I love to share training experiences (good and bad) with people as it gives me a great impression of what goes on in the real world and also gives me some great topics to write blogs on!  Talking to someone about their training experience last week, I was astounded when they told me what the trainer did during one of their sessions.

I’d like to focus on the positives firstly on what the trainer did well; they were asking the audience questions throughout that were good open questions which were a huge positive as they are thought-provoking and promote engagement. As I always say though, the way that you (as a trainer) handle questions, is just as meaningful as the questions themselves as they are part of the continued motivation and engagement; unfortunately, this was the part that wasn’t so positive.  The person told me that they got asked a question from the trainer and when they answered the question correctly (in their own words), the trainer said to them in a stern tone “NO!!”  I asked how that answer made them feel as a delegate and they said, “Shocked at first then disengaged which was made even worse when the answer I had given is what they actually said was the answer, albeit mine was in my own words.” Here then, is an excellent example of how easy it is to lose someone in your session and also the risk of losing others too as they can put themselves into the other person's shoes shocked with the response.  In answers to questions, it’s so important to make sure you always use the 2C’s technique:

Compliment – Thank the person for their answer and add praise if correct making sure this is emphasised to motivate and continue that engagement.

Complement – Give more meaning to the learning point expanding to aid understanding using things like acronyms, stories, experience and further questions such as reasoning.

If the answer isn’t correct then this is an excellent chance for you to re-word or reason to help the person get the answer and further aid understanding for everyone else; use language and phrases such as:

Option 1 - “Thanks (name),  if I was to say/think a little more about….” Then we can use the 2C’s.

Option 2 - “Thank you (name)... “Picture the scene / What’s the problem? / What do we need to be able to solve this? / Key Point”

If we don’t get a correct answer at this point, then it’s always best to ask someone else while checking that the understanding is there of the original person you asked.  Then at this stage if you aren’t getting a correct answer then it’s time to tell the answer and think about your questioning technique; by no means though say “NO”!!

These are some of the great techniques we teach on our PTT Train the Trainer courses and if you’d like to learn how to use them practically then come and join us; we have open courses running around the UK or we can come to you In-house.

Scott Fraser is a Master Trainer at Target Training and delivers our PTT Train the Trainer courses and our Advanced PTT Train the Trainer courses.  You can read more about him here.