Thursday, July 1, 2004

Tip #30: Take "No" out of your training vocabulary

Always dignify the participant and the answer. Never say, "No."

Instead, say, "Yes, that is correct if the circumstances are x. However, I am asking about these (different) circumstances. In this event, what would the answer be?" In other words, coach the person to discover the correct answer.

We need to remember how vulnerable a participant can feel. As trainers, we want our participants to be willing to try new things, take learning risks, and ask questions. Mistakes and misunderstandings may happen. We have to make sure that our participants feel safe, that they can trust us when we say that there really are no "stupid" questions, and that we sincerely support their success in our classroom.

Tip #31: Handle timely questions

  1. Repeat the question, if other participants may not have heard it. Or request that the individuals speak more loudly and project more, so that others can hear what they are saying.

  2. To ensure that everyone can hear, walk to the opposite side of the room from the participant who is speaking. This will reinforce the participants' need to project.

  3. When possible and time permits, defer the question to the rest of the group, to see if they can answer it instead of you.

  4. Remember to summarize and/or validate the correct answer after receiving the answer from another participant. If you don't, it may give the appearance that you are deferring the question because you don't know the answer- rather than because it is an excellent training technique.

  5. Keep in mind that you do not have to answer a question completely, if at all. Rather than asking, "Have I answered your question?" or "Has your question been answered to your satisfaction?" say instead: "Was that responsive?"

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