce yourself and engage in small talk with the early participants. Ask questions around their experience, job profile etc. Make them your allies.
- Start the session on time if you have a decent participation. If you have to wait for the training room to fill up do not wait for over 15 mins, else the early arrivers will start getting annoyed.
- In such a case start with getting the audience to introduce themselves and introduce yourself at the last (So that the latecomers also get to know you)
- Introduce yourself well. Do not boast but do not underplay your achievements either.
- Edify your team and company: share with participants about them.
- Prep the participants with statements such as: “I am excited to be here.” “We are going to learn a lot today and have a lot of fun.”
- Build the audience by sharing that while you have significant experience, the total experience of all the participants in the room will enrich all of us. We will understand perspectives we were all unaware of.
- Discuss norms of the training room and get a buy in from all.
Once you reach cruising altitude the energy you need to expend reduces drastically.
- Be very aware of your body language. Ensure your gestures are open. Facial expressions are warm and confident. And do smile.
- Be aware of the participant profile. If they are peer and above you need to continue establishing your credibility. If they are below peer then you need to work on building common ground.
- Be aware of how you project yourself…You need to tread the fine line between “Know-it-all” and “The clueless wonder”.
- Pay special attention to participants. In the first tea break: Go and approach the skeptics. Build a personal equation with them. Use lunch to sit with the participants (Yes, instead of sitting aloof on a table)… Ask how is the session going for them? Smile and listen. The second tea break is to engage with the shy ones. By now you would have built trust with them. Draw them out over a cup of tea.
- Compliment your audience especially about their achievements / experiences or learning effort e.g. “I am humbled by what you have shared with us….” “Thank you for creating an open environment.” But remember compliment not flatter… be sincere.
- Use questions effectively to direct attention and create learning.
- Understand and use emotion. Ask them how they are feeling.
- Encourage appropriate touch (A handshake, a high five, a pat on the back) : but be very careful.
- Handle difficult questions with “That’s very interesting, I need to think about it. Can I get back to you on that?” And then do get back.
- Use the experience in the room to handle difficult questions. What do the others think about it?
Again as a aircraft prepares for descent so you too need to prepare to end the training program.
- Check the energy in the training room – 1 hour before close.
- Plan for an energizer if needed.
- Tell the participants that you had a great time. Share the insights you gained from them.
- Inform them how they can get in touch with you. Encourage connection. LinkedIn is appropriate.
- The “Photograph” – build some buzz around it
- Get them to fill the participant feedback forms on the training program.
- Shake hands and say goodbye.
Here’s to chart-busting feedback!!!
Lovely Kumar (Chief- Projects) and Anila Rattan (Chief- Strategy), Larks Learning Pvt Ltd.
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