How To Conduct an Effective Group Training Session
Planning a group training session? Don’t worry, staff meetings don’t have to be like the cringe-worthy scenes in The Office. Getting your team together to share new information and get everyone on the same page can be a great opportunity to build relationships and team spirit. Here are useful tips to use to plan an effective group training session.
- Choose a Space - Start by thinking about how many attendees you will have for the training and then choose a space that will have enough room for everyone to fit comfortably. If people are packed in like sardines, they’ll start to feel uncomfortable, and you want them to be relaxed and fully present.
- Decide on Seating - Rather than sitting conference style, consider other ways to plan the seating and encourage interaction. If you’ll be doing breakout groups to brainstorm, put chairs in small groups. If you want people to work as a team, put seats in a circle. Or, consider changing the seating arrangement for different parts of the training. Moving chairs only takes a couple of minutes and mixing it up can increase engagement.
- Set the Temperature - If it’s too warm, people will either fall asleep or start to overheat. If it’s too cold, people will be distracted by their discomfort. Try to set the room at a temperature that will not be distracting. Some studies have suggested that 72 degrees is the optimum temperature for learning.
- Pick a Few Icebreakers - Rather than jump straight into business, plan a few icebreaker activities that will get people comfortable and talking.
- Have an Agenda - Plan the agenda and make sure to share it with your staff. People will feel more ownership over an agenda that they can see and follow.
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- Diversify Presentation Methods - Look at all of the material that you need to get through and diversify how you will present the content. Maybe one subject needs to be delivered as a lecture. Is there another subject that would work as a breakout session or a brainstorm? Could a third subject be shared via multimedia presentation? Or, mix up the speakers to allow different respected staff members to share. Add gifs for added laughter where appropriate.
- Incorporate Surprises - Use music during transitions, show a funny YouTube video as a hook, or play a scene from a movie or TV show that will help make a point. Take the time to incorporate surprises using media, pop culture and other creative things that will capture your team’s attention.
- Offer Written Materials - Design written materials to help your staff follow along and retain information. This can be a workbook or packet that they can use to take notes or even just a one-page handout. The person doing the work is doing the learning, so find ways to engage your staff in the learning process.
- Plan for Breaks - If your content will take longer than 15-20 minutes, plan for a few short breaks. These breaks can be in the form of talking with a neighbor on the subject or working with a small group, but you’ll want to allow for some interaction every so often to keep people engaged.
- Offer Snacks - Everyone loves to eat, and snacks will immediately increase your staff’s perception of the training. Offer a variety of snacks and drinks for them to enjoy. Consider offering a bagel bar in the morning and a candy station or ice cream sundae bar in the afternoon.
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- Plan Takeaways - Make sure you know exactly what you want your staff to get out of the training and focus on those takeaways. You can even have them displayed on a whiteboard for everyone to see.
- Do a Fun Review - At the end, schedule some time to do a quick review. This can be done with easy prizes for staff who were listening, or as a quick-fire series of questions where everyone gives a choral response.
- Show Gratitude - Before everyone leaves, express your gratitude for their attendance, effort and focus. Sure, the training was probably mandatory, but it goes a long way to say thanks and will continue to establish company loyalty.
- Follow Up - Send a company email with added resources or notes from the presentation. Include your contact info and invite people to ask you for more information.
- Evaluate - Build a digital survey asking for feedback about the presentation, food, content, pace, and ask for ideas for future trainings.
Group trainings can be fun and engaging, so take the time to design a training session that will be memorable.
Erica Jabali is a freelance writer and blogs over at ispyfabulous.com.