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Using questions in training is the most effective way to engage with your group and encourage participation.
Questions give you instant feedback on how well your sessions are going while keeping discussion moving forward.
There are a number of questioning techniques and each is useful for different purposes and situations. They are:
- Pass On
- Question, Wait, Select
- Send Back
- Send Out
Before I go into each technique in more detail, I'm first going to run through why questions are important in good training sessions and what constitutes an excellent question.
We recommend that new and inexperienced trainers attend our 2-day Train the Trainer workshops. We will help you deliver more effective, engaging training sessions.
Are you a new trainer? Does the idea of training a large group bring you out in a cold sweat? Is even picturing them naked just not helping to calm your nerves?
Well sweat no more and banish those nudes from your mind. There's a simple way to face groups and deal with the various challenges they may offer.
All it takes is an understanding of the dynamics of group development. Once you know how groups of people function and develop, it becomes simple to deal with them and simple to teach them.
We explore the subject of group development in depth on our Brighton-based Train the Trainer Course, which is the ideal course for those new to training looking to build their knowledge and confidence in the discipline.
So when facing groups in training, what you need to remember is that all groups will go through four stages of development. Here, I'll outline what those stages are and how best to deal with them from a trainer's perspective.
People love a good story. If your blog post has a good story in it your clients are much more likely to read it, remember it, engage with it and share it.
It’s the same with training; a trainer who knows how to tell a good story will be much more successful at engaging with their delegates, and they are much more likely to remember the message.
Even when we are teaching technical subjects, we tell clients why they need to do something (give the task context), show them how to do it and then let them do it. We have some wonderful teachers for our train the trainer courses, who can guide you through many techiques that will improve your training skills.
Trainers need to demonstrate skills in context and storytelling is one of the best ways to demonstrate more abstract concepts in a way that people can remember and relate to.
It’s nothing new, Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, even the Bible are all examples of teaching through story telling. Take for example "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" the story that taught millions of children not to cry for help unless there's a real need. It’s simple, effective, and has stood the test of time. We all remember the story and its message.
Even one of the world's earliest known stories, The Epic of Gilgamesh from Mesopotamia aimed to teach people about love, humility and acceptance.
Among all the other scandals of recent weeks came the revelation that Lloyds PPI complaints handlers were being trained to purposely reject valid claims.
An audio recording of an in-company trainer was seized upon by The Times as evidence that the banking group had been engaging in less than ethical practices.
The trainer told trainees to flat out deny or refuse claims, as most customers would give up trying to claim after an initial rejection.
Lloyds place the blame on the firm Deloitte who handled the whole program and another firm, Momenta, who was responsible for the hiring and training of the employees dealing with claims.
It shows that just as good training can have an immediate and lasting positive effect on businesses, bad training can have a severely negative one - something we emphasise on our Train the Trainer Course.
So how can businesses and individuals make sure they're getting the best possible training?
The Trainer's Responsibility
Much of the responsibility for quality training falls at the feet of the trainer; after all they're the ones delivering the training! Not only do they need to fully understand the needs of the client, they must find a way to communicate their message in an engaging and memorable way.
They also have a duty to not misinform. In the Lloyds case, it would appear that the trainer either gave false information to delegates or at the very least recommended methods that were in no way best practice.
At some point during a career in training you'll have to train somebody for whom English isn't a first language. In this situation, it can be difficult to stick to your established learning methods and activities.
On our 2-day Train the Trainer course, we explain in detail how to cater for different levels and learning styles, and teaching non-native English speakers comes under a similar bracket.
With all that in mind, we decided to put together a guide to help you deal with this challenge. So what's the first you can do to make things easier for you and your delegates?
Limit the Jargon
For someone who has just learnt, is still learning, or who rarely speaks English, technical jargon can be a bit of a stumbling block. Words that have little meaning without deep context can be confusing to native speakers, let alone those with English as a second language.