How to run an activity based assertiveness workshop

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.

It 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.

In 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.


Practical approach to fun and effective teambuilding events

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.


What does it mean to be a great training facilitator

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 facilitation.

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.

I've 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.

In this discussion with Nick Eve, he explains the theory that underpins great facilitation, and shows how this leads to effective facilitation behaviours.


Turning your classroom training course into an online programme

September 10, 2015

More and more people are turning to the Internet for training opportunities.

Face to face courses are expensive, often in inconvenient locations, and at fixed times in the distant future that may not suit your requirements.

They 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.

In 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!


How to handle cultural diversity in the training room

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.


TT Shorts: The Clapping Exercise - an icebreaker that cures hair loss!

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.


An alternative to SMART objectives for behavioural stuff that’s hard to measure

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 process.

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.

As 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 very important).

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!


Getting creative with ways to transfer learning back to the workplace

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.

That 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!

In this 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 to occur.


Why bother breaking ice? (And if you do, how to do it properly!)

June 25, 2015

Human beings need to feel comfortable to be able to learn.

To 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.

However, 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 room!

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!


TT Shorts: The Magic Lamp - a tool for teambuilding events

June 17, 2015

I thought it'd be a bit of fun to chuck in the odd short podcast at random intervals (this might stretch the definition of "fun" to breaking point) in a new sub-series of casts called TT Shorts.

This is the first one, from our old friend Jon Kersey, and it's a quick and easy technique you can use during teambuilding events.