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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Handling Difficult Trainees: The bored trainee (Part 2)

What makes a trainee bored ? Let’s explore some more reasons and how to manage these.

Lack of interest in the subject matter – It is common knowledge that adult learners need a reason to learn. If the trainees realize that the content has no relevance to their work or growth, it is completely normal for them to feel bored.

Managing this: 
1.       The best way to avoid this situation is to do the due diligence ahead of the training. Is the training really relevant to the trainee’s work. Many times, people end up in training courses just because someone (their manager or HR or the training department) told them to. Often nobody has the time or inclination to really go through the course content and check if it really meets the business requirements.
2.       Assuming that the class has already started, and it is too late for step 1 above, the next best thing is for the trainer to really determine what the trainee’s needs are. In some cases, the trainee may not even know exactly what they want. Thus the onus now rests with the trainer on how to make the class as relevant as possible to the trainees.
3.       Sometimes, it may be just one or a few trainees who are not motivated or interested. In such cases, the trainer can work with them separately.

Lack of instructor’s credibility – Sometimes, the trainees may not be really impressed with the instructor’s credentials. They may genuinely  feel that the trainer is not sufficiently competent to train them.  This could be also due to a I-know-it-all attitude on the part of the trainee(s).

Managing this:
1.       In any training class, it is necessary for the trainer to give a self-introduction and establish credentials at the outset. This will command attention and respect. The trainer needs to establish how he/she can create true value for the trainees if they pay attention.
2.       If a trainee or group of trainees do not feel very impressed by the content, they may need to be presented with more challenging examples/problems. 

        If the instructor truly lacks the credentials to teach the class, it is indicative of a deeper problem. Some serious introspection is needed. Should the trainer be really teaching that class ?

Instructor’s presentation style: It may be that the trainer’s presentation style is not very effective. Some instructors unfortunately have a soporific voice that tends to put trainees to sleep.

Managing this:
Instructors can consciously work on their voice modulation and delivery. Alternately, an instructor with a dull voice can try to avoid speaking  for too long at a stretch (mix up speech with activity/demonstration etc.)

Other suggestions:

As a trainer you may have to deviate from your prepared outline and improvise in order to keep the energy levels in the class high. 

- Something to suddenly disrupt the boredom– like a joke/surprise/puzzle – can help inject positive energy into the training room.

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