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  • Writer's pictureLoen Miles


Do you need to create a piece of training to support your colleagues? Not sure where to start? Well, why not start here?!

Creation of training is a bit like giving feedback – it MUST be for the benefit of the learner and not the person delivering the message. What do your learners really need from you? Failure to give them this will inevitably fail your training sesh in one-fell-swoop.

I've been designing training for over ten years now and, I have to confess, I love it! I love the creativity involved, I love sharing new things with people, and I love helping people develop their skills and confidence.

Below are my key tips to creating engaging, interactive and relevant training sessions.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE – know their demographic, their drive, what they want from the training (where possible avoid making assumptions and actually ask them) and how long they have to learn it – taking three consecutive days to deliver the training when they have super busy roles and deadlines to meet is likely to cause stress and resistance for example!

KNOW YOUR SUBJECT – I have tried to create training for people on topics I’m less comfortable with, and yes, it is possible, but it’s not easy and it’s a lot harder to deliver what people want from you if you don’t know your subject. I know some might disagree with me, but a tip of mine is to know your topic well if you want to deliver effective training around it.

START FROM THE OUTSIDE AND WORK IN – When considering what motivates people to take note, to sit up and listen, it’s all about the WIIFM – what’s in it for me! Why do I need to be here? Why do I need to learn this? Why is this lesson relevant to me?

In the words of the totally fabulous Simon Sinek – start with Why. When people understand why they are doing what they’re doing, why the training will benefit them; they will engage with it far more effectively.

I look at it like a funnel – start with the big picture at the top of the funnel, then work your way down the funnel to focus on the specific skills to achieve the bigger picture for yourself.

ALLOW ENOUGH TIME – If only we could buy time, we could fit so much more in! If you have discussion sessions and break out sessions, always allow more time than you think it needs – because it will likely need more!

INTEGRATE DISCUSSION, IDEAS SHARING AND GROUPWORK – Get your audience involved right from the start. The sooner you have people involved and interacting the more likely they are to interact through the rest of the session and engage with the content you share.

BE CREATIVE AND HAVE FUN – Look for practical activities that help people learn the skills you’re teaching, the more fun the better – for example, I still use speed dating (which I learnt many years ago from a wonderful mentor I was lucky enough to work with). The speed dating activity involves two circles of equal numbers of people (one inside the other), pairs talk for a few minutes and then the inner circle moves round by one person who they then pair with and talk for a few minutes and so on. I use speed dating in so many different scenarios – an icebreaker first thing, a practicing networking session, practicing open questions, sales and influencing etc. I have always received enormously positive feedback and results from using this activity, plus it enhances the energy and engagement in the room immensely too.

In virtual sessions this can be translated into breakout groups, though it does need a little more time in a virtual session to allow for technology delays! The moral of the story is be creative with what you have, it will deliver far more engaging training that way.

USE OPEN AND COACHING QUESTIONS TO GET PEOPLE THINKING – Coaching questions can have a huge impact on what people take away from any learning setting. Questions like: ‘How could you improve…?’, ‘What do you need to do to achieve….?’, ‘Who can you ask for help or go to for more information?’, and one of my all-time favourite questions ‘On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to….?’ Etc.

And finally

ACTION PLAN – Give people time at the end to plan what they will do differently as a result of the session. Failing to do this, you are likely to find that within a week the participants of your training have forgotten they were even in the room with you last week! Create an opportunity for people to share their plans with others, online I ask people to share in chat space one or two actions – I then copy and paste these (edit out names) and send them to participants after the session. If face to face, ask people to share in small groups what they will do.

Research tells us that people are far more likely to take action if they have promised that action to someone.

Learning what someone else wants to teach can be a drag, all too often teaching is about lecturing and can actively disengage people from learning. By taking your audience needs and drives into account, making the session fun and interactive, and being in it for them, you are more likely to achieve a successful training session that sparks interest and a desire to learn more.

Good luck in your design, if you’ve found this useful, interesting and/or an enjoyable read, please like and share it.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read.

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