Over the years, many clients have asked us for advice on how to conduct an amazing training. So, as a special treat for all you Gen Junkies, we’ve decided to share ten tips on how to make sure your next training will keep your attendees engaged and enlightened from beginning to end.
#1: Know Your Audience
It’s key to craft your training for who will be in the room. Who’s attending the session and why? Is it a group of Boomer leaders, entry-level Gen Edgers, or a multigenerational mix of employees? If you can learn this in advance, and make tweaks to your agenda accordingly, you’ll be in a much better position to create a message that sticks.
#2: Decide on Specific Objectives
This sounds like a duh, but often when we ask trainers this question we get a stock response: to teach people about generational differences. That’s a great start, but dig deeper. Is it for attendees to connect in a team-building capacity? Is the training to help address a specific issue that keeps cropping up? Having your objective(s) firmly in mind will lead to a more cohesive session.
#3: Consider the Setting
Take it from us—nothing can put a damper on a training session quite like an awkward set-up or annoying A/V problems. Know the space you’re training in and use it to your best advantage. And, make sure to get there well before your attendees arrive so you can troubleshoot any issues in advance.
#4: Craft an Agenda—and Share It!
People want to know what the training is going to look like, so let them know what they’re in for. What generational topics will the session cover? When are the breaks? What’s for lunch?! A good agenda lets people know that thought, time, and preparation went into the day.
#5: Break the Ice in an Innovative Way
Your training needs to start with some kind of ice-breaker activity. Keep it light and get creative! Having everyone go around and state “who they are and what department they work in” will get old fast. Think of something fun and upbeat without it being too time-consuming—they should be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the big day ahead of them.
#6: A Little More Conversation
Collaboration is not just for Millennials. In fact, it’s the key to any successful training session. Avoid the trainer-monologue-syndrome and make sure to engage trainees with thought-provoking conversation that will lead to fruitful discussions.
#7: Manage the “Talkers”
While we’re on the subject of conversation, we’ve all been to those trainings that are monopolized by one or two “talkers” in the room. Don’t shy away from tactfully interrupting these enthusiastic contributors. By making space and encouraging others to participate, you’ll make sure you have a more meaningful discussion with all your attendees.
#8: Game Time!
Everyone, regardless of generation, loves a good game. Put together a Jeopardy-style template and have them take a mid-day break to review what they learned. Offer creative, funny prizes, like nostalgic generational toys (think Slinky, Rubix Cube, Tamagotchi). You could even make some of the questions apply to people’s answers from the icebreaker exercise. No matter what you decide, games will encourage enhanced engagement with your content.
#9: Harness the Power of Nostalgia
Seriously… when training on generations, this can be one of your best tools. When talking through events and conditions, don’t shy away from spending some time on pop culture. Play a game that trainees might remember from their youth. Bottom line, if you’re not entertaining, you’re not educating.
#10: Practice, Practice, Practice
This might be a no-brainer, but we’ve seen too many confident trainers fumble and stumble through their material to know that practicing beforehand is essential. Recruit a few friends or family members and have them serve as your training guinea pigs, or even just speak aloud in front of a mirror. You’ll automatically up your credibility by having a firm handle on the material and looking at your attendees rather than your notes.