Sit-down training is still alive and well – employee workshops, team building, conferences and seminars. But the attention span of participants is much shorter, and there are greater expectations for entertainment and colour. Plus everyone has a tiny distraction device in their pocket – if the session content is not relevant or engaging, out come the phones!
So a new set of tools is necessary to attract participants, hold their interest and share important content.
Book and confirm attendees with an easy booking app like Eventbrite – share the essential information, sign them up, and send reminders. Back it up with a text reminder on the day with a bulk messaging service like BurstSMS (Australia & NZ).
Encourage better note taking to ensure the retention of information – phone or iPad apps like OneNote, Evernote or Simplenote are great for this. Two-thumb typing direct to an app means the information is available anywhere – put away the pens.
Bring the audience to life with a tool like AhaSlides – it draws people into the discussion and encourages participation from the 80% who usually just sit and listen. Warm them up with a poll to find their opinions on a hot topic, then discuss the results. Run a quiz to see how much they know, then energise a panel or guest speaker session with live questions. It’s amazing how many left-field issues pop up this way – the centre of gravity has shifted back to the audience, where it belongs. Use a word cloud for open-ended suggestions and brainstorming – now phones are supporting the session instead of undermining it.
Use music to shape the mood of the room – compile your own lists with Spotify or Apple Music. Tunes for starting the day, when people are working quietly, sending them on a break or adding energy if the mood is sagging.
Gather feedback at the end, with another AhaSlides poll or word cloud, or text people a short survey you’ve put together with Wufoo or Google Forms. If you want the maximum response, ask for feedback before they leave – next-day surveys will get far fewer replies. Even a written survey form on the table can gather very useful information.
Keep improving your skills as a facilitator and trainer with tech shortcuts, and podcasts like Leanne Hughes’s First Time Facilitator – full of interviews with presenters and great ideas to keep you on your game.
This is a guest blog post by Ken Burgin, Events & Strategic Partners Manager at SilverChef in Australia.