Getting participants to return on time from breaks is a challenge for nearly every trainer. You can apply a three-step process to encourage training participants to return on time from breaks. This requires trainers to set an unusual return time, provide a preview of upcoming content, and to restart the workshop on-time. Observe an example from a live training program.
- If you facilitate a work shop that lasts longer than two hours, it's a good idea to give participants a short break. Of course, the challenge is getting participants to come back on time. Years ago, I learned an incredibly effective technique from training legend Bob Pike. I've put my own twist on it and would like to pass it along to you. There are three steps involved. Step one is to announce an unusual end time. So instead of telling participants to be back at 10:00, tell participants the break will end at 10:03.
Here's why this works. People typically come back late from a break because they lose track of time. Picking an unusual return time like 10:03 makes that time more likely to stick in people's minds. What you do is you decide how long a break you want to give and then just add that to the current time. So if I want to give participants a 15 minute break and it's 9:48 A.M., I'll add 15 minutes and announce the return time is 10:03. Another technique is to tease upcoming content.
Right before participants go on break, I make sure I tell them something interesting that we'll cover when we return. Hopefully they'll be excited to learn that content and will make a point to be back on time. The third step is to return from break on time. Now this sets the tone and it's important to return at the scheduled time and if you don't do this, participants will quickly learn that it's okay to take a few extra minutes at break time. Now, lets look in on the live class to see an example of me setting up a break.
So, we've covered a lot in a short amount of time. Now in a few moments we're going to get a chance to create live training programs right here in the workshop. It's going to be kind of fun. So before we do that, I think it's a good time to take a break. Is that alright? Is everybody good with that? You're like finally! Okay, so we had to synchronize. I don't see a clock on the wall. It is, on my clock, okay, big hand, little hand. On my watch it's 10:34. I'd like us to come back at 10:49, so 15 minutes from now, at 10:49 we're going to come back and when we do, I'm going to share with you a very simple demonstration of why information needs to be used right away or we lose it.
So we'll see you at 10:49, enjoy your breaks. Alright welcome back from break everybody. I appreciate you being on time. Did you spot the techniques? I announced a strange end time. I teased the content I was going to share right after the break, and I returned from break on time. Now you might be wondering, how much break time should you give? On one hand, you want to give people enough time to use the facilities, refill a beverage, and relax just a little.
On the other hand, you don't want to give people so much time that they get absorbed in a work issue and come back late. I found that 10 to 15 minutes is about right for a break and around a hour is a good lunch break for all day training classes.
- Identifying employee training needs
- Creating an individual development plan
- Developing learning objectives
- Preparing employees for training
- Evaluating a training program
- Presenting with confidence and clarity
- Facilitating discussions and learning
- Managing breaks effectively
- Delivering training via webinar