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Apr 19, 201811:22 AMOpen Mic

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How to get your audience’s attention during training — and keep it

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If you lose your employees’ attention during the first few minutes of a training session, good luck getting it back.

Effective training does not happen by chance; it requires premeditation and the use of proven teaching techniques. Let’s run through some suggested best practices to keep your attendees engaged and focused on your presentation.

Introduction, main presentation, and conclusion

Similar to creating a report, a training presentation will have three identifiable components: the introduction, the explanation of the topic, and the closing thoughts or summary.

A training session begins with an introduction of the topic by providing a summary of the main points you will cover.

As you go through each of these main points during the session, highlight key points under each. These points need to relate to the employee’s position with the company. They should also appear in your policies and procedures, which are provided during the presentation. Employees should be shown where the key points appear within it.

When you wrap up your program, repeat what you told them in the summary overview at the start of the presentation to bring it full circle. Repetition will assist attendees in retaining the information you provided.

Use of media

If you provide a video, audio, photograph, illustration, or any other type of multimedia during the presentation, be sure to lay the groundwork by explaining what they are about to see or hear. By offering this explanation, the participants should know what to watch for and will hopefully remember the point behind the media. For example, if you provide an image of a truck and its blind spots during a presentation to your drivers, you need to introduce it as such and provide some explanation as to why you are providing the graphic (i.e., you need to be aware of these areas since the motoring public is not).

Help with recall

When participants leave your training session, you want them to recall and apply your key points. Consider the following teaching techniques to enhance retention of training materials:

  • Hands-on training — Works with the senses and helps participants remember and apply key points.
  • Quizzes, especially if announced beforehand — Will require trainees to pay close attention to details in anticipation of the test. The results also assist in knowing whether your training was effective.
  • Participant involvement — Uses seasoned employees in the group to share real-life experiences on the topics as you go through different modules. This touch of reality (voice other than the trainer and a diversion from the presenter’s notes) may keep the session fresh and interesting.
  • Restating questions — Allows everyone to hear and clearly understand what is being asked in relation to the answer. It also reinforces what is being said through repetition.


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