Linda F. Willing
P.O. Box 148
Grand Lake, CO
Training Tip Archives
Home or Away?
There can be real benefit to changing training or meeting venues now and then. Meeting with the same people in a new place can create new perspectives and disrupt habits of communication that block progress on an issue. Even changing the layout of a room or forcing people to sit in different seats from what they normally choose can have an effect on the interaction. And choosing a neutral location can make meetings among groups from different jurisdictions go more smoothly.
Early Spring 2008
Proper lighting can make a big difference in the quality of your presentation. If possible, check the room where you will be teaching ahead of time at the same time of day when your presentation will occur. If there is a lot of ambient light, then use a dark background for your slides and reconsider the use of film clips. Locate the controls for the overhead lights and learn how to adjust them before the class begins. If you cannot check out the room before the presentation, you might want to create several versions of your presentation with different slide backgrounds and formats, and then determine which one works best when you arrive.
Get the Word Out
Many departments have spent time and resources to sponsor a training class, only to have the class canceled due to low enrollment. In many cases, this situation is due to poor notification about the class rather than lack of interest. It is never too soon to begin advertising a class or special event. Be creative in how you promote the event, using print media, Internet, and even video sources and social networking sites. Most importantly, talk it up! Expressing genuine enthusiasm for a training opportunity will almost guarantee good participation and future demand.
It is always a good idea to begin any class, whether it is two hours or two weeks long, by clearly stating expectations. Tell students what the course requirements are in terms of writtten assignments, oral presentations, and exams. Clarify starting and ending times for class, how breaks will be managed and rules for use of cell phones or PDAs. Explain what reference materials or texts will be used in the class, and have them available. Allow time for questions. If there are more than one or two assignments related to the class, pass out a written list of them with due dates. Finally, let students know how and when they can contact you if they have issues they want to discuss one-on-one.