Posted on 08-Feb-16

Part 2 of 3

Number 2 on Asphalt HebiFot on PixabayLast week, I discussed how to engage your participants before the event through the start of the training course. Did you try the99 Seconds exercise?

Today, I am going to review other memorable and unexpected opportunities for engaging your audience and helping them learn.

Phase 6. AM/PM Breaks

Any break is a golden opportunity to give your participants something to ponder while they briefly escape your clutches. The timing and flow of your course should work toward that goal. But what do you give them to ponder?

The EMU Experience Strategy:

Leave them with a question as they head to break. Ask them a question and make them write down their feedback on a Post-It (in the form of another question, an answer or a takeaway that's stuck with them so far) and place it on the wall or door near the exit.

Videos. In preparation for when your participants come back from break, have a 1-3 minute funny video cued up. Yes, I said the “F” word: funny. Start the video when the break time is up, regardless of who's in the room. Since it's a funny video, those in the room will get to see and enjoy it.

Others will wander in as they hear the video (you've turned it up especially loud so the other participants can hear it in the hallway) or hear the laughter coming from the room.

Others will miss the video completely, but will be told by their neighbors, "Dude, you missed a hilarious video." Where will those folks be next break? Most likely back in the room to see the entirety of the video...dude.

NOTE: These videos do not have to be related to anything you are teaching about. In fact, that's probably best.

Well, if they’re not serving an educational purpose, what's the point of the videos?

  • They bring your participants back into the classroom, without you having to play hall monitor and round everyone up. I can't remember the last time I’ve had to step into the hallway to say, "Hey guys, we're starting." I simply play a video.
  • The 1-3 minute timing allows your participants to mentally disconnect from the phone calls or emails they were working on during the break and allows you to more easily regain their attention after the video.

In other words: the videos bring your participants back physically AND mentally.

Phase 7. Lunch/Turning Point in Big Picture Arc

In my Train-the-Trainer workshop, lunch reflects the turning point in the content. It's the Act 2, where my participants have to make the decision to either continue doing their training the same as always or choose to be willing to venture down this new path of training techniques that I'm proposing.

It's the pause before I show them tips and techniques they probably never seen or heard before. Their world and how they do training is about to change forever, and they have no idea.

EMU Experience Phase 7 DaydreamingHow do I know this? Because I’ve seen this arc play out powerfully, over and over again, in my workshop. One of my Train-the-Trainer participants made the following statement when it all clicked for him: "I've been doing it wrong for 40 years."

A comment like that from a participant will make your day, week, month and year!

The EMU Experience Strategy:

If you design or facilitate a course that's longer than 4 hours, think about how you can make the flow of your content align with this significant break in the day. Don't do a "working lunch" - that doesn't count. If you have to tighten the timing on lunch, give them 30 minutes.

The point is: Your participants need time to process and reflect on what they've learned and to mentally prepare for what's coming after lunch.

Phase 8. BINGO Kicks In

I love BINGO as a classroom activity. And it's after lunch when it really gets moving.

The EMU Experience Strategy:

Let’s start by going way back to Phase 5; The First 30. After we complete the 99 Secondsactivity, I go over the agenda for the training workshop. As part of that, I hand out BINGO sheets that I've customized for my Train-the-Trainer workshop.

I have five different versions of the BINGO sheet that I distribute throughout the room. Each sheet contains 24 main topics or takeaways that I will cover.

EMU Experience Phase 8 BINGO

The rules are simple:

  1. Participants mark each topic as I discuss them and then shout “BINGO” when they have it.
  2. Each participant with BINGO must then stand and tell the group one thing they remember about each of the topics that make up their BINGO.
  3. Give them a prize (i.e., candy, chocolate, $20), have the rest of the participants applaud, and then continue with your training.

As you continue through the day, more and more BINGOs happen – which is a good thing! Why? I talk about it all here.

Phase 9. Application Practice

At this time in the training day, you've delivered a lot of information. If you haven’t already done so, by this time you should get your participants engaged in some practical application activities. And to do this well, you’ve got to get your participants out of their seats.

The EMU Experience Strategy:

Ideally, you should be giving your participants multiple opportunities throughout the day to practice what you are teaching. One approach could be to teach one component, then give them time to practice, and repeat this throughout the day.

Then, near the end of the day, give them more time and a larger application activity in which they have to apply all of the individual components.

For as many of these as possible, get them out of their seats and mix up the small groups that they are working in. Doing this increases the energy level (and mood) in the room.

Next week I’ll discuss some final tips and how to uniquely wrap-up your course!

Ken Brown, Chief EMU WranglerAs Chief EMU Wrangler at The EMU Experience, LLC, Ken helps learning professionals deliver engaging, memorable and unexpected learning experiences. By teaching practical techniques to purposefully increase student engagement, along with methods that incorporate creativity into the design and delivery process, Ken will help you create a learning experience that is engaging, memorable and unexpected. 

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