November 28, 2015
In this short extra episode of the Trainer Tools podcast series, I
talk to Seema Sarawgi about a simple but effective technique she uses in
The Paper Tower is very simple to prepare
for and run, and can be used as a quick way to get people talking and
moving about, or to develop deeper learning around teamwork, planning,
communication and leadership in the context of the organisation.
November 15, 2015
Some things come up again and again in learning needs analyses,
whatever the organisation, whatever the circumstances, and
"assertiveness skills" (or something similar) is one of those things.
crops up in the middle of loads of different structured training
courses, it forms part of many coaching relationships, even pops up on
teambuilding workshops from time to time. It seems like many of us human
beings just aren't naturally that great at being assertive in a
positive way, we tend to be either naturally passive or naturally
aggressive, and struggle to calibrate assertiveness correctly.
this episode, Kevin Stephens talks us through his approach to running an
assertiveness workshop. As always with Kevin, it's a very practical and
active approach that I hope has some good ideas for others facing the
same learner needs.
October 15, 2015
Many managers are keen to create great teams, and there's no better
way to do this than ask someone from the training department to come
along and deliver a teambuilding day!
This is true of internal and
external training providers equally, and although a teambuilding
session can be truly effective and a lot of fun, it can also be an
enjoyable waste of time, or even a total disaster.
In this episode
of the Trainer Tools podcast, I talk to Paul Tizzard, author of The
Teambuilding Pocketbook, about his approach to teambuilding events and
how to make sure they are valuable, effective and fun.
September 25, 2015
Most of us working in learning and development get involved in
training delivery. This usually involves a bit of teaching and a lot of
We work this out over many years. Maybe we start by
giving PowerPoint lectures, and only over time, as we learn more about
our craft and gain in confidence, are we able to take a step back and
focus on the process and a lot less on the content of training sessions.
This is facilitation: the management of the process that allows learning and understanding to emerge from discussion, activity and feedback.
been doing this for years, and I think I'm pretty good at it - but like
many other trainers (or facilitators), I have no theoretical foundation
to understand what I'm doing or how I could do it even better.
this discussion with Nick Eve, he explains the theory that underpins
great facilitation, and shows how this leads to effective facilitation
September 10, 2015
More and more people are turning to the Internet for training opportunities.
to face courses are expensive, often in inconvenient locations, and at
fixed times in the distant future that may not suit your requirements.
survive because they're often very good. You get the opportunity for
social interaction and discussion, key factors in creating knowledge and
understanding, and it's a very engaging experience away from normal
work so you can focus and get on with it ... but the drawbacks mean that
sometimes an online option is better.
Online learning in quick and easy to access, cheap, flexible and covers a massive variety of topics.
this episode I speak to Bogdan Vaida about how he has taken his
training courses and put them online, creating a suite of learning
opportunities and amassing thousands of students - and a steady income -
in the process!
August 25, 2015
Cultural diversity can be a real minefield. It's very easy to put your foot in it and say or do the wrong thing, making learners feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
All of this cultural diversity business puts a host of precarious obstacles in your way. You want them to engage with the course and the other learners, you want them to enjoy the experience, and of course (most importantly) you want them to learn. They won't do this if they feel threatened, unsafe or insulted because of some avoidable mistake or miscommunication.
Sunita Sehmi is an experienced coach and trainer with years of experience of working in a multicultural environment. In this podcast she takes us through her methods and top tips for handling cultural diversity in the training room.
August 1, 2015
I didn't want to leave a big gap over summer, so I thought I'd chuck
in another short podcast about a simple energiser, or icebreaker (it can
be either, or both) that anyone can use on any course.
It's not just an icebreaker though, it also has positive health benefits (see here), including preventing hair loss! Something I wish I'd known about a few years ago.
Seema Sarawgi explains how she uses this and how it's a simple, fun and energetic way to start a training day.
July 25, 2015
It is a rare performance management training course that doesn't
include the ubiquitous SMART acronym within it - and it is a rare
organisation that doesn't demand its people create a yearly clutch of
SMART objectives to meet the needs of their performance management
And that's the problem.
SMART objectives are often written to meet the needs of the process
- not the people - they are written to fulfill the requirements of the
clever acronym, but not actually to respond to the particular challenges
of the individual job holder and their manager.
This is a
long-running bugbear of mine, and it was good to hear that one of this
podcast's great supporters and contributors, Garry Platt, had
encountered exactly that problem during his consultancy work.
good as they sometimes are, often it's just very difficult to write
SMART objectives: it's not only hard to articulate the specific
behaviour, it's next to impossible to create an appropriate measure that
doesn't just tot up something numeric that's vaguely related (but not
However, we're made of strong stuff on the
Trainer Tools podcast, and just because something is difficult is no
reason not to do it! So in this episode Garry talks me through his
approach to what he calls behavioural objectives.
Trying to SMARTify your objectives need never ruin your life again!
July 10, 2015
R equals e to the power of minus t over s.
Or, to put it another way, people forget about 80% of what they learn on a training course.
might not be exactly true, Ebbinghaus's research and "curve of
forgetting" equation is not the most rigorous of science, but it's
probably true-ish and that's good enough for this podcast!
episode I talk again to Roger Greenaway, an expert in experiential and
innovative training methodologies. We talk about what "learning
transfer" really means, and then discuss some unusual and creative ways
of designing training courses so that learning transfer is more likely
June 25, 2015
Human beings need to feel comfortable to be able to learn.
feel comfortable within a group they need a sense of acceptance and
control. To build rapport with other learners and the trainer, they need
to go through rituals.
Icebreakers can help us do that.
they can also help us achieve the exact opposite. If they are not well
designed for the course content and the group they can make people feel
uncomfortable and wish they were anywhere else but in your training
In this episode of the Trainer Tools podcast, I talk to Paul
Tizzard, author of three books about icebreakers, about how to make
sure they work!