Group Work Activities for Training Workshops

Interactive training workshops are more engaging than boring lectures and are more effective than mere presentations done by a trainer. Group work is one of the main kinds of activities that can make a training session highly interactive and engaging and thus enjoyable and of high impact.

Single Presenter

Here is basically how group work works:

  1. Trainer divides participants into groups.
  2. Trainer asks each group to discuss a specific topic and write down their thoughts in points.
  3. Trainer then asks each team to nominate one of its members to come and present the points of his team in front of all participants.

Multiple Presenters

A variation would be to ask each team to send 2 or even 3 of its members to present the points written by the team. This is helpful in team building training where you want participants to practice collaboration and cooperation. In such  cases, you must clearly state that both participants sharing the presentation have to share equally in presenting their team’s points. It is not acceptable that one participant goes ahead reading and explaining all the points while forgetting all about his colleague who is standing next to him and not leaving any points for that colleague to cover. The trainer must clearly state that this is not allowed. The trainer must state this before the teams start their presentations.

Time Stretching

The time it takes each team to present their points is proportional to the number of team members giving the presentation. If you ask each team to send 2 of its team members to give the presentation this would take them more time than if you had asked them to send only one team member to do the presentation. Similarly, 3 members would take a longer time in presenting than 2 members even though they have the same number of points to present. This phenomenon can be used by the trainer to reduce or expand the time of the group work activity in order to manage the training session time.

Sheets

Before the teams start their discussions, you can provide them with flip chart sheets to use for writing their points. You may even ask them to cut the sheets themselves from the flip chart and divide a single sheet into 2 or 3 parts and divide it on the other teams.

Seating

It is of great value that you ask the teams to site in circles. As they start their discussions, if you find one of the teams not arranging their chairs in a proper circle go to them and guide them to do so. The seating positions during this activity have a very high and noticeable effect on the performance of a team. Sitting in a perfect circle makes it possible for everyone to participate and boosts synergy among team members creating what might seem like a sort of resonance.

Getting Creative

I remember once that one of the teams got creative during their presentation and threw in a mini-play instead of a mere reading and explaining of the points they have written. A trainer should praise and encourage such creative initiatives.

Topic

The topic of discussion can be to reflect on a video just viewed by participants or to try and find answers for a question or solutions for a problem or just to list any kind of information the trainer asks them to list.

Conclusion

Group work is an activity that participants usually enjoy greatly and benefit from. Nevertheless, the trainer should take care to alternate between it and other forms of training so that participants do not get over-exhausted. Group work is usually a fundamental part of every interactive training workshop.

What kind of training program do you think group work would not be appropriate to use in?

Overcoming Novice Trainer Fear of Facing a Live Audience

Trainer Fear

One of the biggest obstacles a new trainer faces is overcoming his or her shyness and fear of facing a live audience and standing in front of trainees to handle and manage a training session. Usually a person who faces such a challenge in an extreme way, to the extent that it prevents him or her completely from being able to take the move and stand in front of an audience, usually such a person is afraid that he or she might make a mistake.

Negative Ideas

All sorts of negative ideas jump in his or her mind such as that he will be asked a difficult question that he will not be able to answer or that one of the trainees would make a disruptive behavior or that the trainees would break out of control completely or any other extreme negative thoughts.

Mistakes are OK

The first step to solve this issue is to understand and fully believe that it is totally OK for a trainer, be he novice or experienced, to make mistakes during training. The trick is to be able to act in a confident way even in case of making a mistake. The knowledge of this idea and the belief in it puts down a huge burden from the shoulders of such would-be trainers and provides them with a great deal of calmness.

Difficult Situations

Being aware of the various difficult situations a trainer might be facing, such as the ones mentioned above, and learning how to deal with them also makes the new trainer more confident in entering the training room and carrying out the training.

Visualization

After changing the flawed belief that a professional trainer never makes mistakes during training, an additional technique to build trainer confidence is through visualization. One day before delivering the training session the trainer can start visualizing himself or herself actually delivering the training session, answering trainee questions, dealing with difficult participants and speaking in front of the audience with confidence. When the actual time for the real session comes, the trainer will find himself full of confidence and will be able to deliver the training well.

Practicing

Practice makes perfect. The more the novice trainer attempts to practice facing a live audience the better he would become and the more confident he will be. He can start first with facing people he knows well and facing small groups then building up to larger groups of total strangers. Using this protected environment approach can help the novice trainer overcome his fears and gain the needed confidence to face a live audience.

Controlled Anxiety

Finally, the novice trainer should understand that it is totally OK to feel some anxiety and nervousness prior to delivering a training session in particular if he is about to deliver it to a new audience at a new place and the training course is a new course that he is delivering for the first time.

This never means that such a trainer is not competent. The only important thing is that the trainer in such a case is able to keep such anxiety internal and not make it show to the outside audience.

Conclusion

By understanding that it is OK for a trainer to make mistakes during the training or feel anxious prior to the training and by using visualization a novice trainer can learn how to overcome his or her shyness and fear of facing a live audience.

What is the most difficult situation you can imagine facing during a training session?