What’s the best way to assure your training participants to “turn off” the first second you open your mouth? Just follow conventional wisdom and open your session by introducing yourself and providing your credentials.
Instead, generate curiosity, interest and motivation from the outset. Use a “Hook” before introducing yourself.
Three Ideas for Engaging Hooks
Quickie Quiz: Using either a half-sheet of paper or a slide, create a 3-question quiz that relates to your topic. The best questions are slightly provocative, controversial, or amusing. Ask participants to take the quiz the minute they sit down. Throughout the class, answer and clarify the issues.
Option: For more up-front engagement, ask participants to share their responses with a partner before you formally begin. Be sure you have a way to bring their attention back to you. (Use a bell, chime, etc.)
Questions: Carefully constructed questions work great. 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 raising hands or standing up.
Guidelines: Be sure to ask two questions or more. Instruct people to respond physically, and wait for them to do so. The best questions include a bit of emotion (laughter is great, but so is a smattering of anxiety or intrigue).
Visualization: This technique gives even “dry” subjects the emotional content you need to hook participants’ 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, introduce yourself, and state the learning outcomes.
Remember: To increase interest and motivation from the get-go, hook your participants immediately!