5 Ways to Ease Back into Face-to-Face Training

Face-to-face training is making a comeback. And while trainers are understandably thrilled to see their participants in-person again, it’s safe to say that some of those F2F training skills have grown a little… rusty.

This can make getting back to face-to-face training a challenge for rookies and experienced trainers alike. That’s why we’ve assembled some tried and tested tips that are designed to help trainers and participants ease back into F2F training settings.

Tip #1: Make sure Everyone Feels Safe

Every trainer and participant attending an in-person session is going to have a different comfort level—especially at first. That’s why it’s important for you, the trainer, to lead the way in ensuring everyone feels safe. In many cases, this is going to mean erring on the side of caution and:

  • Modeling COVID-safe behavior (this includes wearing a mask and social distancing)
  • Asking participants to stay masked up when the training session is indoors.
  • Asking participants to social distance when possible.
  • Diligently following any local ordinances concerning indoor gatherings.

Safety expectations and guidelines should be communicated well before the training session begins so everyone can start from a place of comfort and safety.

Tip #2: Use Low Key Icebreakers

The return of face-to-face training is certainly cause for celebration! If there is hesitation among participants and trainers, it’s because many people have not exercised their in-person social skills for quite some time. This can make a move back to F2F training feel intimidating, even for seasoned trainers!

That’s why using low key icebreakers can help get everyone (including you) warmed up, involved, and feeling comfortable. You could try:

  • A quick game of “Two Truths and a Lie” (but only with volunteers)
  • Brief introductions (ask people their name and something simple, like their favorite movie)
  • Very quick activities, such as games or surveys

Avoid anything that puts participants in a spotlight. Remember that the purpose is to ease participants back into a professional social setting in a way that helps them feel comfortable and safe.

Tip #3: Incorporate New Technology

Most participants and trainers have grown accustomed to using technology during virtual training sessions. As you ease back into face-to-face training, you may want to keep using that technology. (After all, there’s a lot to like about tech, especially once you’re past the learning curve.) You may want to consider:

  • Using video recordings during in-person training.
  • Sharing your important documents online.
  • Allowing participants to fill out or perform evaluations virtually.
  • Using online group chats or breakout rooms.

There are many participants who have grown to like (and perhaps even depend on) these tools. It makes sense to embrace the tech that’s already working for you.

Tip #4: Build in Lots of Breaks

Everyone’s social skills are probably a little out of practice, so being social takes more energy than it used to and fatigue can set in fast (even for trainers). Make sure you’re scheduling lots of breaks in those first face-to-face training sessions because participants will need time to recharge their batteries.

Pro tip: build in more breaks than you think you might need. If your pre-COVID training sessions scheduled a fifteen-minute break every two hours, maybe try a ten-minute break every hour. Your participants (and fellow trainers) will thank you!

Tip #5: Brush Up on Your Skills?

It’s only natural that your own in-person training skills might feel a little rusty. Think about attending a F2F training session or workshop of your own! You’ll be able to re-familiarize yourself with the tempo and cadence of in-person training. Before you’re leading the group, it might help you feel more at ease to engage as a participant first.

You can become re-acclimated to in-person training at the same time you sharpen your skills. It’s a win-win.

Get Ready to Go Back

As you get ready to go back to F2F training, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to proceed slowly and with caution. You don’t have to rush anything. And your participants will be thankful for this approach as well.

You can bolster your in-person skills with a Train-the-Trainer Boot Camp. Now available in-person, these world famous workshops can help you get ready for the new face-to-face training experience.

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