I came across this great video (see below) from Tofu Design called 29 ways to stay creative. I really like the title because it assumes you and me are creative to start with, which is my mantra. Creativity is in our DNA – some of us just have to dig deeper for it if we’ve been discouraged from displaying our creative gifts.
I’ve added to the 29 points to emphasize how you can stay creative when you’re training, creativity being such an important part of training and all. The first part of each item below is from the video (e.g. surround yourself with creative people), what follows are my suggestions (e.g. include creative folk in your inner circle).
BTW: for the first ten ways to stay creative when you’re training see the first post. For the final 9 ways see the next post.
11) Surround yourself with creative people – this is key for great trainers, make sure you include creative folk in your inner circle. Some of my fav friends and sources of inspiration are Dolly Hopkins, Dyana Valentine and Danielle LaPorte.
12) Get feedback – soooo important yet oft overlooked. When I teach Workshops that Work, a training on how to teach in engaging, creative ways, one of the most nerve wracking yet best received sections is when folks get up and actually practice teaching. There’s nothing like getting feedback from other trainers (as long as it’s respectful and well intended). Ask a respected colleague to sit in on a workshop and get their feedback. Ask them for both specific and general feedback. For example if you’re unsure of how your introductions are received ask for specific feedback on that.
13) Collaborate – two heads are better than one is an oft used mantra. Know that when it comes to training it generally takes much longer to co-plan and co-deliver a workshop. The benefits to the participants are many (e.g. seeing two delivery styles), just make sure you plan your time accordingly. Also when you co-facilitate make sure you’re clear on roles, who’s doing what, if it’s okay to step in with a comment or not when it’s ‘their’ turn, and how do you signal each other if time is running over etc.
14) Don’t give up – praise the goddess of training! Training and development is tough. There will be times when you wonder just how on earth did I manage to muddle it so badly? Great trainers are made not born. It takes time to perfect your craft. And because you’re working with no less than unpredictable human beings, the very same content can go swimmingly one time and drag you down the next. Be tenacious!
15) Practice, practice, practice – hand in hand with the above, no baby ever came out of the womb teaching another how to breastfeed. It takes practice, and more practice. Even if you train the same content continuously, each group will be different, guaranteed. And likewise each group is a chance to practice and learn.
16) Allow yourself to make mistakes – your training will be downright boring if you don’t. Playing it safe means no leaping into learning, no novelty, no newness. When you’re trying a new technique however, know that some will rise to the top and others will tank. Your attitude towards mistakes will go a long way in helping your participants be comfortable in doing the same.
17) Go somewhere new – I’ve done training in the Canadian Arctic in -72 degree celsius weather and in East Africa where I had to watch for hippos by night and monkeys by day. I’ve done a workshop with Beluga whales jumping at the back of the room and in a room with no heat in the middle of winter. New venues spark it up and bring new learning to the table so get out and go forth!
18) Count your blessings – keep a file (electronic or paper) of feedback from participants. Remember why you got into training and development in the first place. There’s nothing like the rush of helping to facilitate learning and opening doors for participants.
19) Get lots of rest – taking good care of yourself means you’re better able to be the great trainer that you are. Get enough sleep and make sure you have lots of water to drink. If the workshop is long enough ensure proper breaks (for you and the participants). If I’m anticipating a tough crowd I’ll bring some lavender scent with me to help me stay relaxed, calm and open. Think about what works for you and do it!
20) Take risks – it’s a risk for participants to enter into learning. It’s about making oneself vulnerable. As a trainer we can and should model that as well. Some of my best feedback has come when I’ve felt the most vulnerable and taken the greatest risks. Take a deep breath and dive into learning!