What if I told you that there was an easy opportunity to leverage your training design, three for the price of one, in fact.
Most of us focus only on delivering our training. You know, that ________ hour (insert the training length) workshop on ________ (insert your topic) to ______ (insert your audience).
And I get it, that’s a mighty fine thing to focus on. But if you leave it at that, you’re missing not one but two other really important opportunities to engage your audience.
Two opportunities that lead to more engagement, better retention, and better learning.
Have I piqued your interest?
First, I’ll explain the two techniques, and then I’ll give you seven ways to do just that for each. That’s twelve easy ways to get more bang for your training buck, not to mention better learning, retention, and engagement for your participants.
Opportunity #1 → Pre-engagement
Say what? Pre-engagement is when you do just that, incorporate strategies to engage your audience before they’re in the room with you (whether that room is a virtual or IRL one).
Pre-engagement strategies should raise your participant’s curiousity and make them feel included and motivated to attend your training.
Opportunity #2 → Engagement
This is the one we all naturally focus on, the delivery of the actual training and the learning. So let’s skip ahead to number three.
Post-engagement is just what it sounds like. It’s building opportunities to engage your audience AFTER they’ve left your training. It’s applying TOL (transfer of learning) strategies, and essentially, it gets the “learning to leave the ‘room’” (again, no matter whether that room is a real one or a virtual one). With post-engagement strategies, it’s like you’re behind them, cheering them on, supporting them to use their learning.
Now that you’re in the know about the three-for-one opportunity, let’s proceed with some examples.
Because when I work with subject matter experts to teach them how to design and deliver powerful learning, and I teach them this technique, I get this question A LOT.
How do I actually do it?
I’ve got your back.
Here are seven examples of pre-engagement you can use with your next training
Note: the focus of your pre-engagement activities will be affected by your subject matter, but no matter the subject, any and all workshops can benefit from pre-engagement.
1. Introduce yourself and have some fun – part one
- In almost all of my introduction emails to participants for an upcoming training, I’ll say something like: “If this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you, feel free to take a look at my interactive bio and be sure to scroll your mouse over my picture for a surprise.” It never fails to raise curiosity and get remarks during the training.
2. Introduce yourself in an engaging way – part two
- Set the tone for an engaging interactive workshop by sharing a ‘movie’ about yourself. Simply make some ‘flashcards’ with questions in PowerPoint and export as a movie. Here’s an example of mine.
3. Get participants to do something easy, together, to set a collaborative tone – example one
- Again you can get folks interested and pre-engaged by getting them to do something together, like a collaborative story.
4. Online collaboration opportunity – example two
- Use easy (emphasis on easy) online tech tools to boost engagement and collaboration. Here’s an example using Padlet, where I ask participants to add an example of what they consider Wellness to be for a course I teach on Work-Life Balance during Covid.
5. Raise their curiosity and give some hooks (a.k.a. a statement that is somewhat unusual and nabs attention)
- Here’s an example. I’ll share this audio file and ask participants to write down the word that’s being said (while promising that I’ll link it to the upcoming training). Easy right? Take a listen.
6. Key questions
- Sometimes for workshops, especially those UN courses I teach that offer certificates, I’ll get participants to enter their curious questions on a Google sheet before the workshop starts. Easy peasy. And a bonus, I get to see what they’re interested in.
7. Get your participants curious about your content
- Have you ever played bingo? It’s easy to make a bingo card from your content and share it with the participant beforehand. Here’s an example based on Virtual Team Building workshops I give (yes, that’s a thing now!).
If your mission is to get a three-for-one bang for your training buck, I’ve given you seven examples of how to pre-engage your participants. And without causing migraines. In fact, it’s as far from brain surgery as you can get. With a little planning, it’s easy peasy and it bumps up engagement, learning, collaboration, and retention.
Watch for the next post, which will be seven examples of how to post-engage your participants.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Pick one or two of the pre-engagement strategies above that you want to try and prep accordingly.
- Get a new perspective on your trainings using pre and post-engagement. Who knows what views it will open up?!
- Those two strategies you prepped above? Time to implement them!
Interested in learning more about designing and delivering powerful learning/training? Feel free to contact me.