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Please reply and share one or more of your favorite training tips, tools, activities, or resources. The topic of our March 2012 program is Trainer Skills: Tools from A-Z. If you are attending the March 2012 program, we invite you to bring a favorite with you.
Many members will be excited to add some new cool tools to their repertoire. Thank you in advance for sharing!
Thought for today: Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
May you choose to create an amazing day as you continue to make a positive difference in the lives you touch!
This activity 1) applies the adult learning principles found in linking new information to already know information from an adult's life experiences, 2) can be used for almost any learning/training topic, and 3) is a good opener for a training session on the topic.
Divide learners into small groups of 3 or 4 learners each. Ask each person in the group to share their one best life experience on the topic. Then have the group identify, and list on a flip chart, the characteristics that their "best" experiences have in common. Next, ask each person in the group to share their one worst life experience on the topic and again, identify and list on a flip chart, the characteristics that their "worst" experiences have in common.
After the small groups have finished, reconvene as a large group and share the "best" characteristics, identifying the commonalities between groups, and then share their "worst" characteristics, again identifying the commonalities that occur.
These commonalities in characteristics can then be used in a number of ways to transition to the learning agenda for the topic of the training session. Often times the commonalities identified will be the subtopics of the training session itself, thus linking the learners into the content of the training from their own life's experiences.
Any training that is prompted due to a significant change can cause participants to arrive for the session with a negative attitude. Major changes also frequently come with a few unanswered questions, or items that are still being ironed out. This can be frustrating to the trainer as well as the participants. To shift attitudes and avoid frustration, it is helpful to broach the subject before starting the class content.
Acknowledge to the group that there are some unanswered questions regarding the change, and that as a trainer, it can be frustrating not having answers before providing training. Ask how many of them are also concerned that they will not know all the answers when they start using the new process (or system, etc). Empathize with them and let them know you will get answers to them as soon as you have them. Provide post it notes and ask for their help identifying those types of questions. Have the participants write any questions that they come up with during class (that cannot be answered) on the post- its. Have a flip chart ready for them to post their notes.
Humor can also make the session go more smoothly. I received a gift a few years back. It looks like the Staples Easy button, but on the face is the word Worry, with the red circle and slash through it indicating not to worry. When the button is pressed the Don’t Worry, Be Happy song plays. After advising the participants that we will run into some unanswered questions, and that we know change can be challenging, I click the button and advise (while the snippet of the song plays in the background), that we will get through it together, and that we are adopting a policy for the class of not worrying about it, just doing the best with what we have at the time. It’s amazing how the attitude shifts to “we are in it together” and participants even remind each other during class “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.
Participants take turns leading the other group members in this lively, highly physical activity to learn real lessons in team leadership and reasons that prevent members from stepping into a leadership role.
To explore and discuss the deeper, personal elements of teamwork
To explore the reluctance of leadership
Materials and Equipment
An open area large enough for participant to physically move around
1. Ask all participants to stand and find partners. If you have an odd number of participants you may partner with one of the participants to begin the activity. If there are tables and chairs, ask participants to push their chairs in and move anything else that is on the floor to minimize tripping hazards.
2. Ask pairs to face one another, extend their arms, and place their hands palms to palms. Tell them that this position is called “home base” for this activity.
3. To make sure they understand the concept, tell the pairs to stand back-to-back. Say, “Home base.” They should all turn to face their partners, extend their arms, and place their hands palm to palm.
4. Tell them that whenever you say “people to people,” they need to change partners. Encourage them to avoid using the same person for consecutive commands if possible.
5. Tell them that you will give commands of various kinds in addition to the “home base” and “people to people” commands. State that when you give the commands they should follow them as much as possible and do so while being respectful and courteous.
6. Begin the activity by giving the first commands. Say: “Right foot to right foot, left knee to left knee, back to back, right elbow to right elbow, and people to people.” Watch the flurry as people work to find new partners and not be left alone.
7. Begin a second set of commands by saying; “Back to back, right index finger to right index finger, left hip to left hip, home base, and people to people.”
8. After this series of commands, announce that there will be a change. Note: If you began the activity with an odd number of participants, stop playing the facilitator. If you had an even number of participants at the beginning, you will still play the facilitator at this point. The goal of this part of the activity is to
force a situation in which one participant will be left stranded without a partner. Inform the participants that the person who is left stranded after the next set of commands will be the new leader and that he or she will give the commands.
9. Begin a new set of commands. Say: “Left hand to left hand, back to back, and people to people.” Tell the person who is isolated that she or he is now the leader and must give the commands. Remind the new leader that she or he can give the command “people to people” whenever she or he chooses and
until that point she or he will continue to be the leader.
10. Ask the new leader to provide the new set of commands.
11. After three or four people have become the leader following this process, stop the activity.
12. Debrief using questions such as:
What did you notice when someone said “people to people”? What does this tell us about how people view teamwork? (People need each other; don’t want to be ostracized or separated from the group; are generally happy for each other’s success and appreciate the shared leadership; have enthusiasm and passion for one another and the team.)
People seemed frantic to find partners and avoid a leadership position.
What do you think is the reason for this? (Some don’t want to be the center of attention, some prefer to follow, some are unsure of what is expected, some take too much control.)
What lessons can we apply from this activity to our own teams?
(Be committed to one another’s success, be there for each other, be inclusive, look for what’s right, help each other be successful, don’t be afraid to take the lead when your expertise is needed.)
Keep it fun and demonstrate high energy.
It is important not to let this activity go too long because people tire of it quickly.
Remind people to be courteous and respectful when giving instructions.
Be sure to allow people to opt out for any physical disabilities.
Questions & Stories is what I like to include in all classes.
Ask questions of the attendees to get them involved.
Share your stories to show how real (and imperfect) you are. It's easier to talk about ourselves and gets the learners involved in your topic.
Purpose: To quickly demonstrate to trainees how teamwork can improve brainstorming sessions.
Time Required: 10 minutes.
Size of Group: Unlimited
Materials Required: A paper cup.
This simple exercise, suggested by Dan Griep, a plant manager of Ramaley Printing in St. Paul, MN, uses a single paper cup as a prop.
Griep first asks everyone to think of as many uses for a paper cup as they can in 30 seconds. Most individuals will come up with four to six uses. Next, he has participants form small groups of two or three and gives them 30 seconds to think of uses for the paper cup. They can usually think of nine to 11 uses. Finally, Griep chooses several trainees to write on flip-chart pages all the ideas the entire group throws out in 30 seconds. The group together will typically come up with 20-30 uses.
Recommendation: 101 Games for Trainers by Bob Pike with Christopher Busse
ATD Hawkeye ChapterP. O. Box 10847Cedar Rapids, IA 52410-0847