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Kick off the Workshop Right: A Training Best Practice

Get them excited about learning immediately

Too often facilitators get into the classroom and immediately start off the workshop session by having participants introduce themselves and then getting started on the curriculum. Not necessarily the worst approach you can take. But how about trying this the next time you walk into the classroom to facilitate a workshop…. Try any of these techniques to get the class excited about the day ahead:

  • Rhetorical questions: ask the participants questions (such as listed below) to get them thinking about the workshop based on their own experiences.
    • Are you frustrated trying to juggle your day-to-day responsibilities with special projects?
    • Do you dread having to negotiate with others?
    • Have you had to deal with angry customers?
  • Role playing: bring in individuals from outside the participant group to demonstrate best practices about negotiating, managing conflict, interviewing, etc. This demonstrates to the participants what they will be learning.
  • Company leader discussion: ask one of the company leaders to kick off the session by telling the participants how important the workshop is and that he/she supports the initiative and will be supporting the participants back on the job.
  • Storytelling: tell either a true or hypothetical story that is related to the issue the workshop is addressing along with a solution to the problem.
  • Cartoons: cartoons are a fun way to get the class started. I often use Dilbert in my workshops because, as we know, everyone can relate to Dilbert! Be sure to use cartoons that are not offensive or too “close to home” for the participant company where you are doing the workshop.
  • Statistics/Facts: if there are statistics or company-gathered facts related to the workshop – such as the number of customers lost if they are provided poor customer service or the number of projects that fail due to more practices – use these to make your point.
  • Ask about their challenges: ask one or two participants to share their particular challenges and then discuss how the workshop will address those issues.

What do you do to get the workshop started? What’s been successful for you? Try a variety of the techniques below next time you are facilitating a workshop.

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