Top 5 tips for Increasing Audience Retention, Participation, and Maximizing Your Training Power

A valuable lesson I learned from teaching this group of 5th graders on how to plan and build a web page is that they already have an opinion on what they think they know, meaning because of YouTube and smart phones, in their eyes there’s nothing new under the sun. Therefore it was up to me to jog their attention and to keep them focused on the lessons I had in store for them. My strategy before jumping on the computers was to create a fictitious business marketing & promotions need and have them participate in a discussion by calling on each smarty pants in the group to contribute their ideas on how to proceed.

Having them reveal what they know early on gave them a sense of false pride about not needing to learn anything else. This allowed me the opportunity to present some facts on the matter by showing that there’s far more to it and this is how professionals in the industry will go about overcoming the challenges of creating something for their clients. By using their favorite websites as an example, I was able to deconstruct what makes them attracted to each website and I could steer them towards learning how we can build our own website (according to my directions of course). In the end they were thrilled to be apart of a sample page which I uploaded to my test server so they could share their work and new skill/experience with their friends and family.

If you are new to public speaking or seeking to polish your delivery as a trainer, our company is built for trainers, by trainers, so we thought we would share some of our tips with you, to help you create an engaging, unforgettable experience for your audience:

  1. BREAK THE ICE. A great intro to engaging your audience is by adding a little humor to your stage presence. Try discovering if they’re paying attention by asking a nonsensical question “A show of hands, how many of you all know about polar bears in the spring?” Follow up with whatever punch line reveals who can’t be bothered,  who missed the question or who’s willing to engage. Some speakers will give away something simple like a T-shirt, yo yo or even $20 bucks as a reward for paying attention.
  2. MAKE IT CUSTOMIZED. By tailoring each course/presentation to the needs of your participants, you will find that your results will increase a thousand-fold.
    – Use examples, case studies, and stories that are relevant to the group.
    – Identify whether your participants are strangers or whether they work together. Tailor your approach appropriately.
    – Different people learn in different ways, so use different types of activities to balance it all out. (For example, some people learn by reading, while others learn by talking about it, while still others need a hands-on approach. For more information, we suggest Experiential Learning by David Kolb.)
  3. MAKE IT FUN AND INTERACTIVE. Most people do not enjoy sitting and listening to someone else talk for hours at a time. Make use of the tips in this list and dovetail with your own experiences to keep your participants engaged. Mix up the activities to include individual work, small group work, large group discussions, and mini-lectures.
  4. MAKE IT RELEVANT. Participants are much more receptive to learning if they understand why they are learning, and how they can apply it in their daily lives. Most importantly, they want to know how it will benefit them and make their lives easier. Take every opportunity to tie what you are teaching back to real life.
  5. KEEP AN OPEN MIND. Many trainers find that they learn something each time they teach a workshop. If you go into a training session with that attitude, you will find that there can be an amazing two-way flow of information between the trainer and trainees. Enjoy it, learn from it, and make the most of it in your workshops.

And now, time for the training! Fear of your failure/success is natural so focus more on making every opportunity wok for you. Keep at it and in time you’ll be advising others on how to Land The Plane of Success


Sahim Zaid is the founder and Lead Instructional Designer for Business Leaders on the Move, a Professional Management & Personal Development Training company, offering Introductory Courses and Continuous Education Seminars/Conferences for the Job Seeker and Independent Entrepreneur.  He can be reached at: (954) 522-2985, info@BusinessLeadersOnTheMove.com