Physical Activity During Training

Sitting still on a chair for an extended period of time in front of a lecturer or a presenter produces boredom, fatigue and even sleepiness. No wonder we find the occasional sleeping attendee during a lecture or meeting. In training, it is crucial to avoid such situations by getting trainees to move from time to time in order to revitalize their energies.

One way of achieving this is by providing trainees with breaks. During breaks, trainees can get out of their seats to have some coffee and speak with one another. This simple motion out from their seats and to the coffee table helps revitalize their energies. If some participants decide to keep to their chairs during the break the trainer can encourage them to get up for a cup of coffee or so.

Another great way to get participants moving is to provide them with an icebreaker. This usually takes place at the beginning of the training session. Some even like to call it an energizer. It can also be used at other times during the training program such as right after the lunch break. Icebreakers at the beginning of the first training session can come right after the trainer introduces himself, the training program and the training style he will be using. It is best to select an icebreaker that is fun and that includes, some physical activity. The physical activity may range from just standing up, perhaps in a circle to more vigorous ones including throwing balls and walking up to other colleagues. When participants get seated once again after such an energizer, they feel happy, exhilarated and energized. Their body cells are now ready to relax down while their brain cells fire up providing their full attention and focus to what the trainer has got to say. Engagement level of trainees is boosted.

Games can also be another opportunity for providing physical activity to participants besides breaks and energizers. It is a good idea to select games that involve physical activity and movement. Participants enjoy games superbly, learn from them and get revitalized in a similar way to energizers and even better. Games can be followed by reflections. It is essential to remember that alternating between resting the body and providing it with opportunities for being active is what keeps a participant active and fresh throughout the training session. Asking participants to make too much physical activity would be exhaustive and counterproductive.

The simple act of asking a participant to change his place or having participants stand up to present their findings after group discussions are considered physical activities that do help in revitalizing trainees and keeping their energy levels high.

The trainer should pepper his training with plenty of physical activities through icebreakers, games, breaks and other methods in order to keep trainees constantly alert and fully focused throughout the training program.


Engaging Participants with Storytelling

Training of Trainers

I was once delivering a training of trainers course. One of the participants was already an experienced trainer who was herself delivering training of trainers courses yet decided to attend my training to see how I delivered that course. During one of the sessions of the course, I asked participants to provide a brief 10-minute demo of workshops they are preparing. That participant, who is already a trainer, raised her hand to have a go at providing a demo of her workshop. I allowed her other colleagues to take turns first then signaled to her to come present her demo.

Incomplete Story

She came and stood in front of her colleagues with great confidence, briefly introducing herself by mentioning her name then mentioning the title of her workshop. She then proceeded directly to telling a story related to the subject of her workshop. It was an actual story that had taken place long ago and contained powerful lessons within it.

The assigned 10-minutes for the demo came to an end and I signaled to her to stop. She had not completed the story and wanted to continue. I told her that time was already over. Many participants pleaded and begged me to let her continue with the story she had started. They were so eager to listen to the rest of the story to know what happened next. Nevertheless, I refused her extra time so that she would learn how to manage her time better next time despite the many pleadings I got from her colleagues who had been following her story with full attention and deep engagement.

After she went back to her seat, I praised the technique she used during her demo which was storytelling. I pointed out to participants of the training of trainers course the fact that they were fully engaged with the story she was narrating and how they were dying to have her continue it. This experience showed everyone how engaging storytelling can be.

Lasting Effect

Storytelling is a very powerful technique that can be used by the trainer during a training session not only to deeply engage participants but also to achieve a deep lasting effect and induce a strong learning experience. The human mind is designed to handle stories exceptionally well in terms of attention, retention, digestion, reflection, deduction and later practical use of the information in and deductions from such stories.

Types of Stories

The most effective kind of story is one the trainer has experienced himself and was part of. The second best are real stories the trainer had heard or read about. A third type of story, still very effective, is fictional stories that make a point or provide specific lessons.


No matter what the training is about, a competent trainer can make good use of the storytelling technique to achieve deep engagement of participants and a strong and lasting learning experience. A trainer may even allow and encourage participants to use storytelling themselves during their presentations or as part of other training activities during a training session.

Is there a story that has changed your life after you listened to it or read about it? Tell use about it.