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I Am Asked To Deliver a One Hour Brain Dump Training Session


It can be exciting to be asked by a manager to deliver a short training session. But what if the subject is broad, and there's not enough time to do the job right? Here are some strategies for turning a potential disaster into a success that won't waste your time and that of your participants. When it comes to training, the road to failure is often paved with the best of intentions. Often, what seemed like a good idea - a quick session on a not-so-quick topic, for instance - turns into a time-waster that saps morale and has none of the intended impact. Consider this scenario: A manager asks you to conduct a short, hour-long session for staff on customer service, team building, managing time, leadership, general management or another similarly broad topic. Perhaps you had a success recently that the requesting manager had heard about. You feel enthused to start and agree on the spot. You collect your thoughts, outline what you want to say, and as the day approaches, get increasingly nervous about everything you need to pack into that hour. When the day arrives, you stand in front of the training room and deliver what amounts to a 60-minute brain dump. In the audience, you notice some yawns and rolling eyes. Others just look confused. As people leave, you overhear talk of all the work that's awaiting them at their desks. Of course, you and the requesting manager only intended to share useful skills, not create ill-will. My advice on how to handle such requests is just to say no. Sometimes, though, refusal is not an option. If that happens to you, try these strategies for mitigating the damage. • Limit the subject matter. Suggest that only one or two areas be covered - and make those as specific as possible. For example, if you're asked to discuss time management, you could propose a session on how to craft a meeting agenda or strategies for dealing with interruptions. If the topic is conflict resolution, you could restrict your discussion to how to diffuse tense situations by taking a deep breath. • Ask the requesting manager what post-training employee behaviors they want to change with the short training session. The answer will give you a good idea of where to focus your efforts. If the list is long, work with the manager to narrow the list down to the one or two most important behaviours. • If the manager still insists on a broad topic, point to research and your own experiences that show how brief training sessions are unlikely to be effective unless participants can practice their new skills. You might win more time to deliver your message - or the manager might reconsider his earlier decision. • Offer to help the manager set up a workplace support system that will reinforce the skills taught in your session once employees return to their jobs. This can be a reusable framework that'll be useful both for your current session and any future program. These tips will help you turn lemons into lemonade when you're asked to train on a big topic with too little time to do the job effectively. Even if you don't win over every manager, you will be pushing in the right direction and will look on top of your profession in the process. The end result will be more effective training, better workplace support for participants and more satisfied employees.

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