Training Adults: Getting and Keeping Attention

Sunday morning I attended a pre-conference workshop on training adults. I was a little disappointed in the content. It was aimed towards people who have never done any training and geared towards all day workshops. Since I work at a public library almost all of the training for both the staff and the public is an hour long maybe two. So a lot of the tips and techniques will be hard to apply. My impression from the other people who spoke up is they will have the same problems. Some of the good things I did get and will be using

Guidelines – no matter how short my training sessions are I can take a couple of minutes to lay down guidelines at the beginning. This will help with any problems later in the class such as people dominating the conversation, side conversations, etc.

  • SOT – Start on time, Stop on Time, Stay on Topic – oh how I wish we did this at my library, even for meetings, no one bothers to show up on time and often the person “hosting” the meeting choices to wait for that person rather than respecting that the rest of us got there on time
  • Respect the 5 minutes “T” zone – keeps people from dominating the conversation, if you go over the rule in the beginning you can nicely point to it if someone is dominating. Plus I think if you go over this before starting some people might be less likely to do it. Remember some people wont like this, but the other 80% will be thrilled.
  • Actively listen – one person speaks at a time, no side conversations
  • Mutually funny humor – enjoy it!
  • Use the “parking lot” – for issues that don’t apply now, park them and get back to them later if you have time, if you don’t have time before the session ends make a point to get back to that person either after or via email or phone

Adults learn when there is something in it for them – reminded me how important the title and descriptions for my training sessions are, gotta have that “hook”

The physical environment is important, people should be comfortable that way they can focus on the content

Adults decide for themselves what is important about what you’re saying. They may already know or think they know what you’re talking about.

Make them responsible for their own learning

Remember there are different learning styles – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, do what you can to provide something for all of them

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