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Returning from breaks on time


Any suggestions on getting participants to return from breaks on time? If I give a five minute break, there are those who return in 10 minutes. If its 15 minutes, then they return in 20!

7 Responses

  1. strategies that work for me

    1.  In my admin preamble at the beginning I often tell the delegates that if they are late back from breaks it is a) insulting to their colleagues & b) may result in finishing late at the end of the day.  Alternately get the delegates to set the ground rules; one of which is about timekeeping, post these on the wall and remind them when you break that they agreed/proposed the rules.

    2. At the end of the first break we start spot on time with those who are present.  Late comers are met with a stony silence…they usually feel obliged to fill the silence with an apology…they seldom do it again…few others will start

    3. Make the loudest/most senior/most engaged delegate the "Time Lord"…give them a countdown timer at the end of the break and make sure everyone knows that they will get everyone back in for the proper start time.  Rotate this role throughout the training

    4. Take a hunting horn to the venue with you and blow it (this requires some practice!) at the start time.

    5. Thank them profusely but sincerely for coming back on time…positive reinforcement works


    I hope this helps

  2. Times

    Give unusual times like 17mins 28 mins and 56 mins and I guarantee they will be back on time.

    We become deaf to the "normal" so make your times unusual and they will be heard and respected!

  3. Giving specific and odd times does work!

    I agree with Steve – the unusual time thing really does work.  When adjourning for a coffee break I’ll say "Let’s take a break now – we’ll restart at 11.18". I think it is the precision that makes people stick to the time.


  4. talk about “outside the box”…….

    back at 11.18

    or a break for 12 minutes and 7 seconds

    Gobsmacked……..that is just brilliant!


  5. Easy to implement


    This is what I was talking about in one of my other ramblings…

    If the people in the oak paneled rooms took a few minutes each day to produce something that is easy to use, easy to implement and makes a big difefrence it would be more useful than a 10000 word paper on the internet about the function of the neo cortex!

    Of course the "beyond Bloom" stuff is important but don’t forget the real stuff that could make a diffrence today!


  6. Just start anyway!

     I always tell the group that I will be restarting at such-and-such a time. I’m always ready, give a few seconds grace and then get started. This works because those who are late back miss what’s going on and feel embarrassed about about coming in after the others have started.

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