There’s nothing more disheartening as a trainer than taking pride in the course you’re delivering, only for it to seemingly fall on deaf ears.
You’ve spent weeks planning, rehearsing, and you’ve even run a couple of tester sessions that seemed to go brilliantly.
So, what gives? Why aren’t your course attendees engaging?
Delivering training is hard but incredibly rewarding when you get it right. And, while it’s easy to point the finger at learners when it comes to low levels of engagement, one fact remains true: when it comes to engagement, it’s all down to you - the trainer.
With that in mind, here’s some tried-and-tested ways to ensure you catch and keep your audience’s attention.
What’s the aim of your training? More importantly, what’s your objectives for those in attendance?
The aim of a training course is whatever it is the learners will achieve. That's a simple one, but the objectives are the smaller goals that add up to the aim; think of them as the constituent elements that must be taught and learned.
Refer to your aim and objectives regularly during the training session - don’t just open with it. The more specific you can make the objectives and more aspirational the aim, the more likely you’ll be to pique their interest.
Training shouldn’t be a monologue; in order for people to feel like they they’re properly involved, it needs to be an interactive experience.
Ask questions throughout, and at regular intervals ask everyone in attendance if they understand what has been taught so far.
Some people will suffer in silence, therefore the clearer you make it that this is an open session where people can ask questions and put their hand up if they simply don’t understand something, the more likely they are to engage.
The faster you talk, the less engaging you become.
You’ll have noticed this yourself if you’ve ever attended a conference with speakers who seemingly ramble on at break-neck speed without pausing for breath, or during media interviews where the interviewee nervously rattles off facts and figures without blinking.
Pausing for effect is an important tool when you’re delivering training. The key is to pause for what feels like too long, because it isn’t; pausing regularly and in a measured fashion will draw people in.
It also gives the attendees time to register what you’ve said and either formulate a response or process the words in order to learn.
How many meetings have you attended where you feel like you’re wasting your time?
This is usually because the people in attendance have failed to be concise in their delivery of the topics or responses to questions.
As humans, we learn best from messages that are quick and to the point. If you’re concise as a trainer and avoid waffling, you’ll demonstrate to those in attendance that you value their time and respect their intelligence. What’s more, they’ll have a much easier time of retaining the information if it isn’t lost in long, rambling stories.
This is a great way to immediately grab your audience’s attention and keep it resting in the palm of your hand.
Open your training sessions with a key statistic, fact or short tale that links directly to the course material but which will come as a surprise to the people attending the course.
Providing you pick something that’s juicy, amusing or downright shocking, it’ll stay with them, and you should have their attention from that point onwards.
Don’t fear that next training session! With our tips above, you’ll have little trouble engaging a room full of people, but if you feel you need more assistance, a Train the Trainer course might be the perfect way to bolster your own skills.
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