In the 1990s, Head and Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo’s motto was
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
For trainers and presenters, these words of wisdom remind us of the importance of what our audience experiences as they enter the room.
Picture your last training event. What did participants see, hear and feel as they arrived? What tone was set before they ever met you? These first moments are powerful and can set you up for a more successful session.
My proactive “dandruff shampoo” list includes the following five prep steps:
What would you add to this list?
For more ideas on designing and implementing an effective adult learning environment, check out my book Caffeinated Learning.
When I was a kid, my mother used to try to get me out from under her feet by giving me a list of items to find outside. I would return an hour or so later with an odd collection of heart shaped rocks, twigs that looked like letters, and dead bugs. (It would take me quite awhile to gather the courage to pick up the dead bugs, and my mother was banking on that!)
Thanks to GooseChase for developing a much more exciting, technology-based version of a scavenger hunt!
Each GooseChase game has a list of missions that participants complete. You can either choose from their large bank of missions or create your own. When creating your own, you get to describe each one and assign a point value. Finally, you can create up to three teams in the free version, giving them whatever name you’d like and setting up a privacy passcode for each team.
Last week, I used GooseChase with a group of about 50 adults who were interested in improving their teaching and presenting skills. They were divided into 3 teams (Red, Blue, Green) and had a list of four missions to complete. For example, one mission was to find research on the connection between movement and learning, snap a photo of it and submit the photo. Another was to take video of a movement that might be incorporated into a training session for adults.
Participants were highly engaged, quickly moving through the missions as they tried to beat their colleagues on other teams. And, best of all, they were generating content for their own learning, rather than being spoon-fed by the “sage on the stage.”
A Tip -
When I use GooseChase again, I will ask participants to download the app in advance to save time and hassle with connectivity during the session.
It seems appropriate that on opening day of baseball season, I needed to use my Catcher's Mitt strategy. I was presenting to a group of about 85 excited, engaged learners. They were seated with colleagues and team members, so that they could easily participate in problem solving discussions. My problem was that when I needed to pull them back together, side conversations continued.
I tried many of the traditional methods to quiet them down - the long pause, proximity control - but the chatter continued. Chatter can be a distraction (ask any baseball player that has flubbed at bat), so it is helpful to have a variety of responses at your fingertips. I always carry with me printed images of a catcher's mitt. I print 6 per page on colored paper (it's hard to find paper the color of a mitt ) and cut them up in advance. At the morning break I distributed a few to each table.
When we returned from our break I explained
"I have heard some great discussion going on at your tables. You will have more time to talk as we go throughout the day, however, if something comes to you while I am speaking, I don't want you to lose it. So I have provided some catcher's mitts at each table. Grab one and jot down your thought - catch it - so you won't forget it."
The side conversations diminished significantly. If needed, I could have reminded the group to use their catcher's mitts to hold their thoughts until the next discussion opportunity.
Save yourself some time and work by printing my Catcher's Mitt master here.
For additional ideas on dealing with difficult participants, check out my book Caffeinated Learning, available in paper and e-book versions.
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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