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Think of the last time you went to your favorite store to purchase something. Maybe that’s your local grocery because you love grocery shopping or perhaps it was a place like a retail store where you were able to purchase a pair of shoes that are going to coordinate perfectly with your outfit.
As you think about being that customer in the store, think about how you were treated. Probably very well. This is because you’re likely to go back to a store that values your business.
Becky Pike Pluth says you can apply this same principle to your class by valuing your learners’ choices. If you do, they’ll be more confident and learn faster!
Let’s take a look at corporate trainers viewing their audience as clients. To start, think about the last time you trained when you had a difficult participant.
Next time you have a difficult learner, think about what you can do to help this customer feel more valuable. In order to do so, we need to shift our mindset to think that way.
Allowing the class to have the freedom to choose—do they want to write things down or do they want to talk with a partner, do they want to work on this alone or do they want to work with a large group? Giving them choices makes them feel valuable. Our adult minds love choice. So, why not give them little choices that don’t change the way that we work but instead, it will get them feeling confident and feeling in control of their learning environment.
Another way to shift our mindset is to, treat our audience better than we might treat learners. If we truly believe that we’re dealing with a consumer, we’re going to spend some time to take their needs into play. One way to do this is to be aware of the group.
If the group seems a little stir crazy, give them a one-and-done break. Let them do one thing—reply to a text, go to the bathroom, eat something—and then come back to the session feeling that they had a chance to take a break but also that you recognized their needs.
Some participants are silent, not talking or introverted. When this happens, try creating opportunities for them to speak in a very comfortable format. For example, find one attribute about them that stands out (e.g. short hair), then pick that attribute as the person who is going to lead their team or share their thoughts first. This will seem random to them so they feel less pressure. When you do this, it shows you are paying attention to your class, viewing them as clients and are addressing their needs they didn’t even know they had.
If there are people in your training session that aren’t engaging, it’s your job to be customer-focused and try and do something different.
To learn more about training difficult participants, get The Bob Pike Group’s new book: Training Difficult People. This book includes more than 270 different tactics to help either turn around those reluctant learners—like the latecomers, texters, or know-it-alls—or mitigate the effects of ongoing negative behavior for other participants.