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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

Learning and Development Consultant

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Time Management


It's 12-20 and you are running a 1 day training session...

Lunch is at 12-30 and you have about 20 minutes worth of "stuff" you still want to do before lunch...

A new trainer with a new subject is after lunch...What happens next?

PS Not a trick question as I know what I would do...just trying to see what others do?

9 Responses

  1. Running out of time

     In the preparation you made for the training session, you should have made a summary of the salient points you need to relay to your audience, you would move your talk over to that those points.  What you can not cover in a little more depth, you should compensate by offering, Say a 10 minute Q and A session, at the end of the day. Or an opportunity to contact you outside of the training day. To clear up any uncertainties an individual learner might have.

    Most importantly, you should have incorporated a few ‘what if’ scenarios, again in your preparation for your training session, so you can devise a back up-plan to implement, if running out of time does start to materalise.  

  2. Quick march!
    Thanks Lynne…some good points.

    Have you ever been on a course where the Trainer speeds up and does actually fit 20 minutes in to 10?

    Delegates rarely care as much about the material as the Trainer so racing to the finish line is always a bad option.

    I think all Training should be followed up with a post course e mail (at least) so the last 10 minutes could be a lighthearted chat explaing what will be sent by e mail and how nice it would be to share thoughts and ideas after the course. (never under any circumstance mention you have run out of time)

    Finishing at 12-31 is never an option…lunch is very important!

  3. Options

    I think my strategy if I were faced with this dilemma would be influenced by the group I had in front of me and the circumstances. But here are some options I might consider:

    1)      Explain the situation to the group and see if they would be willing to delay lunch or return early so that you could cover the additional material.

    2)      Consider the content that is outstanding and weigh up if this material might be suitably covered by sending out some materials after the programme and perhaps following up with an e mail to see if there are any questions. If so, then précis the content with the ten minutes remaining.

    3)      Look at the remaining 20 minutes of material and prioritise what’s left and cover what is possible in 10 minutes giving people the option to follow up with questions at lunch time, phone calls, or e mails to explore any issues which they feel are still outstanding.

    4)      If people have YouTube access do the missing 10 minutes to camera and then later direct people to the Youtube file.

    5)      Do the ten minute section and then discuss your problems with the follow on tutor and see of you can steal ten minutes of their time. If not, resort to 2, 3 or 4 above.


  4. That raises another question…
    ” Explain the situation to the group and see if they would be willing to delay lunch or return early so that you could cover the additional

    That raises another question…should the group decide, or the Trainer? Should the last vital minutes be used to discuss what happens next or should the Trainer be in control of the situation?

  5. Horses for Courses?

    In some cases it might require a directive approach by the tutor in other circumstances a collaborative stance might yield better results, for me it’s an option dependant upon other factors.

  6. It depends on the ‘stuff’!

    Even though this shouldn’t have happened to me (I do plan, I swear!) it does, and I tend to make some very fast decision making myself. 

    Questions I ask myself:

    Will the 20 minutes of stuff really add to the course?  Is it something that the delegates know anyway (ask & check!)  Who’s agenda is the stuff for, mine or theirs?  Is the stuff covered in the handout that i can refer them to? Have I covered the course objectives anyway?

    I come to a decision and sometimes check with the group.  This might not be the right answer, but it is actually what I have done to date.  I may change thsi after reading some of the replies here!

    I will then berate myself for a minimum of 5 minutes, and try to work out how I misjudged the timing and how to avoid it the next time.

    Confession completed!




  7. Plan or Prepare
    Hi Nikki

    That brings up another question…

    Should you Plan or Prepare?

    By preparing and not planning you would have already considered the “10 minutes left” scenario and put your “10 minutes left” plan in to place!

  8. Paranoid Now…

    Hi Steve,

     I try to do both.  Can you really cover EVERY eventuality though?

    At the risk of being accused of making a session trainer-centric, I do get a buzz out of bringing an over running session back from over running disaster without the delegates noticing and still fulfilling the objectives.  This doesn’t happen daily by the way, just once in a while.  I also don’t do it on purpose just so I can mentally high five myself!

    If anyone has a spare copy of ‘How to Deal with Every Tricky Training Session and Exactly How to Deal with it’, I would be much obliged if they passed it on…

    Hope you’re all enjoying a lovely day,



  9. Yin Yang

    Hi Niki Yes it is a lovely day so lets enjoy it before Sunday arrives and we face the Germans! A good way to look at time is by using the Yin / Yang symbol. 2 symbols needed… 1) On one half you have "time" and on the other, "content" 2) On one half you have "trainer needs" and on the other "delegate needs" By using this symbol / method you start balancing from the very first minute so the "10 minutes left" will never happen anyway…

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Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

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