We’ve all had workshops, where the vibe, the energy and overall of participants was not truly booming. What can you do as a trainer, when that happens and how can you boost the positive attitude and increase participation? Elaine Biech in her book Training for dummies shared some of the techniques, that we found useful in practice and we wanted to share them.

Encourage participation from the start

Greet the first person that enters the room and introduce yourself. Learn something about him or his drive for the session. Once the session starts, get people up, moving about and participating in the first few minutes. The icebreaker should at least provide an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other by name.

Cards / other means of expressing for shy participants

We are not all born to speak in front of a large group. Therefore make sure that you enable people to express in a different way. Take an online pool, use index cards, make small group conversations etc.

Give your role away

Find ways in which participants can take on the role of the trainer. Ask someone to facilitate a discussion. Encourage participants to talk to each other and make small groups present different topics.

Be on your feet

Physical movement keeps the blood flowing to the brain and prevents the afternoon blahs. Make sure that you don’t leave participants sitting all day long. Lead stand up discussions, post flipcharts all over the place and make participants write comments on it. Use space positioning method for participants to express opinions.

Remove the tables

This arrangement creates an informal atmosphere and encourages a high level of participation. The drawback is that participants no longer have a place to write, but it is a great setting for discussions and debriefings.

Active participation until the end

Finish your session by including participants and ask everyone what did they learn. Ask which question emerged from the session, what are the most memorable take-aways and what will their Monday morning difference be.

Provide a compelling reason to participate

Make sure to take enough time in the beginning of the session, so that everyone understands why are they here and what is the purpose of the workshop. They need to know what are you trying to achieve and what do you expect from them.

Value participant’s feedback

Real-time feedback can improve participant’s wellbeing in the training room and it allows you to implement changes during the training already. Why wait until the end? Participants will appreciate your intention to make the most out of your time together.

increase participation

Every group of participants is different

Group dynamics depend on so many factors – from the space, timing of the workshop, the general vibe in the company, the way the workshop was communicated, motivation of participants, your preparation etc. With the small elements mentioned above, you can maximize the odds that your training will be highly engaging and that it will reach its goal. When you are truly present at the training it will be much more likely, that participants will be truly present as well. 

Do you want to learn all of this in practice and get more knowledge about delivering trainings and workshops? Join our Train the trainer certification program, starting in September!

We do Train the trainer certifications also in-house. Send us an email at hello@corpohub.com or reach out to us on social media.