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How to Get a Standing Ovation in Training

Posted by Marsha Weisleder on 5/11/15 4:00 AM
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You may not know this about me but I’m obsessed with starting and finishing a class with a bang. Yes, I’ve written about it before but I’m always looking for new ways to wow our learners. Let’s face it, there are people who resent training. I like to get their attention early on. I also want them leaving the session feeling like it was a good use of their time.

Now, why the standing ovation, you ask? I’m sure that’s not why you took the job, but it would be kind of fun to get, don’t you think? Come on, maybe a small part of you would love it if your learners rose to their feet to show their appreciation for a job well done. I mean, you work hard when you deliver a workshop. The day may start early and end late and, of course, you’re always on. Even on breaks, you’re chatting, answering questions, and learning more about your participants. You’ve never really checked out. So, wouldn’t it be nice if they showed a little praise for your efforts?


I like to use my first instructional technique at the beginning of a session. After we review the brainteaser (at Langevin, we love our brainteasers!), I ask the participants to stand and give themselves adequate space around them. Then I set it up as follows:


“OK, let’s make sure we’re awake this morning and let’s get the blood flowing. We’ll be working today and doing some writing so let’s stimulate the nerve endings in your hands. You’ll stand with your arms outstretched, and when I say go, you’ll bring your arms (and hands) together as quickly as you can, 5 times. On your mark, get set, go.”


Once they’re done, I’ll say, “Thanks everyone. I’m not sure how you feel, but I feel great! That’s the first time I’ve ever been greeted with a standing ovation.” It’s definitely good for a laugh and does help to break the ice.


I like to use my second instructional technique at the very end to close the session. Before I get them standing, I usually say the following:


“I’m going to ask you some questions and if the answer is yes, I want you to give me a “Yes, Marsha!” Did you meet nice people this week? (Yes, Marsha!) Did you enjoy yourselves? (Yes, Marsha!) Did you learn something new? (Yes, Marsha!) Lastly, did you work harder than me? (Yes, Marsha!) Well that tells me this was a good use of your time!


I follow it up with this: “I’d like everyone to please stand (pause), close your eyes (pause), open your eyes (pause), raise your right hand (pause), touch your chest (pause), and spin yourselves around.”


I debrief as follows, “Well, look at that. I brought you to your feet, opened your eyes, touched your heart and totally turned you around!” Again, it’s usually greeted with smiles, laughs, and good feelings about the training as participants leave the session.


So, what do you think? Are you ready for your standing “O” and will you try these two instructional techniques?


Dealing with Difficult Participants

Marsha has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. She went on to attend Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced civil litigation for a few years. While working for a company as their in-house legal counsel, Marsha fell into a training position and never looked back! Each day, Marsha brings passion and excitement to her workshops, always encouraging her participants to find their own passion as well. Outside of the classroom, Marsha loves to spend time with her family, travel, and stay active. Of course her main obsession is Elvis! Some people might think she’s a little over-the-top about him, but doesn’t everyone have an Elvis shrine in their home? Maybe not…

Tags: instructional techniques

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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