Unusual Tips for Training Employees - dummies

Unusual Tips for Training Employees

By Marilee B. Sprenger

Don’t be afraid to venture outside the typical business training session. If you do something new, the training will excite and motivate your employees. Build a “sticky” training session with these unusual ideas that use all of the brain’s different memory systems.

Get them moving

In recent years, staggering numbers of studies have shown that movement helps learning occur. Promoting movement in your trainings takes little time and offers employees’ brains more oxygen and better blood flow throughout the body. And movement also helps wake up sleep-deprived employees! Here are a few ideas for working movement into training sessions:

  • At the beginning of the training, have participants stand and find someone they don’t know well. Give them a few minutes to introduce themselves and find three things they have in common.

  • Ask trainees to walk around the room and make three appointments with three different people at times you set. (For example, have them make a 10 o’clock, 1 o’clock, and 3 o’clock appointment.) When those times arrive, trainees go to their appointments and discuss whatever aspects of the training you suggest.

  • Instruct participants to stand up when they answer yes to a question.

  • When you solicit opinions or agreement, send participants to one side of the room if they agree and the other side if they disagree.

  • Give trainees time to physically demonstrate what they have learned — for example, role playing a sales pitch or repairing a machine.

From movement to exercise

You’d be remiss as a leader if you didn’t understand the value of exercise. Aerobic exercise can cut your risk of Alzheimer’s or stroke by 50 percent. As for training, some studies show that the continual integration of oxygen to the brain aids cognition. Exercise also relieves stress, which can plague some training participants. Here are a few exercise options to help training stick:

  • Rather than sitting in chairs, have trainees who are interested and capable walking on a treadmill during the training.

  • Provide morning and afternoon exercise breaks of at least 20 minutes.

  • Conduct part of the training on a walking track or outside where trainer and trainees can walk one to two miles per hour.

  • Keep the hours of the training within reason so participants have time to exercise as well as get a good night’s sleep.

Get graphic

The brain is drawn to pictures, color, and movement. Using visuals can make a difference in what trainees remember. Three days after the fact, you likely remember only 10 percent of information that you hear, but if you see a picture, the percentage of information that you remember goes up to 65! Try some of the following tips for adding visuals to your training:

  • Take a look at the PowerPoint presentations you currently use and redo them using more still pictures and animations.

  • Look for opportunities to add visuals to your training manual. Think about adding color if your budget allows.

  • Prime trainees’ brains with pictures. Before the training, place pictures that relate to the training in the office or workspace. When they enter the training and see some of the same visuals, they may relax a bit because they feel somewhat familiar with it. This intentional priming may also wake up a few stored memories relating to the product, process, or idea.