Archive for April, 2010

How To “Activate” Your Training

Apr. 29th 2010

It’s an everyday ritual;  I search for articles and read blogs from “thought leaders” to find ideas and tips that I can share.  I’m looking for ways to help my readers or others in their organization become better safety trainers, leaders and communicators.

One of the blog feeds that I read is from Chris Brogan.   He had a recent post titled, “Go The Distance” that focused on helping writers become more effective at conveying information.  What struck me was that Chris’ ideas for writers paralleled what I think good trainers can do to become more effective at training. 

Story Telling 101

I think most of us have learned along the way that a good story teller understands that every story has a beginning, middle and an end.  When you prepare your training presentation how will you begin and frame the training session?  Try thinking like a story teller.

First, introduce and frame the topic.  Framing is where you define the topic and expain its importance to your learners and the organization.  This sets the stage for the beginning of the “story” where you present the important information.  This might include the “setting”, like a situation where there was an incident or injury that relates to the topic,  how it happened, what went wrong.

The middle part of the story, or training is where you cover the necessary precautions, help provide better understanding for their use, and provide your perspective on why this is important.  This is a great place to have a discussion, interject fun with a game idea, share thoughts, review like situations to the one you presented at the beginning, and work through any barriers that the group thinks might get in the way. 

Call to Action

The ending is the time to gain agreement on the value of the training information and provide a call to action.  This is where you wrap it up and “activate” the group by asking, “How will you take what you’ve learned today and do something with it?”   One of the best ways to end a training session, after you’ve made sure everyone understands, is with something definitive for your group to do.

So let’s review:

  • Think like a story teller and create training with a beginning, middle and end.
  • Share ideas and perspective on the topic.
  • Help them see “What’s the take-away?”  How does it apply to them?
  • What is the Call to Action?  Okay, let’s agree to do it.

Try this formula next time and see how it works for you.  You might like it enough that you’ll use it in helping others, like your supervisors, be more effective trainers too.

Posted by Rick | in Education and Training | No Comments »

Tips For Helping Supervisors Become Training Superstars

Apr. 21st 2010

Over the years I have observed many supervisors conduct safety training sessions, tool box talks and one-on-one coaching with employees.  Sometimes supervisors are terrific in sharing the topic, but most often the process is painful to watch.

It’s a fact; most supervisors aren’t very good trainers or coaches.  But all is not lost, we can help them improve.  In conversations about their training role, I’ve been given many reasons (or excuses) why they are not good at training, like  “it’s not my job”, “I don’t have the time to prepare”, “ I don’t really know the topic very well”, and “nobody listens anyway”. 

In digging deeper I’ve found that most supervisors haven’t learned how to be a good trainer or communicator, and all these reasons they give for their poor training performance are really  justifications for continuing to do an inadequate job of educating their employees on safety.

Please don’t get me wrong, for the most part supervisors care about employee safety.  The problem is that they see this training responsibility as one that is difficult, and one they don’t feel good about.  Here is our opportunity tor really shine and gain credibiltiy with our supervisors! 

Here are three ideas you can try to build confidence and begin to increase their training skills.

Tip #1 - Supervisors understand the basics of safety, so it’s our job to help them realize how much they know about various topics.  Conduct a group meeting with your supervisors.  Write several safety topics (lockout tag out, chemical safety, slip and fall prevention, etc.) on a flip chart, or provide as a handout.  Ask them to break into groups of 3 and to chose one of the topics (one topic per group).  Next, each group discuss and list the important safety points about the topics.  After 5-10 minutes, ask each group to share their list and discuss.  During the discussion, encourage the other groups to add other points that might have been missed.  Last, have the entire group prioritize the items on the list.  At the end you have created a great content outline on each topic with the most important items prioritized, and even better you’ve demonstrated how much your supervisors already know about safety.  This is also a great confidence builder.

Tip #2 – Ask the supervisors, either in a group setting or individually to think about one of the safety topics and to visualize what it looks like as it is being done correctly in their work area.  Next, ask if they can think of a time when they had to deal with the topic, either in a preventive mode or in reaction to a mishap.  Have them write a short description of what happened.  Finally, ask them to share their description or story with the group.  After the supervisors have shared their stories, point out that one of the best ways to educate adults is through telling stories. 

So the next time your supervisors need to conduct safety training on any subject, ask them to think of and visualize a situation that relates to the topic and form a brief story that can be shared with the employees.  This creates a visual image that will helps adult learner own the content of the story, and makes the training more relevant to their specific work area.

Tip #3:  The same as #2, except after telling the story with the employees to be trained provide a video, handout materials or a link to web training.  Ask them to watch, read or complete the training and then take a short test.  Studies have shown that the use of a story at the beginning of instruction will greatly improve retention and test results.

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Can “Genius” Be Trained?

Apr. 15th 2010

Dream big dreams, and believe in the impossible.

One of the fun parts of writing a blog is learning.  Yes it’s true, I learn from writing a blog about learning! In fact, I learn a lot.

First, I’m focused on the subject and am constantly thinking about ideas to share.  I also subscribe to other blogs and read what others are writing.  This helps guide me and helps me to present thouhts that are (or at least I think) useful.

In addition to Seth Godin, Tim Sanders and  Chris Brogan, I read a blog from Boaz Rauchwerger.   With a last name like Rauchwerger he goes by his first name Boaz.   He emmigrated from Israel as a young boy, and has since become an accomplished author and motivational speaker.  I heard Boaz speak about a year ago during a business seminar.

Now, I will be the first to say that Boaz is a little over the top.  He is very energetic on stage and some of his stories are a bit, well let’s say exagerated.  None of that matters though, because his message is so powerful and clear.

When reading his blog today, he started with a headline similar to the one I’ve used here.  He tells the story and gives examples of how he worked with a young boy he helped greatly ehance his memory.  The key point that I took away from Boaz today though is that, “the bottom line of the exercise was to prove that positive thoughts in the brain give us strength and negative thoughts tend to weaken us.”

Think about that little tidbit for a while. 

A long time ago, my dad shared an Earl Nightingale trueism that “Anything your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.”

To me, both thougths are true and have great implications as we train and educate others.  Taking those extra steps to assure that your learners have a positive experience is very important.  Helping them to learn and understand the information, and then put it into practice depends on it.  We hold that which is positive and discard that which is not.  It is the human response.

The second thought may be even more important.  In Scott Geller’s book “The Psychology of Safety”, he contends that the belief that “all injuries are preventable” a goal of “zero accidents” are not a good ideas and should be dropped as guide posts.  He goes on to write, “The most important reason to drop them is that no one believes it anyway!”  Wow!

I say dream bigcreate the vision;  educate everyone to be geniuses; get everyone on the bus; and above all, believe that you can do this!

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