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Before you go…


Before you rush off at the end of a workshop, spare a thought for the trainer...

Many years ago, just for the fun of it, I decided to do an evening class; as I’d been watching a lot of TV at the time (and was a particular fan of “LA Law”), I decided that I would do a GCSE in Law.  I had a great time, partly because I had a real interest in the subject and partly due to the efforts of the teacher, who was engaging, entertaining and had a real love of the subject.  Thanks to him, I not only passed the subject but got an “A” grade, which no doubt came as a surprise to us both.

One of the things I learned from him is that “circumstances alter cases,” the idea that the context to an event or an action can change the way that event or action is viewed.  What is unacceptable in certain circumstances may be acceptable in others, and vice versa; it’s an idea that extends to pretty much every aspect of life.  On previous workshops, I’ve worked with actors and have used an exercise that they’ve called “heightened text” – asking a delegate to read a piece of Shakespeare’s prose in front of a group, to find that delegate’s “default” behaviours under stressful situations.

These heightened situations can sometimes apply to workshops as a whole, particularly multi-day courses; relationships are formed under unusual circumstances and people can become very close very quickly.  The circumstances within which people are placed changes the way they behave with each other and the relationships they form.

I’m reminded of this at the end of most workshops.  There are the occasional groups of whom I’m glad to see the back – that mostly has more to do with me than with them, I hasten to add.  But for most groups, I’m sad to see them go.  Although we may only been together for seven or eight hours, the heightened circumstances means that – for me, at least – some kind of bond or connection has been built and it comes abruptly to an end when the workshop finishes.  The saddest place for me is a training room at the end of the day: quiet and empty, with all the flipcharts on the walls but with no delegates.

They go back to their lives, I go back to mine and I rarely know whether what I said or did on that workshop made a difference to them or how they go on when they tried to apply what they learned.  So the next time you go on a workshop, slow down before you leave at the end of the day. You may be in a hurry to fill in the feedback form and get out of there as quickly as you can but spare a thought for the trainer; if he or she asks you to keep in touch or let them know how you get on, make a little note in your diary and do so – it’ll make their day.

One Response

  1. Before you rush off…

    Hi Steve

    I hope some training participants do get to read this – my sentiments entirely! Thank you for sharing!



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