No matter how skilled your employees and team members are, there will always be room for improvement. This is why it’s essential for businesses, government agencies, nonprofit associations, and other entities to hold training programs to improve staff performance and work productivity. If you’re assigned to this event planning, you’ll need to prepare early to make it successful and effective.
Unfortunately, no matter how much your company has spent on training programs, there’s still a chance that some attendees will lose interest. Whether you’re hosting an online or face-to-face event, follow these tips to maximize your audience engagement.
1. Consider Booking a Meeting Room
Your training event’s venue will depend on the number of participants and the format.
A conference room in your office building may be a good option if you only expect a small number of attendees.
If you don’t have enough space in your office, it makes perfect sense to go for a premium meeting room rental.
First, consider where your team members live, and make sure the location will be easy to reach.
It’s best to visit the venue in advance. This way you can check that the venue has adequate accessibility and capacity, and that they can set the right ambiance for your event. Usually a venue will offer amenities including tables, chairs, a kitchen area, and catering services.
Start early when looking for a location off-site. This will give you ample time and flexibility to choose from many venue options and even score some discounts or freebies for an early booking.
2. Decide What Kind of Training to Do
Another crucial step in organizing a training event is to plan the necessary training topics. This is the holy grail of the occasion, and because the event will cost the company some money, it’s critical to generate results from it. You can gain valuable insight into what employees on the ground need by conducting a needs assessment.
Start by gathering managers and team leaders and conducting a brainstorming session for this. Ultimately, they know what skills members and staff under them are falling behind and need to be incorporated into the training. Another way is to distribute a survey, asking staff about skills they’re weak at and would want to improve. As a result, upskilling your team will be much easier, and you will be able to achieve your business goals more quickly.
You can make the most out of coaching through training events. Take a look at what significant skills your company’s members should have. Assess how many other employees lack such skills and which departments or teams need them more. The skill can be as general or technical as it can be. The key is to cover them all during a training session. You must fill in those gaps and ensure that your company’s employees are improving through your help.
During the extensive training, the challenge now lies in successfully capturing and retaining the attendees’ attention. Hence, it’s critical to design engaging, interesting, and informative training sessions. It is possible to cover almost any topic during corporate training sessions. Some of the most common ones are about new products and services, teamwork and team building, customer onboarding and retention, professional development, diversity in the workplace, HR and legal compliance, and other topics necessary in your business.
Training courses are well worth the company’s investment, even though it takes time and resources. By holding these training topics, your members can take advantage of the following benefits:
- Employees’ professional skills will be developed.
- It will boost overall employee engagement.
- Employees will be able to upskill or refresh their digital skills.
- Work productivity and performance will improve.
- Customers can also benefit from better work productivity among the employees.
- Customer and employee retention rates will improve.
3. Have an Instructor Lead the Training Event
Another way to organize a training event is to assign an instructor to execute the training. This setting can be referred to as instructor-led training, which means a trainer leads the training session. You can outsource an industry expert from a third-party training company or choose an in-house staff knowledgeable about the training topics.
The program combines traditional face-to-face training with online instructor-led training. While it’s valuable to delegate an instructor that will hold a successful training event, they should find effective ways to keep the attendees engaged. Therefore, this leads to their training gimmicks and tactics to boost engagement. This is because they should engage trainees actively in learning rather than passively receiving information from them.
Here are some tips for instructors to generate interest and positive input from trainees:
- During the session, an instructor should tell a story, effectively describe the scene, and include characters for a livelier feel. This will pique curiosity among the audience.
- Make the presentation relatable by sharing a personal experience. You may never know, but some attendees may have experienced the same challenge or success stories.
- Allow attendees to ask questions during or after presentations.
- Incorporate activities or exciting games to make it fun.
- If possible, delegate more than one instructor and host, so they can form a team who can be witty and fun hosts together.
4. Set Learning Objectives
Another way to ensure your training event’s success is to set clear learning objectives because your team training will be built around these goals developed from your skills gap analysis. In the end, they should outline what your team will be able to accomplish after the training event. You can measure the results better if there are set objectives from the get-go.
You will be able to measure progress based on these objectives at the end of the event and set learning expectations among your team at the beginning of training. The most important thing to consider is that such goals should be SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
Depending on the goals, they can be set both for the short and long run. Thus, it’s vital to discuss and share these goals with the audience before starting the training program, so they’ll know what to expect and prepare to generate results after the event.
5. Incorporate Enjoyable Activities
Some audiences may find training events to be tacky and dull. You may be able to hold their interest for less than an hour, but exceeding that time may result in them feeling bored. They might zone out and stop listening during discussions. The information overload resulting from team training events can quickly become a problem if you aren’t careful. Therefore, acting wise and developing fun activities for the group to enjoy is crucial. Create ice breakers and let everyone engage with each other. The goal is to incorporate fun activities that are still relevant to the training event. This can give attendees much-appreciated breaks and make their experience more memorable.
To facilitate team engagement and interaction, you can incorporate games and contests into the entire event to practice the learning material. Feel free to prepare props and accessories that can contribute to lightening the atmosphere. Allow attendees to move around during these activities; this will also help them to stretch their bodies and take breaks from sitting too long and being sedentary.
Create a healthy competitive environment by forming teams and running question-and-answer contests. There are numerous ways to keep the program alive and engaging for all employees. Mandate participation among all members so everyone will feel more engaged. This will allow them to absorb all topics discussed while making fun memories with their colleagues.
Training programs can also be used to leverage team-building sessions. Likewise, the event is a great way to meet new people in a friendly, safe environment. You can include funny icebreakers in your training as everyone gets to know one another, helping everyone feel more at ease.
6. Use Creative Learning Resources
One secret to making a training session more successful is the materials and resources you’ll be using. Attendees can engage with the content of training sessions by using these essential tools. So, they can have materials and ideas to refer back to even after the training session.
Although the instructor will be presenting using a projector and slides, it would also be valuable to send copies to all the attendees as reference. Therefore, make lively and exciting presentations and slides by incorporating engaging and witty videos and images. Consider the needs of both face-to-face and online attendees for your training event, too. Ensure you meet all their learning needs through your tools and materials.
Training events are essential no matter how tenured and well experienced your staff members may be. Many benefits come with training employees now and then. In the end, training sessions face the challenge of engaging and retaining participants’ attention. Thankfully, the tips presented in this article will help you navigate through a successful and productive training session designed to engage your attendees and help them grow.