by Randy Clark

This is the third in a five-part series on training. Previously, I posted “How Not to Train,” and “What to do Before the Training Begins”. This post is a more “nuts and bolts / here’s how it’s done” post, so let’s get to it.

Group role-play training sessions

  • Warm up the group with general small talk (1 to 3 minutes).
  • Explain the purpose of the session is to educate.
  • Focus on one key area of improvement.
  • Explain what to do, how to do it, and why to do it, as trained. For example,
    • What to do?—Build the best widgets in the world.
    • How to do it?—By following the outlined procedure on every point.
    • Why do it that way?—The procedure has proven to cut down waste and use time and resources more efficiently which makes you a better widget builder.
  • Have someone competently perform the procedure.
  • Have others repeat the procedure.
  • Look for any opportunity to give recognition and reinforce positive behavior (never reprimand in public).
  • When the procedure hasn’t been completed properly, show how to do it — then ask the group for differences.
  • Have several team members complete the procedure. It’s ok to ask for volunteers (I will often inform and prepare team members regarding their participation prior to the training session).
  • Reinforce the procedure by explaining how it will help them.
  • Get commitments to follow the training

Group Fill-In The Blank Worksheet

  • Prepare a sheet on one topic with key words and _______ omitted (the example above would be key words and phrases).
  • Warm up the group with general small talk.
  • Explain the purpose of the worksheet is to educate.
  • Pass out the sheets and lead the discussion.
  • As you come to the blanks, let the team attempt to answer.
  • Only provide the answer if the team is unable to answer.
  • Once the correct answer has been stated, have everyone fill in the blank.
  • Discuss what to do, how to do it, and why do it that way.
  • Reinforce the procedure by explaining how it will help them.

Group Survey

Either prior to, or at the beginning of the session, provide the group a training related survey. Keep the survey simple, use open-ended questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how), and limit the number of questions. Examples could be, “What is the best way to build a widget?” “What procedure needs to be improved?” “How can we…” “When can we…?” “Why would we…?” etc.

  • Have the individuals complete the survey.
  • Discuss the survey either in the group or sub-groups.
  • Look for methods to share.
  • Discuss ideas to research or try.
  • Recognize training opportunities. Who needs help with what?

What techniques have worked for you? What results have you experienced? Please share your best training techniques.

In the next training post, I’ll share an outline for new hire orientation and basic training.