You can use this pair of audience activities or interactions to “bookend” your training:
- The 1st is a superb addition to your session’s opening.
- The 2nd is an engaging way to get feedback at the end.
Interaction #1: Let the “attenders” set the agenda(*)
Have you ever seen a trainer do something that stayed with you for decades?
More than 20 years ago, way back in the 20th century, I saw a trainer use such an awesome technique that I’m still talking about it now – in the next millennium! So before I start to feel too old, let me share it with you.
It was in the early 90s, and I was on a course about spreadsheet macros. In the 1st few minutes, the trainer asked each of us what one task we most wanted to learn to do in the software. As we answered, he wrote what we said on a flipchart, and when he’d asked us all, he stuck the paper on the wall for all to see.
For the rest of the course, he then covered each point on the list, ticking them off as he went, until each of us had had our top request answered.
What a great way to structure a course – I was so impressed!
So if you’re looking for a killer way to structure a training session you’re running – and if you’re truly an expert in the subject – I can’t think of a better way to meet your learners’ needs.
Bringing it into the 21st century Even if you’ll run your training session online, in software like Adobe Connect or similar, you can still use the same technique:
- Near the start, tell attendees you want to cover each person’s top takeaway.
- Open a new chat box.
- Paste a short question into the box, like:
“What’s the 1 thing you most want to cover today?”
- Throughout your session, keep that wish-list chat box where everyone can see it (just like the flipchart paper in the story).
- Use a different chat box for other discussion points, so the wish-list stays easy to see. (After all, in a classroom, you’d use other flipchart pages or the whiteboard to keep the wish-list separate.)
- Just like in a Q&A session, if you get a topic you can’t answer, let that person know you’ll follow up with them after the event.
Provided your audience is small, you could even use this technique at the start of a webinar. (I use “webinar” to mean an online presentation, which tends to be less learning-based and less interactive than virtual instructor-led training, or “VILT”.)
* By the way, I made up the word “attenders” in the title for 2 reasons:
- I like how it rhymes with “agenda”.
- I wonder, why is someone who mends called a “mender”, and someone who lends is a “lender”, yet someone who attends is an “attendee”?
Interaction #2: Get feedback using a “Like-it” scale (different from Likert)
As with interaction #1 above, this is an idea I got from someone else. But unlike interaction #1, I learned about this one just over a year ago, so you might say it’s a 21st-century idea! I heard it from Sheila Robinson, and it’s a tip for getting valuable feedback.
Your attendees will respond well to it I’m sure, because it’s very different from most feedback they’re asked to give (in that it’s refreshingly emotional, and it’s extremely quick to complete).
It works like this: At the end of your session, present a list of emotions to your attendees, like these:
Ask people to tick the ones they’ve felt during your event, and provide a box where you ask them to explain why they felt that way. What a fun and enlightening poll – simple, yet so novel!
“I bet that the speed with which people can answer… means they feel they can respond freely, and that their feelings are being heard.”
Over to you
- Would you use either of those techniques?
- Why or why not?
- What emotions would you put in the list?
Also check out
- How to rock at webinars – 9 concrete tips to keep people engaged
- 10 tech tips for webinars and online meetings
- 12+ ways to be remembered when you present (FiRST framework – part 3)
- “Analog” presentation tips #1: Use a flipchart [Video to watch]
- Stop Q&A hypnosis! (Keep people visually engaged while you answer questions)
- Improve each time you present – Great tips by @CharlesGreene3 on getting feedback
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