As it comes to the end of the year, I start to wrap up my diary and plan for 2014 and one of the things I am doing next year is making sure that I get to do some training myself rather than writing it and delivering it all the time. I have a tight diary just like all of you do, so I want to make sure that the training I attend gives me the best value for my money. As I reflect on the programs I took part in this year I thought it might be valuable to identify what makes training engaging to me.
- Be a person too
I always get more out of a trainer who shows me who they are during the training. They don’t all do a song and dance (though that can be fun when they do) but those who let their personality shine through always are better at keeping me engaged and on task than those who don’t.
- Send out the right energy
I am all for training that is entertaining as well as informative, but sometimes trainers attempt things that are not authentic for them…and it shows. I really wish I could be the comedienne when I train but it is not who I am. I have tried it and fail miserably every time. So be who you really are and trust that participants will appreciate your passion, even without the bells and whistles.
- Have a conversation
At this stage in my career there are lots of people in the room who know as much and in some cases more than the person who is delivering the training. Often I get great tips from other participants as well as the trainer. So opening the space up to allow for information to move freely around the group is always good value in my book.
- Consider your learners
Anyone who is a trainer should start from where the learners are at, but this is a challenge sometimes and a real skill too. Spending some time at the beginning to figure out where everyone is at and why they came to this training is time well spent. It can free up session time to focus on the content that really is what everyone wants to learn about.
The brain loves and pays attention to something that is different or unique, so include something in your training that offers this. Staying true to all the points above still applies, but it doesn’t have to be something the trainer does – it can be a unique experience they have created for the participants that keeps their content front of mind for me. The only thing I would really emphasise about this is that it still needs to have relevance to the content. Novel activities that lack relevance are considered a time waster for me.
Of course, using 4MAT to design and deliver training is something I would also recommend but certainly using some of the points above are essential elements for engaging training experiences for me.
Author: Melinda Zanetich - Director & Master Trainer - 4MAT 4Learning - Asia Pacific Region