Starting Off Right
Because first impressions matter, a good start to your training session can make a world of difference in the overall effectiveness of the learning event. Several trainers have commented on the ways they prime participants for learning before they even begin.
Before the Meeting Starts…
- Be in the class well in advance and greet every participant as they enter the classroom and have small talk with them—this sets the tone and relaxes you and them.
- Have each person’s name on a vibrant PowerPoint slide (i.e. “Welcome to… Susie Eastwood”) and set the slideshow to “revolve until escape” in the settings, revealing the names of each participant, one at a time until you are ready to start. This is easy to do, memorable, and loved by all! Posted by Jason Stevens
- Doodle on the board as participants arrive and ask them to guess what it is. The activity melts the ice and sets a tone of “no right or wrong answers.” Posted by Imran Syed
- Play some soft music to aid relaxation.
- Introduce a “Parking Lot.” If ideas come up, but take away from the task or topic, tell the group you’ll write them down on a sticky note, place them on the “parking lot” board. Then you can address these ideas when appropriate or at the end of the workshop or meeting. Post by Sylvia Maisano
- Send them questions and an outline to think about beforehand, so they have some idea of how the program will work.
- Send a message about humor or timeliness by announcing a 7:58 or 9:17 a.m. start time.
- Post posters/signs in the hallway area leading to the room with images and info about the event, like at a movie theatre complex.
- Like in movie theaters, show a PowerPoint presentation containing quiz questions about company trivia or motivational sayings, interspersed with course information. Posted by Leslie Orr
The Basic Agenda
Participants feel better if they have a sense of the day’s flow. Consider yourself the host or concierge of the day and roll out the red carpet for your guests. Consider integrating many if not all of these agenda items into your opening.
- Very warm Welcome. (flip charting their requirements for the day)
- Quick housekeeping (let people know when they will break for food; where the bathrooms are; and conduct an “adult conversation about mobile phones!”)
- Introduction (flip charting their requirements for the day)
- My credibility
- Whats in it for you / your company
- Exercise (usually in groups, definitely standing up!)