No Image Available

Dominic Valentine

Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

Read more from Dominic Valentine

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

What’s the funniest thing said or done by a participant on one of your training courses?


What is the funniest thing a training participant has said to you during, or after a training event?

William, our lead employment/equality law trainer, isgoing to compile a word document with everything that is sent to me during the first three months of this posting. Then I will offer it up free to you all.Let me start with his three top hits! Burned on his mind for ever he says!
Here's his account:-

1. After delivering team building training in Blackpool, a woman who said she had enjoyed the course asked me "WHY DID YOU INSIST ON KEEP PUTTING US IN GROUPS?"

2. Winchester Guild Hall - open to the public-14 delegates assembled for my equality law course. Going around the room,I asked each person to tell the group about their job,what they wanted from the course and any hobbies. I arrived at participant 12, a stout woman with shopping bags on her knee,at the side and on the table. I recited the questions asked 11 times previously.A look of injured surprise. "Well love", she said (getting up), I think I'll leave it" AND left!

3. Liverpool - young people on an employment course(rights and responsibilities). I asked them to draw up our contract for the day, ground rules and protocols etc. Well, we had punctuality/confidentiality/respect/every question valid etc. Suddenly one of the lads (very,very loudly) said he had a rule he wanted observing. Go ahead, I said. " I am not being not being funny,he opened(always a bad opener), but lets have a rule on no " effing swearing". I hate "effing swearing" on these courses.I don't like "effing swearing" anyway, he insisted, and then with EMPHASIS " with "effing women" on the course. He moved on apace in the course without "effing swearing" except when he perceived that somebody had just broken one of the other "effing ground rules" which he was anxious to police. I was exhausted at the effing end lol.

13 Responses

  1. Not on a training course, but

    Not on a training course, but I heard of a time when a lady had given a presentation to a community group (maybe WI) on her trip up the Amazon or some such exotic adventure.  At the end of course she asked if there were any questions.  No one spoke.  She asked again, saying "please ask me anything, I am sure there must be something you want to know".  Eventually one woman put up her hand – "Can you tell me where you get your hair done because I really like it?"  Priceless!


  2. off topic…..

    In December 1992 I was delivering a lecture to a group of 73 engineers in Liverpool who were losing their jobs.  We were using a proper lecture theatre with banked seats. About 10 minutes in, two chaps at the back started a whispered discussion that was clearly beginning to attract the attention of other delegates.

    I asked if the topic was one that they would like to share with the rest of their colleagues; Chap 1 said no, but Chap 2, said:

    "I don't see why not; Steve here has just informed me that for the past three years, whilst I've been on permanent night shift and he's been on permanent day shift, he and my wife have been at it like rabbits and now they are planning on setting up home together"

    Chap 1 looked embarrassed and very worried.

    I was wondering how I was going to prevent a very public murder.

    Chap 2 reached down and grabbed hold of the man who had publicly cuckolded him and shook him warmly by the hand,

    "I hope you'll be very happy together, good luck, mate" he said

    Then turning to me, apologised for the interruption, and asked me to carry on.

    He sat down

    I carried on

    It wasn't a set up….it was genuine! 


    Rus Slater

  3. Oops!

    I was running a workshop in London for Korean Engineers. After it started I noticed 2 people sitting in reception and introduced myself as I thought they had arrived late.

    Leading them into the workshop I made appologies for them being late and left them all to it for the rest of the day.

    The 2 latecomers were actually Japanese and nothing to do with the workshop but sat there all day being polite.


  4. So Gangster

    I ran a course on financial regulation a few years back for a big estate agency group.

    One of the delegates was a big guy who clearly fancied himself as a bit of a cockney gangster. He would always be flirting with the women on the course, telling them the many stories of his sales conquests and how he "striped up" some of his customers who were clearly just "mugs".

    Outside of the training room he was always attached to his mobile phone swearing like a trooper, issuing threats to whoever happened to be on the other end. These calls usually appeared to be about dodgy deals, where he was definitely "The Daddy". Some of the women always watched on, apparently impressed by this hard man, Ray Winston-a-like, solid gold Geezer.

    One day he was shouting orders down his mobile phone to some unknown "muppet", telling him exactly what he was going to do to him if he didn't "sort his f**king life out". He was surrounded by his gaggle of women and the rest of the group.

    Then the phone he was talking into, started to ring.


  5. Thanks!

    1. For four consecutive Wednesdays in a northern city, my colleague was training a group of very,very, very lively people on a range of facilitation skills.The final Wednesday was to be the huge "going live" session from 0900 to 1700 when each person would present a 20 minute cameo of a facilitated session based on community develpment scenarios.Scenarios involving angry residents,concerned officials and technocrats . Juicy,loud and disapproval expressed in less than measured terms

      These cameos would receive feedback from the others and a mark from us for the obligatory portfolio which resulted in certification.No flexibility on deadlines.The venue was a church-cleverly the church officers had created a really nice training room with huge windows overlooking the church which is still in use.Wednesdays generally were quiet so we always looked over a tranquil scene. HOWEVER,on that last very important Wednesday, a worried vicar approached our trainer.She had double booked! Not for another course but a lunchtime funeral!

       Trainer told her not to worry and asked for the timings so he could safely(flexibly) re arrange our Oscar winning performances with an early or late lunch. The funeral was for 1230. But  trainer received a knock at 1220 saying it would be later -although people were coming into the pews. Nothing had happened by 1245 so to keep the course timetable safe,I suggested an immediate lunch.We tip toed back in quietly at 1315-nothing but the mourners still awaiting the coffin.By the way,it was to be an open cask coffin.I quickly got the trainees to cover as bit they could,the huge overlooking window with flipcharts.Inadequate but the best I could do.We simply had to resume proceedings having reached some very juicy loud bits in one of the given scenarios.

      Mourners were looking up at the window and to my colleagues horror some of the trainees were looking back and waving!! He put a stop to that and with one eye on the marking sheet and an active ear continued the proceedings.To  his utter horror most of the wretched flip chart papers -blu tac does not work on hot glass – fell like autumn leaves,rendering the training scene visible.
      Suddenly, a loud voice announced "I am the resurrection and the Lord etc" and the procession moved under the training room,eventually coming into full view! "DON'T LOOK DOWN  our trainer said with gritted teeth.But of course many did and others were still looking up-another wave from one of  ours! Thinking "30 minutes max", my colleague got the group quietly to discuss and bring forward some markings. But it went on and on and on.7 hymns!  He had to resume proceedings taking trainees to the far flung corners of the room-but not far enough. Once in role play the juicy bits got louder. People peering up and down.The funeral finished at 1515 . My colleague was exhausted and dreaded any representations from below.But no,sweetness and light and apologies. A NIGHTMARE.To this day I have a copy of an  evaluation form which read "GREAT COURSE ,pity about the funeral"



    Jennifer,Russ, Steve and Neverchair -thank you. Here's another



  6. Cheese!

    The best one that I have had was from a participant from Leeds. Immediately after lunch break, it was time for the group to present back their findings from a case study. The group nominated "Rod" to speak for them who promptly replied in a broad Yorkshire accent:

    "I can't, I've 'ad cheese!"

    P.S. I'm from Yorkshire too!


  7. Told as true

    I'd like to think this is true…

    As an icebreaker for a mixed group of 20, each learner was asked to share a bit of information which others wouldn't know about them. Last man in the group says "I've slept with every women in this room…except one"  It certainly broke the ice!

  8. I once lost control of a

    I once lost control of a group completely.

    Many moons ago, I used to run courses on growing and using herbs. During one session, the group were sharing their knowledge of medicinal uses of plants. Someone piped up, having seen it in the Press that week, that there was a tree bark that could be used a as a contraceptive. Someone else said "How does that work, then?" 

    A short pause followed, while we all pondered on, well, how did that work?  You will have to guess what was going through their minds, but simultaneously they all begin to giggle and laugh 'til they cried. Me included. I declared a tea break – what else could you do??

    I can report, however, that on the odd rare occasion, I do manage to control my urges to giggle. For example, the time a woman told me she couldn't work because she was on infidelity benefit!

  9. Funny!

    These are funny – here's my contribution.  Actually at an assessment centre for recruitment, rather than training.  Which makes me chuckle about it even more.

    So I was using the well-worn icebreaker ‘one thing that turns you on, one thing that turns you off, and a hidden secret’ – you’ve done that one, right?

    Most of the time you get these perky young grads giving answers like – my ‘turn on’ is being successful, my ‘turn-off’ is negative people – and my hidden secret is that I am a perfectionist (giggle, giggle).  Well after a room full of dull and predictable responses a candidate chipped in with….

    One thing that turns me on – is going to the pub with me mates.

    One thing that turns me off – is finding eyelashes in my pork pies.

    And my hidden secret is that I posted explosives through my physics teacher’s letterbox.

    I hardly heard his hidden secret as I was doubled over laughing about eyelashes in pork pies. 

    Did he get the job?  He sure did.  Fifteen years later and he’s still making me laugh.

  10. Thanks everyone

    And thanks to those who have been sending me the X rated experiences(cannot think of a more polite term lol). I think I will give them their own zone in the A4 document I am putting together lol

  11. Punctuality problems

    I was discussing a business writing skills training workshop with a client and asked if she had identified any particular problems that the group might need to address. 'Well', she answered, 'A lot of them have real problems with punctuality'. I was a bit puzzled and tried to clarify: 'Oh do they often miss deadlines when they are writing reports?' I don't know how I managed to keep my composure when her response came back: 'No, they are not sure how to use commas and apostrophes, that sort of thing.'

  12. Budding Jack Bauer?

    This happened to my brother-in-law during a recruitment process within a government department.

    He was interviewing one eager candidate and came to the section that was all about testing personal values, integrity, that sort of thing. "What's your view on torture?" asked my bro.

    There was a pause. "Well…" the candidate said, "I think I'd need some training."


No Image Available
Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

Read more from Dominic Valentine

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!