Training is a very expensive opportunity to get people together so it’s important to make the most of it. Here’s some of the main training problems you may encounter and tips on how you can address them to increase attendee participation, make the most of the time available and ensure your attendees benefit from higher quality training.
1. Disengaged Audience
An infamous scene, and we’ve all been there either on the delivery or receiving end.
A disengaged audience occurs when there is little audience discussion or action within the training. If the entire presentation is one way from trainer to audience, it’s natural that people will start to tune out. Group discussions, stretch breaks, discussion questions, and group practice exercises are some of the best ways to increase participation. Not only does increased participation make you as the trainer feel more confident, it results in a higher quality training.
In some cases, directly call attention to the engagement levels in the room, especially after lunch. A simple check in with your audience like “Hey, how are you all doing? You seem a little low energy. Want to do a stretch break?” or “Ya’ll have the post lunch sleepies? Let’s stand up and do an exercise!” will do wonders to refresh your audience and call the attention back to the training material.
2. Technology or Material Problems
Have you switched to the next slide and realised you’re using an outdated version of your training powerpoint? Or perhaps you realise you’ve missed a document for distribution?
As in all trouble situations, stay calm and do one of two things. If it is a quick fix, start the group on a discussion related to your topic. Gently continue to prod the discussion along while you work in the background until you’ve resolved your tech issues. If it’s a longer fix or requires you to step out of the room, control the situation and let everyone know that there will be a brief break to grab some water or use the restroom.
Stay calm, control the situation, and be creative in quickly resolving the issue.
3. Someone hijacks your training, or generally disruptive attendees
There’s always that person who thinks they have all the answers. You can usually identify these people quickly. They will interrupt or when you call on them take the opportunity to explain a non-related point at length.
What to do next? After they’ve had a fair opportunity to share with the group, quickly address and acknowledge their concerns or questions. Then firmly let them know that this is your training and their input will be welcome only at structured discussion points and exercises. You may need to interrupt them or be upfront in this confrontation. Something like “Thanks again for contributing that point. We’re now going to move ahead” or “Thanks for that point, but we will be learning the framework I am teaching today”. Even as straightforward as “Please stop interrupting so the rest of the group can learn and benefit from this training. If anyone would like to learn more from [Person Name], please follow up with them afterwards”.
As always, stay in control of yourself and the situation, and keep an open, patient, and gracious mind when dealing with your training attendees.
4. Wrong training?
Ever launch into a training and about 10 minutes in someone raises that they have already received that material or that the material is entirely unrelated to their work? This is usually a result of poor preparation and exploration, but it does happen.
If this situation ever happens to you, take a moment to pause and re-gauge. Ensure the person who requested the training is in on this discussion to provide clarity and expectations. Open up the conversation to explore what would be more relevant for the audience and what matches up with what you are able to train on comfortably.
5. Complaining about the software/data
Sometimes when training on a topic, an individual will take that as an opportunity to complain or make excuses related to the software, data, or general technology your organisation uses. Things like “It’s impossible to do that because the software is difficult to use” or “I always have problems with that process, so I don’t use it anymore”. It’s important to acknowledge the person’s frustration, take down a note for a follow up action item, and quickly return to the material and ideal process.
If the entire group agrees with the individual about the issue, take a few minutes to sidebar and understand if it a software issue or lack of training. If the latter, make time to do the software training so everyone is equipped to use the correct process. This situation can get out of control and quickly turn into a complaint fest, so keep everyone focused and discussing only things related to exposing and solving the problem.
For further advice on how to build and engage the community for your organisation, please contact Campaign Capital.
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