Linda F. Willing
P.O. Box 148
Grand Lake, CO
Training Tip Archives
Consultants are often criticized, and sometimes rightly so. A good consultant can facilitate necessary change that was impossible to generate without external help. Bad consultants just waste time and money. According to Thomas Waite, the best results from consultants can be obtained by following these guidelines:
When teaching a class that requires lunch away from the training site, it is often difficult to get everyone back together in the classroom on time after the break. Plan accordingly when designing a schedule for the first hour after lunch. Avoid activities that require everyone to be present from the beginning, or which will be disrupted by those who are late returning. On the other hand, do design curriculum that will allow for interaction and participation for those who are there.
Stock every worksite with books and other materials that address issues related to workplace harassment, improved communications, leadership, and conflict resolution. Having resource material readily available may provide the incentive for individual learning and may also serve as a resource that makes the difference between positive action and bad decisions.
When planning a working meeting or facilitated group, consider sending out not only a detailed agenda, but also some advance work that can be done by participants prior to meeting as a group. This work might involve a questionnaire, assigned reading, or focused presentation points that are assigned to each member. Consider using email to take care of routine business before the meeting, thus freeing up the time spent together for more complex issues.
Timing is Everything
How long does any given class need to be? Many organizations schedule training blocks in a generic way; such as allotting 2 hours for a classroom session, and 4 hours for hands-on training. But this type of approach will often miss the mark in terms of what is really needed for a particular training session. Some types of classroom training might require half or whole day sessions, and some focused hands-on training can be done very efficiently in just an hour or two. Building more flexibility into scheduling will help to make every training session effective and engaging for those who participate.
Too Much or Too Little
Sometimes it can be hard to know how much detail to include about a particular subject when teaching a class. Provide too little information, and some people will feel you are being deliberately general or teaching at too low of a level. But if you provide too much information, you can risk going off on tangents and losing the attention of those who might not share that particular interest. One way of solving this dilemma is to provide information links or printed material to supplement the information that is covered in class.
When using excerpts from commercial films as part of training classes, make sure that the segment you use is long enough to convey the point, but short enough so that the momentum of the class is not lost. Five to fifteen minutes is a good length of time to devote to a film clip that highlights or illustrates material being presented.
Popular films can provide entertaining and instructive examples for many learning points, from leadership to incident management. Finding the theme of the class illustrated through a different type of scenario can provide insight not available when using only emergency services examples. Local libraries usually have substantial inventories of films and are a good place to sample movies and documentaries you may not be personally familiar with.