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Trainers’ pet hates: What grinds your gears?


Whether it's rude delegates, dodgy technology or poor-quality facilities, Owen Smiff's amusing blog post has got the community talking. So what gets your goat?

1. Flipcharts that don't tear off properly at the perforations

Now please don't tell me I'm the only one who has issues with this, it can't just be my 'tearing' technique can it? When you've poured a lot of love, attention and (ahem) artistic genius into creating beautiful flips, it breaks my heart when they end up all shabby with one ragged edge that looks the aftermath of a shark attack.

I mean, how difficult can it be to design paper that tears properly? It got me thinking about crap design the world over - those awful metal teapots that burn your hand and NEVER pour properly; toilet roll dispensers that don't dispense more than half a square of paper before it tears off; showers that are freezing cold or scaldingly hot unless you get the mixer tap within the 1 micromilimetre zone that is 'just right' (until someone else turns on the kitchen tap downstairs...). The list goes on.

Also, so-called flip-chart markers that don't write for long enough until they dry out, meaning you have to end up using permanent markers and have blue fingertips for a week. Owensmiff

2. Logistical issues

"When I am facilitating an in-company programme and the client is using a hotel group as a training venue I always seem to be allocated a bedroom that is miles away from the training venue. This may be OK as a delegate but as a trainer this is so inconvenient when lugging around manuals, handouts, marker pens, blue tack, laptops and all the paraphenalia we trainers carry to make sure the day goes smoothly.

"The last two events were in Marriotts and I was exhausted before the event started simply because of all the logistics of getting from car to bedroom to training room. Thank goodness I have a wheeled trolley to help. When I asked if I could be moved nearer the allocated training room the reply was "sorry all rooms near there are occupied". One of the hotels in question had conf facilities on the second floor and no lift! On a positive note it did mean the gym facilities were redundant even though I must say they looked inviting." Peterramsden

3. Unreliable clients

"People crying off at the last moment for no apparent reason despite having been given weeks of notice beforehand." Abottom

4. Poor technology and lighting issues

"Training rooms with no windows/natural light I once trained in a Casino in South Africa in a room with no windows ... I was booked to deliver a variety of training courses in this venue for over 4 weeks.  I emerged at the end feeling like a mole! Another pet hate is having technical equipment set up in a venue by someone who never uses Powerpoint, flip charts etc so that everything is in the wrong place and a great favourite .... flipchart pens put next to the white board! Just as well we all love doing what we do!" Timripper

5. Poorly designed training rooms, moaners and false advertising

"My pet hates are: Training rooms designed without consulting trainers - inevitably screens and useable wall space are in the wrong places and there is insuffiecient room to set the room out as I like it.

"People who moan about the lunches provided for them - usually about the "lack of variety" when I know most of them have pretty well the same sandwich each day when they have to rpovide it for themselves." Gillicaldi

6. Pens, texters and other stories

"Why is it that hotels that promise 'a bowl of fresh fruit' in the room or at breaks NEVER provide this?? Grotty pens that don't work, delegates that mumble to their mates throughout - or play with their Blackberry under the desk thinking you won't notice, aircon units that make a sufficient level of "white noise" so that your voice strains to be overheard over it (and it never cools the room sufficiently anyway) ... sigh ... that feels much better now, so back to work! (P.S but all of this is overshadowed by the buzz of delegates and the adrenalin (and ego) high when everyone is engaged and leaves fired up to implement what they have learnt - yes, I do love this job!)" PippaSmart

7. Too hot/too cold

"One of my favourites is the "It's too hot/ cold" from participants. Yes, it is really difficult (no, imossible!) to get a room temperature to the right level for everyone, but so often the "too cold" complaint seems to come from someone who is wearing thin clothing and doesn't seem to understand the basic link of more/ warmer clothes = greater warmth! Having said that, I generally have my participants/ learners moving round a lot so cold isn't an issue.....

"However, one that really bugs me is that of trainers labelling post lunch as "the graveyard slot" and complaining that people seem to snooze off. It sounds to me as though their view of training is simply to present material, taking no responsibility for helping people manage their states by selecting the right methods, getting them moving, modelling behaviour and changing things around if needs be. Surely this is a critical part of what we contract to provide with learners? Use of phrases like "Well, it's the graveyard/ after lunch slot now so I'm going to.........." provide a superb hypnotic suggestion for the training group and yet I've heard variations of this so many times."

8. Blu-tack extravagence

"My pet hate is really minor compared to some and does not have the rationality of most of you. IT DRIVES ME NUTS WHEN LEARNERS USE TOO MUCH BLU TAC!! That's better, glad to get it off my chest. AllyMCc

9. Nodding dog

"One of my Pet Peeves is when you asking your testing question or checking for understanding EG: Does everyone understand that?. They all nod their heads (Akin to those "nodding" dog dolls on the back shelf or a car. Five mins later you ask another question and no-one has a clue!. grrr Ban the "nodding" dog." Havoc55

10. All of the above

"I didn't realise I had any pet hates till I read this and all the comments.  I, too, cannot tear flipcharts and I cannot write straight on them. I cannot write without covering my hands and consequently my face with flipchart pen inks.  I cannot bear powerpoint or relying on laptops. I worry about all the trees that were cut down for all my handouts which usually get left behind. I love preparing the training room and making it welcoming but so hate clearing up after a session. My goodness I think am a grumpy old trainer!" Charleybird

Thanks to Owen for such a great blog post - now it's over to you - have any of your pet peeves been missed off the list? Please feel free to add them here.

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