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HR talk: Keeping participants active during training sessions

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The quality of your training programme depends largely on the ingredients that make up the whole programme.

There are a number of variables that contribute to an effective training programme which include taking into account the views of specialists in the area, representatives of the target group for which training is being developed as well as future participants of the training and training experts (training officer/administrator).

This week we would like to take a look at one ingredient that stimulates participants to be in the mood for actively participating during the training through the use of icebreakers and energisers.

Icebreakers are techniques that are used during training programmes, normally at the beginning, with aim of promoting interaction among participants and trainers.

Usually when participants come together from different backgrounds, there is a tendency to be shy and lack inconfidence, so icebreakers play a role in assisting participants settle down in the shortest possible time.

If successfully applied, icebreakers can make participants more enthusiastic and willing to take part in the training activities. Icebreakers have the power to provide amusement, relieve boredom, reduce tension and stimulate creative thinking.

The trainer then has to be careful to choose those icebreakers that ensure physical movement and/or mental exercise.

On the other hand, energisers are techniques that ensure physical and mental stimulation to participants before resuming a training session or after a long session.

The aim here is to refresh participants so that they can take part in the next session. This use of energisers is therefore ideal in reducing boredom and monotony that go with long training sessions.

Through the use of energisers, a trainer can succeed in developing a sense of team spirit among the participants that can facilitate a congenial atmosphere for learning.

But then where and when can a trainer use icebreakers and energisers?

In most cases we find participants who are not known to each other attending the same course.

These have different backgrounds in terms of economic and social status. It may be the first time some of them are attending a course and they are unaware about the procedures of training.

Differences of this nature sometimes create obstacles at the beginning of the training programme that can affect the way they interact during training.

This is where icebreakers come in handy to tray and “break the ice” and allow participants to be in the training mode.

The icebreakers could thus be used at the beginning of the training programme, especially when participants introduce themselves.

On the other hand participants need time to relax in order for them to acquire more energy for further involvement in training activities. There might also be need for a change of pace during training sessions.

In order to achieve that, the trainer can effectively use energisers. Most trainers prefer physical energisers in order to effectively refresh participants during long training sessions.

If trainers used icebreakers and energisers effectively, they would no doubt be in a good position to bring the participants together leading to an effective training programme.

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