Don’t do for attendees what they can do for themselves.
With the distractions of texting, social media, and email, it’s harder now than ever to keep adults engaged in corporate training sessions. But as a professional speaker and trainer, it’s my job to keep my audiences engaged and learning. One way I do that is to not do for my attendees anything they can do for themselves.
Last week I delivered a 3-hour training session on “Recruiting and Retaining Generation Y Talent.” Great topic. LONG session. One of the things I wanted my audience to walk away with was a great benchmark of how the best companies are recruiting and retaining Generation Y employees. I could have read them the list of companies that have a proven track record of retaining Yers and then given them a dozen bullet points on how the companies do what they do. But that quickly gets boring.
Here’s what I did instead. I quickly named the top 5 companies for Generation Yers. These are companies that are known to meet the unique needs of this generation and companies where Yers thrive. Then, I divided my audience into groups of 4-6 people. I asked my attendees to pull out their smartphones and iPads and I had each group research one company. Further, I instructed the groups to prepare a short presentation on what that company was doing to effectively recruit, motivate and retain Generation Y employees. I gave the groups 10 minutes for their research.
My audience loved this exercise. It got them interacting with one another, they were fully engaged, and they loved researching on their personal gadgets. The group presentations covered a depth of knowledge that I couldn’t have covered without boring the audience.
I debriefed this exercise by telling my audience of Human Resource Directors and Corporate Trainers that letting Generation Yers work in teams and use the Internet during training sessions is a great way to engage Yers in corporate training.
Bottom line: When it comes to corporate training, don’t do for attendees what they can do for themselves. Engage your attendees by letting them brainstorm, research and present in small groups. When you do this, your job is easier and your people learn and retain far more.