This is part two of 10 tips for trainers. See part one here. It’s my gift to you the day after my birthday. I figured as I don’t have to wait until Christmas to open gifts why should you.
6. Avoid the hairy, naked guy; part A
- when we’re stressed our brains aren’t primed for objective thinking, rather we’re focused on how to stay safe
- when we’re stressed our hearing can actually tank by up to 68% like the naked hairy guy above – talk about not being able to respond to learners!
- as trainers when we’re stressed we default to our level of preparation
- to help you and your brain avoid the effects of stress create a training supplies kit that goes with you to every training (no matter the audience or the content)
- mine’s in a ziplock plastic bag so I can easily see what’s in there – it’s full of fasteners, chalk, whiteboard markers, tape, scissors, kleenex etc.
- easy peasy – pack and go
7. Avoid the hairy, naked guy; part B
- as a trainer when our brain’s under stress (we’re behind time, a participant is being particularly challenging or we’ve just realized we’ve been training with bits of lunch stuck between our teeth) we’re not primed to be operating at peak efficiency
- for proof just look at said hairy, naked guy trying to absorb his doctor’s advice
- to help you avoid him and his state make your training agenda your friend
- make your training agenda easy to read by making the font larger than you normally would
- underline bits of your agenda that have a corresponding handout
- highlight parts of your agenda that have a corresponding powerpoint slide
- if you’re co-facilitating, highlight (in a different colour) the parts of your agenda that your colleague is responsible for
- if you do find you’ve had spinach stuck in your teeth for the last few hours at least you’ll be able to easily find your place in the schedule
8. ‘Ah ha’ is most powerful when preceded by ‘huh?!’
- curiousity is to the brain what a cold, glass of lemonade is to a thirsty throat on a scorching hot summer’s day
- our brains LOVE being curious – they seek to satisfy that curiousity
- as the Heath brothers talk about in their book Made to Stick the ah ha of discovery, of powerful learning is most powerful when preceded by huh?! or what’s going on, you have my attention, I’m engaged, I’m paying attention
- create learning situations that arouse learner’s curiousity and they’ll be powerfully motivated to satisfy that curiousity
- confession: I used this strategy by creating posts called bumblebee butts and avoiding naked, hairy guys
9. Once upon a time
- we all want learners who are engaged and curious (see point #8) and one way to get them there is to tell engaging, true stories
- stories are a powerful shortcut to great learning and increased retention
- I have a whole back pocket full of stories at the ready – there’s the one about training in East Africa when at night I had to watch out for hippos and during the day monkeys were on my radar
- make it real, make it personal and have several at the ready
- most of all make sure your stories are related to your learning objectives
10. Group groans
- group groans, a.k.a. learning activities that are embarrassing and/or silly, dampen learning faster than your teenager can come up with multiple excuses as to why their homework’s not done
- if participants feel embarrassed or are made to feel silly their brains are focused on keeping them safe, not on learning
- group groans are defined by the learner’s perspective, not ours – you may find an activity engaging but if it looks like your participants are sucking on lemons ditch it and change tracks fast
- still not sure what a group groan is? Take a listen. It’s any activity that prompts a participant to audibly or inaudibly do this: group groan
So there you have it – 10 tips for trainers- from bumblebee butts & booty to avoiding hairy, naked guys.
I welcome any tips you’d like to share. Please feel free.