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Let’s dive into examples of real themed workshops we’ve created.
As we go, pick and choose how you might take those ideas and be inspired to create a theme that makes your training more fun and memorable.
In the workshop “Your Checklist for Kick-Ass Virtual Training”, we created a superhero theme. And here's how we did that.
We had learners think… what is a superhero? It's a person who uses their extraordinary abilities to fight crime and protect people.
Now, I want you to think through and brainstorm with me… what superpowers would be important for a super trainer to have?
Mind reading. Tech savvy. Reading the room. Preparedness. Ability to plant knowledge in people's brains.
The reason why we did this is because we wanted to give learners a chance to think through what it would look like for them to be a super trainer.
Our definition of a super trainer at the Bob Pike Group is one who is ILPC: instructor led participant centered.
We as the trainers are simply the guides leading the journey for our learners, but it’s the learners who take the ownership to participate, engage, and apply the content.
Naturally, in that workshop, I couldn't help but dress up as Thor and carry my Thor hammer.
In the soft openers, I gave folks an opportunity to type their ideal (superhero) superpower on the screen.
We had people stamp, do you prefer DC or Marvel?
If you were writing a comic about an evil super villain who wreaks havoc on virtual trainings, what would you name them?
Stamp the newspaper Peter Parker works for.
So these are all manifestations of how to lace in your theme, even in the soft opener activities.
We ended that session by giving tons of different tips for how to lead a kick-ass virtual training. And we created a closer activity called “Key Takeaway Man”, where we had folks look back through their notes, pick a key takeaway from that workshop, and then use that takeaway to name a super trainer.
For example, we talked about the importance of stripping out “nice to know” content that's good for them to know down the road, and instead focusing on “need to know” content that is truly urgent, that they'll use at least six times in the next 30 days. With that, we had one person name their super trainer “Need to Know Woman”.
In the workshop “How to Present with Pizazz Online”, we added an ‘80s theme to that workshop, and here's why.
Maybe you recall the commercials from the ‘80s for a hair product called Pazazz.
We showed a video clip of a commercial highlighting this hair product. But then we wanted to take it a step further and think through what are some common traits that give a hairstyle, particularly an ‘80s hairstyle, pizazz.
So we had learners type on the screen traits that give a hairstyle.
Poofy. Height. Big. Neon. Volume. Outrageous.
As we had folks think more deeply about what gave an eighties hairstyle pizzazz, we boiled it down to four main things.
If trainers want to present with pizzazz, they need those four things as well, right?
Which one of those four areas do you want to grow in most as a pizazz-y presenter?
That opener activity allowed me to set up the fact that I was going to wear an eighties hairband wig.
Now, this also subtly served as an object lesson to keep that wig, that big pizzazz eighties hair in front of people as an object lesson throughout the training that not only informed the theme, but it also made that content stickier and more memorable.
In our soft openers we talked about three songs you'd have on an eighties mixtape.
If fanny packs were still hip, type three things you'd always have in yours.
Text chat a name for this hairdo.
So those are examples of fun icebreakers.
Then we got into 25 tips for presenting with pizazz, and as part of the closer, we had people think through those 25 tips and look back at which tips helped them especially stand out, display confidence, spark emotion, or be memorable.
We also used an eighties Buzzfeed quiz as a fun energizer activity in that workshop.
The workshop “The New Face-to-Face Training Experience” was all about what it now looks to train like in a face-to-face environment on the heels of COVID, given how people have different understandings and perceptions of COVID, mindfulness around social distancing, etc.
How do you be respectful and thoughtful about creating a face-to-face environment that accommodates as many people as possible?
In that workshop we showed a video clip of the “A Whole New World” song scene from the movie “Aladdin”.
“A whole new world” describes face-to-face training in a post-COVID environment.
So we took various lyrics from that song and thought about how they informed various aspects of things to be mindful of when it comes to face-to-face training in today's whole new world.
One of the examples of the lyrics was, “I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid”.
That informed our perception that, as trainers, we need to stay focused on the fact that our main job is to be our learners’ guide who can help our participants shine.
One way that we did that was we thought through how can we, as trainers, grant one of three wishes for our learners? Will our training help grant their wish of more physical health, more financial health, or more job satisfaction?
So even framing it in terms of “wishes” was themed… and I dressed as the genie.
Then there were all sorts of other thematic threads woven throughout that training.
In the soft openers, we did a poll about their favorite Disney memories.
Stamp the spot where Lady in the Tramp ate spaghetti.
How long was the genie stuck in the lamp?
As part of the raffle at the end, we gave people a chance to win one of three prizes if they “rubbed the magic lamp”, aka scanned the QR code.
We also did a Disney trivia quiz.
As you think back on those three examples of themed workshops, which of those examples was most impactful or most helpful to you?