Guila Muir and Associates

Posts Tagged ‘Train the trainer’

Can a Room Kill You? Yes!

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

How to Ensure Your Phys­i­cal Space Works For You, Not Against You

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3 Rules for Excellent Presentations

Friday, November 26th, 2010

by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

I was excited to find John Medina’s great book, Brain Rules, in the San Fran­cisco air­port book­store in 2009. The book is incred­i­bly read­able and valu­able to train­ers and pre­sen­ters. I was thrilled most of all to see that Med­ina pro­vides research to sup­port 3 rules I’ve shared in my Train the Trainer classes for years.

1. Pro­vide the gist, the core con­cept, first.

Ver­bal­ize and show your session’s pur­pose within the first few min­utes of your pre­sen­ta­tion or train­ing. Med­ina claims that you will see a 40% improve­ment in under­stand­ing if you pro­vide gen­eral con­cepts first.

2. Give an overview of the class at the begin­ning, and sprin­kle lib­eral rep­e­ti­tions of ‘where we are now’ through­out.

Pro­vide clear tran­si­tions and sum­maries through­out your ses­sion. Clearly and repet­i­tively explain linkages.

3. Bait the hook.

Every ten min­utes, Med­ina gives his audi­ences a break from the fire­hose of infor­ma­tion by send­ing “emo­tion­ally com­pe­tent stim­uli” (yet another word for ‘hook.’) A hook can be a sur­pris­ing fact, anec­dote, or ques­tion, and must must trig­ger an emo­tion: anx­i­ety, laugh­ter, nos­tal­gia, etc. It must also be rel­e­vant. Use hooks at the begin­ning of each module.

Research sug­gests that by using these skills, you will pre­vent your audi­ences from “check­ing out” dur­ing your pre­sen­ta­tion.  Not only that, but these 3 tips will enable  you to enjoy pre­sent­ing more. Have fun!

Learn about Train­ing Devel­op­ment. Read more arti­cles about train­ing.

Guila Muir has helped thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als improve their train­ing, facil­i­ta­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Find out how she can help trans­form you from a bor­ing expert to a great pre­sen­ter: www.guilamuir.com

© 2010 Guila Muir. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this arti­cle and dis­trib­ute in any media so long as you change noth­ing, credit the author, and include this copy­right notice and web address.

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Sharpen Your Training Brain

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

As a trainer, do you strug­gle men­tally as you develop a new course? Are you ever “stuck” when you try to think of ways to improve your class?

There is a sci­en­tif­i­cally sound way to boost your brain power, pick up your energy, and improve your focus as a trainer. Although it’s very com­pli­cated and takes years of school­ing and prac­tice (Ha!), any­one can do it. The sci­en­tific cure to your fuzzy brain is to go out­side.

In a world where many peo­ple suf­fer from Nature Deficit Dis­or­der (go ahead, look it up) the sci­ence is clear. Merely see­ing nature makes you health­ier, even it you view it through a win­dow.1 Get­ting out into the nat­ural world is even bet­ter. Many stud­ies con­firm that sim­ply by going out­side, you pos­i­tively impact your blood pres­sure, cho­les­terol, stress, and out­look on life.2

What do these find­ings have to do with training?

  • Slug­gish brains make slug­gish train­ing. Wake your­self up by tak­ing a quick walk.
  • You bring an “incom­plete self” into train­ing when you feel sep­a­rate from the nat­ural world. Call it integrity, holism, spir­i­tu­al­ity or syn­the­sis, you owe it to your­self and to your par­tic­i­pants to be your "whole self" when edu­cat­ing others.
  • Walk­ing in nature makes you smarter. An exper­i­men­tal study showed that peo­ple who walk in nature per­form cog­ni­tive tasks 20% bet­ter than those who walk in an urban set­ting.3 Don’t you want to main­tain that men­tal edge in front of your class?

Get out, walk, and enjoy…your train­ing will improve as a result. You can count on it!

1. Kaplan, 1992a; Lewis, 1996; Leather et al., 1998

2. Moore, 1981; Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989; Har­tig et al., 1991; Ulrich et al., 1991aRohde and Kendle, 1994; Lewis, 1996; Leather et al., 1998

3. Berman, Jonides, Kaplan, 2008

Learn about Train­ing Devel­op­ment. Read more arti­cles about train­ing.

Guila Muir is the pre­miere trainer of train­ers, facil­i­ta­tors, and pre­sen­ters on the West Coast of the United States. Since 1994, she has helped thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als improve their train­ing, facil­i­ta­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Find out how she can help trans­form you from a bor­ing expert to a great pre­sen­ter: www.guilamuir.com

© 2013 Guila Muir. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this arti­cle and dis­trib­ute in any media so long as you change noth­ing, credit the author, and include this copy­right notice and web address.

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3 Tips to Deal With Audiences From Hell

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

Resis­tant dynam­ics can be found in any audi­ence. Here are three essen­tial tech­niques to stay sane as a presenter.

1. Check Your­self.
Ask your­self: What am I feel­ing about this audi­ence? Why? What’s the worst that could happen?

Pre­pare your­self emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. Make sure you’ve had enough to eat, and drink plenty of water. If you find your­self going “on stage” expect­ing the worst, or not being pre­pared for  many ques­tions and chal­lenges, you set your­self up for failure.

2. Don't Let the Hos­tile Faces Hook You.
Your goal is to present to the best of your abil­ity, to every­one in the room. Don't get emo­tion­ally con­nected to the few unhappy audi­ence members.

Acknowl­edge and respect the dynam­ics in the room. Detach from them. Most likely, these have noth­ing to do with you.

3. Present as if Every­one Were Uncom­mit­ted.
I bor­row from Don Pfarrer’s book, Guerilla Per­sua­sion, for this incred­i­bly help­ful final tip. I’ve used it often, to great success.

Assume that every audi­ence is com­prised of four dif­fer­ent groups. Each group is either friendly to your mes­sage, hos­tile, indif­fer­ent, or sim­ply uncommitted.

Here’s the strat­egy: Focus on the uncom­mit­ted. In this way, you will suc­cess­fully address every­one in the audi­ence. By focus­ing on the uncom­mit­ted, you will con­struct and present your mes­sage more thor­oughly and persuasively.

All 4 Audi­ence Seg­ments Ben­e­fit When You Focus on the Uncommitted.

Audi­ence Seg­ment What Do They Want From Lis­ten­ing to You?
Dan­gers of Focus­ing Only on This Seg­ment
How This Seg­ment Ben­e­fits When You Focus on the Uncommitted
“Friend­lies” Sat­is­fac­tion, affinity. Too easy — you may assume too much. Their knowl­edge and com­mit­ment is deepened.
“Hos­tiles” To see you fail. Increases your own defen­sive­ness. You may come off abra­sively and unlikable. They expe­ri­ence human respect, open­ness and rea­son from you (and are likely to mir­ror the behavior).
“Indif­fer­ents” To be left alone and unchanged. You may tie your­self up into knots try­ing get a response. They may get the mes­sage, while not being ham­mered by you.
“Uncom­mit­teds” To expe­ri­ence a rea­soned, well-thought-out, good-natured expo­sure to the issues. NONE! They get the best of YOU: affin­ity and rea­son. You won’t cut cor­ners by assum­ing sup­port where it might not exist.

The bot­tom line is: KNOW YOUR STUFF. Be ready for ques­tions and chal­lenges. By check­ing your­self, not get­ting "hooked" by hos­til­ity, and focus­ing on the Uncom­mit­ted, you take great strides towards more resiliency and pro­fes­sion­al­ism as a presenter.

Read more arti­cles about Pre­sen­ta­tion Skills. Learn about Guila Muir’s Pre­sen­ta­tion Skills Workshops.

Guila Muir is the pre­miere trainer of train­ers, facil­i­ta­tors, and pre­sen­ters on the West Coast of the United States. Since 1994, she has helped thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als improve their train­ing, facil­i­ta­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Find out how she can help trans­form you from a bor­ing expert to a great pre­sen­ter: www.guilamuir.com

© 2010 Guila Muir. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this arti­cle and dis­trib­ute in any media so long as you change noth­ing, credit the author, and include this copy­right notice and web address.

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Avoid Audience Overload: Less Is More

Monday, January 11th, 2010

iStock_000005896614XSmallby Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

Pic­ture it: You’re a stu­dent in a class­room. The instruc­tor is throw­ing out fact after fact. At first, you lis­ten intently, try­ing to grasp every­thing that’s going on. After about 15 min­utes, your atten­tion drifts.  After try­ing to focus a few more times, you feel so over­whelmed (and pos­si­bly irri­tated and bored) that you just give up.

Hey-how did you like being on the receiv­ing end?

Train­ers, have some sym­pa­thy. The instruc­tor was just try­ing to “cover the mate­r­ial.” (How many times have YOU used this line?)

The fact is, more con­tent does not pro­duce more com­pe­ten­cies. Infor­ma­tion over­load can pro­duce con­fu­sion, anx­i­ety, and inde­ci­sion. It does NOT help stu­dents trans­fer learn­ing into the real world.

Train­ing Rule: “Less is More”

Iden­tify the most impor­tant pieces of con­tent. Spend train­ing time to ensure that par­tic­i­pants can process the infor­ma­tion and apply it to real-world situations.

Here is a short list of instruc­tional strate­gies you can use to bring your lesson’s con­tent alive:

  • Dis­cus­sions
  • Sur­veys
  • Con­tests
  • Case stud­ies
  • Drills
  • Reflec­tive writing
  • Mind maps
  • Jig­saws
  • Brain­storm­ing
  • Role-plays
  • Sim­u­la­tions

The moral is: By try­ing to "cover all the mate­r­ial,” you do just that—cover up what’s really important.

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What Separates Great Trainers From the Merely “OK?”

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

iStock_000009219951XSmallby Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

Many train­ing par­tic­i­pants would respond,"Great train­ers make the learn­ing easy and fun.” If probed fur­ther, they might men­tion the use of engag­ing train­ing activ­i­ties, or the trainer’s per­sonal style.

But most won’t be able to iden­tify an impor­tant action that dif­fer­en­ti­ates expert train­ers. This action is sub­tle and pow­er­ful. It helps lubri­cate the ses­sion and increases learner reten­tion. Though mostly invis­i­ble to the untrained eye, it truly sep­a­rates the “Greats” from the “OK’s.”

What is this seem­ingly magic char­ac­ter­is­tic of great train­ing? It’s the use of tran­si­tions.

What are Transitions?

Tran­si­tions are ver­bal check­points. They con­nect dis­parate pieces of mate­r­ial and move the ses­sion for­ward. In using tran­si­tions, the trainer oper­ates much like the pilot of a plane: “We’ve just got­ten a good look at the Col­orado River. Next, we’ll be fly­ing over Hoover Dam.”

This ver­bal fram­ing helps the par­tic­i­pants’ brains orga­nize all the new con­tent they’re receiv­ing. It also read­ies them to process new input.

What do Tran­si­tions Look Like?

Tran­si­tions typ­i­cally have two parts, the sum­mary and the tran­si­tion statement.

  • Sum­maries reit­er­ate, check for, or test key points.
  • Tran­si­tions move the train­ing from one stage to the next.

Here are three exam­ples of effec­tive transitions.

A.  “We’ve just intro­duced (reviewed, talked about, etc.) ___________.

Now, let’s move on to_____________.”

B.   “We’ve just reviewed ___________.  What are the _______, ___________, _____________?”

Next, we’ll take a look at ____________.”

C. “Each of you has demon­strated that you can _____________. Now, you will have the oppor­tu­nity to ________________.”

By build­ing in tran­si­tions like these, the trainer makes the whole ses­sion flow bet­ter. There is a built-in silk­i­ness, flu­id­ity, and logic between chunks of con­tent. And best of all, the trainer has the oppor­tu­nity to test for par­tic­i­pants’ under­stand­ing before mov­ing to the next issue.

Try using a few well-thought-out tran­si­tions between mod­ules in your next train­ing ses­sion. You’ll be amazed at how much more smoothly the class goes,  and how much more the par­tic­i­pants retain.

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A “Train the Trainer” Tip: Start Your Sessions With a Bang

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

istock_000009305487xsmall3by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

What’s the best way to assure your train­ing par­tic­i­pants groan inwardly and “turn off” when you first open your mouth? Sim­ply by doing what you’ve always been told: By intro­duc­ing your­self and pro­vid­ing your credentials.

Why not gen­er­ate your audience’s curios­ity, inter­est, and invest­ment from the out­set? Use a “Hook” before intro­duc­ing your­self or your pro­fes­sional cre­den­tials. If your hook is well-crafted, you will have already gained cred­i­bil­ity when you do intro­duce your­self. The par­tic­i­pants will be much more open to hear­ing your message.

What is a Hook?
First, what a hook is NOT:

  • An extended exer­cise or activity
  • An irrel­e­vant joke
  • An apol­ogy of any kind
  • A mean­der­ing, “off-the-cuff” mum­ble meant to make YOU more com­fort­able in front of the class.

A Hook is a short, care­fully crafted state­ment that indi­cates you know who your audi­ence is and what they care about. It should elicit some sort of emo­tion in your lis­ten­ers, whether that is quiet reflec­tion, hilar­i­ous recog­ni­tion of a feel­ing or sit­u­a­tion, or sor­row. The emo­tion doesn’t have to be “pos­i­tive.” But it must res­onate with your audi­ence and its mem­o­ries or expe­ri­ences, while being rel­e­vant to your subject.

Three Ideas for Pow­er­ful Hooks

Quickie Quiz:
Cre­ate a 3–5-question quiz and ask par­tic­i­pants to take it the minute they sit down. It’s best if the ques­tions are slightly provoca­tive or con­tro­ver­sial. Through­out the class, answer and clar­ify the issues.

Here’s a “real-life” exam­ple cur­rently being used in a Risk Man­age­ment class for super­vi­sors:
•    What per­cent­age of claims and inci­dents filed against this com­pany were closed last year with­out pay­ment?
30%
50%
80%
•    If an employee is sued because of an act s/he com­mit­ted within the scope of their duties, the employee must pro­vide his/her own legal defense. (T/F)
•    This com­pany is self-insured for Auto Lia­bil­ity and Gen­eral Lia­bil­ity. (T/F)

Ques­tions
Care­fully con­structed ques­tions are often the eas­i­est and most pow­er­ful “Hooks.” Ques­tions can begin with the words “How many here have…?” or “Did you know that…?” Your ques­tion should demand a phys­i­cal response from the par­tic­i­pants, such as nod­ding, rais­ing hands, even stand­ing up.

Visu­al­iza­tion
This tech­nique gives even “dry” sub­jects the emo­tional con­tent you need to hook the learn­ers’ interest.

Here’s a real-life exam­ple of a visu­al­iza­tion “Hook” from a super­vi­sory class on wage and hour laws: “Close your eyes and imag­ine that you are a 10 year old child in the 1930’s work­ing in a fac­tory 12 hours a day, 60 hours a week for 10 cents an hour. You’ve never seen the inside of a school…your feet are cold and you get just one meal break a day. How do you feel?” Ask the par­tic­i­pants to open their eyes. Debrief thoughts and feel­ings; con­nect to the course topic and state the learn­ing outcomes.

Remem­ber: to keep your audi­ence actively engaged from the get-go, you must HOOK their inter­est in the first few min­utes of class. Wait until they’re hooked to intro­duce yourself!

Read more arti­cles to boost your Train­ing Skills. Learn about Guila Muir’s Train the Trainer Work­shops.

Guila Muir is the pre­miere trainer of train­ers, facil­i­ta­tors, and pre­sen­ters on the West Coast of the United States. Since 1994, she has helped thou­sands of pro­fes­sion­als improve their train­ing, facil­i­ta­tion, and pre­sen­ta­tion skills. Find out how she can help trans­form you from a bor­ing expert to a great pre­sen­ter: www.guilamuir.com

© 2009 Guila Muir. All rights reserved. You may make copies of this arti­cle and dis­trib­ute in any media so long as you change noth­ing, credit the author, and include this copy­right notice and web address.

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The Seven Laws of Training: What Managers Must Know

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Training Managerby Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

You over­see train­ing and pos­si­bly deliver it. How can you ensure that your agency's train­ing actu­ally improves work­place per­for­mance? (more…)

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How to Blow Your Credibility From The "Get-Go"

Friday, February 27th, 2009

by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

When you are speak­ing in front of a group, do you really want to blow your rela­tion­ship with the audi­ence imme­di­ately? These two com­mon pre­sen­ta­tion behav­iors will help to ensure that you do! (more…)

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How Do You Know They Know? Designing in-Class Assessment

Friday, July 4th, 2008

how do you know they know?by Guila Muir
info@guilamuir.com

How seri­ous are you about your stu­dents actu­ally learn­ing? Most of us would say, “VERY seri­ous!” Yet many train­ers and instruc­tional design­ers actu­ally have no idea what, and even if, par­tic­i­pants have learned by the end of a session.

(more…)

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