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Training: What to Do When It Really Goes Sideways

Sep 30, 2013

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA                           Read more

You're teaching. But, the audience is really getting out of control. How do you fix it on the fly? Here are some proven suggestions.

Limit the general discussion. You’re behind time (you did time your class and put your time frame on your outline, didn’t you?). You see 5 hands raised and you need to move on. Here’s the phrase:

“We have time for 2 more questions.”

Stop the chatty Kathys. There are a few techniques you can use that work.
  1. Walk away from the ‘Kathy’ so she can’t catch your eye and/or wave her hand in your face.
    1. Ask each person to ‘write it down’ first. (stops the hand jerking into the air!)
    2. Ask the person to tell another person, not the whole group.
    3. Ask for feedback this way: “What did you hear {your work partner} say that you really liked?”
  2. Quit teaching only from the front of the room. Be sure you can walk down the aisle, and, if you have a mike, it allows you to do so. Making eye contact and respecting the learners in all parts of the room is graceful and effective. 

Handling Really Tough Situations

Sometimes, once in a great while, someone just has a meltdown. If that happens, take a short break. Take that person out of the class (never, ever address a concern in front of others, or try to  rival stand-up comedian, the sarcastic but always funny Don Rickles—you aren’t and you’ll lose). Use this dialogue:

“I’m feeling badly {be sure and use the word ‘feeling’} about what’s going on in there. What can I do to make this a good learning experience for you?” Or, “We need to move ahead and can’t seem to do so. What can I do for you so we can move ahead together?”

When all else fails, personally and privately invite that person out of the class.

Who’s Important?

The learning of the majority of the class is what’s  important. It’s up to you as training/facilitator/presenter to gain and use the skills that assure a great course experience.

Keep honing those skills, and thank you for dedicating your experience to our industry!

P. S. Some more creative delivery suggestions for you: 42 Innovative Presentation Methods that Increase Your Effectiveness    Click here.