Increase Participation in Corporate Training Programs
In all of my Corporate Training Programs, I require participation from everyone in the session. When I announce this to the group at the beginning of a course, I get the typical moans and eye rolls from participants who had heard that before from other trainers—only to be lectured at for the remainder of their time together. The challenge in those other classes is that the trainer was giving only lip service to the idea of participation. If you want to increase participation in your courses, the trick is to actually want and welcome learner participation. If you are committed to increasing participation, here are a few tips that can help you:
1. Ask Questions: This may seem obvious, yet I’ve seen plenty of trainers avoid asking questions. If you want your learners to participate, give them an easy way to do so. Ask plenty of questions to get them involved with the content.
2. Use Relay Questions: When a learner asks you a question, is your first instinct to answer it? If so, practice using relay questions. The next time you are
asked a question, turn it around to everyone else in the group to hear how they might respond.
3. Stop Asking for Questions: All too often, I hear trainers ask, “Does anyone have any questions?” as a way to increase participation. In theory, this is a nice question; however, learners don’t always know what to ask. Instead of asking for questions, ask, “What are your reactions to this?” In many ways, it amounts to the same thing, yet it is broader than simply asking for questions.
4. Use Small Group Discussions: Some learners simply do not want to speak up in a large group—and that’s fine! You can still give them a chance to participate by having a brief discussion with their tablemates to think of examples, formulate a question, react to a statement, or conceive a rebuttal.
5. Use Reverse Reviews: As good trainers, we build frequent reviews into our programs (right?). Instead of having to do those reviews yourself, ask the learners to do the reviews. This serves the same purpose of your doing a review, yet it gives the learners another way to participate.