Make Your Training and Meetings More Exciting

How could workshop participants NOT come back to finish all my sessions? My ego couldn’t handle it.

Disappointed in my retention rate (I had lost 6 people from a class), I had to try something new.

My original format was 50% participant activities and 50% leader activities (translation: me talking half the time). This plan failed, proven by the shrinkage data.

The new plan: after giving participants detailed materials (slides, articles, video clips, checklists, websites, posters and books), I asked each to select one topic which they would prepare and present to the group.

One by one, they took charge. I commented only as needed. Their presentations were distributed evenly over the next seven hours of classes, so they couldn’t afford to drop out and let their classmates down.

I lost only one participant from start to finish. And they all came in fired up and more engaged, with their senses on “alert.” They teased the presenter of the hour and pretended to be “difficult participants” just to give each other a hard time. The ratio of participants’ “doing” time was now 80% to the instructor’s 20%.

Two factors created this improvement in retention and engagement:

1.  Accountability. No one wanted to fail in front of his peers. Some felt pressure initially, but once they got started presenting, all the attention was positive and fun.

2.  Engagement. Intellectually stimulated by working on their plans, no one was ever bored or passive.

They created their own entertainment, which kept them coming back. (So let that be a lesson to you, Janis. Stop talking so much.)

P.S. This works for meetings, too. Never do for your attendees anything they can do themselves.