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Is Your Audience Out of Control? Two Tips to Fix It Forever

Sep 27, 2013

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA International speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in career development, business planning, brokerage management, leadership, and instructor development. What sets Read more

Is your audience out of control? Do you wish you could control it? Sounds like of harsh, doesn’t it? Attempting to ‘control’ an audience…yet, if you’ve ever done much training, you’ve probably been in one of these situations:

  • Someone in the back of the room is carrying on a conversation (entertaining to those around them) with a ‘buddy’ back there
  • A discussion drags on—and on---and on—and you can’t seem to facilitate your way out of it
  • ‘Miss Piggy’ dominates a discussion—and everyone else gets angry; you don’t know how to stop acknowledging her
  • You attempt to get people into groups and some people just won’t go
  • There’s one person in your audience who takes issue about everything you say—and lets you know it
  • People get bored and start talking—or walk out!!!!!!!

For about 20 years, I’ve taught Instructor Development Workshop to accredit real estate instructors in Washington state to teach clock-hour approved courses. One of the most common questions is, “How do I keep them interested and handle tough situations?”

Two Principles to Solve Your ‘Control’ Issues

Most of the problems we get ourselves into as trainers/facilitators/presenters happen when we’re talking—or we’re attempting to teach through general discussion. If you’re one who relies only on the ‘delivery methods’ (how we teach) of lecture or discussion, you’re letting yourself get put into a box. Instead,

  1. Divide and conquer

Utilize those other delivery methods—like case study, task force, and role play. Why? Because they put people into small groups and have THEM talking. And, you know how real estate professionals like to talk. That lets off some steam and helps them put forth their point of view.

What are you doing while they’re talking? You’re walking around, getting close, and listening. Try it. Just getting close straightens people up! (Think about how you handle the kids…)

You may have experienced a role play from hell, or a stupid task force. They happen. Why? Because the facilitator wasn’t skilled in organizing these groups. There are several skills involved in facilitating these delivery methods to work right. If you need information on how to teach using these ‘alternative delivery methods’, take a look at The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide.

2.  'Up' the Accountability

When you ‘divide and conquer’, you put more of the accountability for learning into the ‘student’s’ hands. After all, they are accountable for their learning, aren’t they? Why should you carry the whole load?   People learn from each other. They learn by doing. They learn by listening (and not just from you.) Take advantage of the truisms of adult learning and flex your delivery style. Give your learners some respect and accountability to facilitate their own, and others’ learning.

Practice makes Perfect

Watch creative instructors keep the audience involved and learning. Take it one step at a time. Add a new strategy each time you each and evaluate it and you. You're on your way to creating much more engaging experiences!

Some teaching ideas for you: For my list of 42 Innovative Presentation Methods that Increase Your Effectiveness,

click here.