Recently, I had the opportunity to be an observer in a training course. It was an established, one-day course that had been customized specifically for the customer. The intent was to provide an overview of the product line, discuss the features and benefits and how to use the various products.
What I observed, unfortunately, was more of the same - what I call bad classroom habits. Are you guilt of these 3 habits in your classroom?
1. You don't take time at the start of the course to get to know your audience and their experience with your products or your company.
If you are delivering a customized training course to a group of (new or existing) customers, you have to do a sanity check to make sure you're heading in the right direction with the content.
What I witnessed in the course I observed was no such effort at the start to confirm the students' experience with the products or what it was that they wanted to get out of the course. Which means that any customized content might be general enough to hit the mark, but will probably play out as information overload - show up and throw up.
If you don’t know why your students are in your class, ask them and find out! They may have a need from or goal for your course that you didn’t even plan on discussing.
You can choose to be a company simply dropping in to deliver "training" information...or, you can make your audience feel like a valued customer whom you are there to serve. Your choice.
2. You ask: “Any questions?” - when you really don't mean it.
You know this drill because we've all been guilty of it at some point in our training career.
You finish explaining a section of content and then you ask, "Any questions?" You seem very sincere in how you ask the question, but...
You've asked it as a close-ended question - one that prompts a yes or no response.
And the whole 3 seconds you wait before moving on to the next topic is not enough time for your students to process their own questions, much less what you just said.
The EMU Experience is all about engaging your students by promoting purposeful discussions. I teach you how to avoid yes or no questions by coming prepared with your own set of open-ended questions that you will be asking through the course.
Until you take my training course and learn what you’ve been missing, what can you do differently in your course? Instead of "Any questions?" ask:
And wait for them to answer before moving on.
3. You establish the standard that it's OK for your students to sit quietly and to NOT ask questions.
Don't infer from their lack of response that they are simply absorbing and processing all the wisdom you are espousing. If you are guilty of the two things already discussed above, then your students have most likely checked out. In other words, you've overwhelmed them with information and you haven't effectively engaged them.
If it's been 1 hour, and your students haven't spoken, please stop what you are doing and get them talking.
If you wait until 2 hrs have passed, I believe you've truly lost your opportunity. It's going to be awkward attempting to engage them this far into the course. You have to engage them early and often.
Also, you can’t do introductions at the beginning and then a group project at the end of the day. It just won’t work the way you want it to.
The bottom line: Your customers' experience with your training course becomes their most recent experience with your company. If you choose to engage them early, often and purposefully, you will put your course light-years ahead of the majority of training courses.
I can help you achieve that for your course and your students.
My Udemy course - Facilitation Basics: Engaging Adult Learners - is my 8-hr live Train-the-Trainer workshop condensed into 3 hours of online learning. It’s groundbreaking and tested content that I’ve successfully taken over 700 instructors through.
You can find it here for only $45.
I want you to begin creating learning experiences that are engaging, memorable and unexpected. If you have questions, email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.