It is important to realize that past experiences of trainees with other trainers may shape their behavior towards the current trainer especially if they are taking the training at the same place they have been taking it in with the previous trainer.
Annoying Side Talks
For instance let’s say trainees have been attending training with an incompetent trainer who speaks most of the time, does not allow trainees to express themselves, does not provide them with activities and shouts at them if they speak to one another while he is speaking. Such group of trainees might develop a habit of speaking to one another every time the trainer gives them his back to write on the whiteboard.
Let’s say a new trainer comes by to deliver another course to the same group of trainees in the same training room. Even if such trainer is a competent one providing trainees with ample opportunity to express themselves and carry out activities their previously acquired negative behavior of speaking whenever the trainer gives them his back might still persist.
One solution is to be patient until this bad habit subsides.
In what other ways do you think a trainer can assist trainees in breaking such bad habits?
Same as the artist or designer uses white space on a piece of paper to keep his design uncluttered a trainer can also make use of pauses of silence during the time he is speaking to grab the attention of the audience.
An additional benefit of a pause of silence by the trainer or another use of it is when there are side talks during the time when a trainer is explaining something to the audience or presenting something to them. Usually those having the side talk and not paying full attention to the trainer fall under the impression that they are not noticed by the trainer or that their side talk is not negatively affecting the training process or their other colleagues.
As the trainer throws a sudden pause of silence, while he is speaking, such participants engaged in a side talk are exposed to the rest of the audience. If the trainer accompanies that pause of silence with a look in their direction, as if waiting for them to finish, and effectively changing the focus of all the class towards the side talkers this puts them under even more pressure and makes them stop their side talk abruptly.
It is important to note that a pause of silence is not only used by the trainer to silence side talks but it is a good tool also for grabbing the attention of participants.
It can also be used to allow information just mentioned to sink in in the minds of participants or to give them a brief moment of reflection. It can also be used during storytelling to have participants fully imagine what has just been narrated, to create structured divisions in the story or to create a sense of suspense.
A pause of silence is a technique with many uses that a trainer can use to his or her advantage if used effectively and at the right time.
What other uses can you think of for the pause of silence?
Sometimes you, the trainer, want to give one of the trainees an instruction but feel that that trainee would show a great deal of resistance following such instruction.
For instance let’s say one of the participants is showing a great deal of side talks and disrupting the training process. Let’s say you want to ask such a participant to move from his current seat to another one at the opposite side of the room to break his disrupting side talks with his colleagues. If you order him directly to move from his current place he may take it personally, get offended and show a great deal of resistance in following your instruction.
One way for dealing with such a situation can be to first ask a different trainee to change her place then ask the trainee with the disrupting behavior to change his place. By seeing one or more trainees first obeying your instruction, the difficult trainee would show very low resistance or even no resistance at all in following suit and obeying your instruction as well. It is as if you have set a pattern in the training room which would be normal for everyone to follow.
This technique can be used not only with difficult participants who are showing disruptive behavior but it can also be used with shy trainees who are very reluctant or highly resistant to following some of your instructions for them to do something. For instance let’s say one of the participants in a team is shy and does not want to present the findings of his team. You can start by asking other members of his team first to come and present then ask the shy participant to come and present too after that.
By setting a pattern through asking participants whom you feel would obey your instructions first it makes it way easier to ask other more resistive participants to follow suit and do the same as their colleagues.
In what other ways do you think one can deal with resistance in trainees?