January 18, 2019

Engaging employees during training

Probably the hardest thing to accomplish in any training session, no matter the material being presented is keeping the audience engaged and interested. Especially true if they believe they don’t need the training or the presenter is dull and boring, and they soon forget as much as 95% after one week.

If they are disinterested or it doesn’t involve them personally… That is the way of the business world. Just as unfortunate is the way that it can cost you and your business financial resources, if they don’t absorb, and retain, the material. This is especially true if you have disabled employees who may not be able to understand the information being presented in an understandable format.

Anyone can train a room full of intelligent humans. Even a chimpanzee could train people, if they are not disinterested. The trick is to engage your people. When it comes to disabled employees, they may become disinterested if they can learn nothing from presenters who have no clue how-to present to disabled employees.

It doesn’t matter what method, or combination of methods you use. From instructors, videos, power-points, manuals, CD’s, overhead projectors, or costumed characters. If your instructor is as interesting as a cow patty or a moss-covered sloth moving through the trees, they won’t remember much of anything except the boring instructor.

I have been to seminars/classes where the instructor could read a bag of fertilizer and keep you engaged and interested. Therefore it’s not necessarily the material but the instructor and how it is being presented. Because every group of people are different when it comes to retaining the material, this is especially true for those who may be disabled. The best instructors will find ways to keep the audience involved and engaged. If that means changing tracks in the middle of their presentation…

Simply having your audience watch videos isn’t the best either, like watching a boring movie. Think of your blind employees…put on a blind fold and see if you can follow the material on a video or presentation. Videos are the preferred method for most security companies, which is why most officers soon forget what they have been taught.

Training Methods:

The training method you utilize also has a lot to do with how well it is received and retained. I utilize 3 methods all melded together when I conduct training. It doesn’t work with everyone or in every setting, but in most of my classes.

The first method I use is an oldie but goodie. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. This should be a commandment of everyone. Keep your training simple. It doesn’t matter who you are training, keep it simple enough for them to understand. This way, whatever their education or level of the company they will be able to comprehend it easier.

No, you’re not insulting their intelligence, although some who already know some of it will think so, you are training your participants on something they don’t know. Therefore, despite their possibly advanced degrees, you need to keep it at a basic level and build upon that as you go along. To do otherwise you risk losing their attention with items that are too far over their heads. Again, they may think they know it all but… why did they hire you?

The second method is the Socratic Method. It is a simple yet very effective tool in training. In essence the participants train themselves. I know what I said above about keeping it simple, you will see why this is so simple and effective.

Instead of giving them the answers I ask them questions and have them tell me the answers! If they don’t know it they sit and think for as long as necessary to get the correct answer. But in the process, they are throwing out answers that are both right and wrong, hopefully, just not the book learnin’ way. It’s a matter of dragging the answer out of them and making them think.

Lastly, I use shock & awe. I usually start my workplace violence classes with having them close their eyes and relax, thinking about a beautiful spring day and they’re busily working on a project. Then as they are imagining the day and their keyboard, I slam a book on the table. That gets their attention making them sit up, take notice, and wonder…what’s  next to either change the direction of the class or… While it is a bit over the top, theatrical, and melodramatic it does get their attention. And to answer your question, yes, I have used this with C-suite executives.

Should you use shock and awe if you have disabled employees in the audience? That is a touchy subject. Some participants who may be disabled may not mind and not affect them at all. Others on the other hand…with the overly litigious society and the proliferation of cases of supposed PTSD…Not saying that everyone who suffers from PTSD isn’t suffering from it but…use it as an excuse for a multitude of reasons, most not legitimate. So, that was a convoluted way of saying it depends on the people you’re training.

Robert D. Sollars helps organizations to safeguard the lives of their employees and students and lessen their risk of violence, as well as with other security–related issues, using time–tested and proven ideas.

Website: www.robertdsollars.com

Twitter: twitter@robertsollars2

Facebook: Facebook.com/robertdsollars

Email: robertsollars2@gmail.com

Phone: 480-251-5197

He is the author of three books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses, all available on Amazon.

His book–related website, with full information on his most recent book, Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention, is: http://www.dldbooks.com/robertdsollars/

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear


Permission to reprint and share? Of course, with these guidelines: The original content must be printed in full, with original wording and full attribution.

Copyright 2019 Robert D. Sollars

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