A survey by GiveMore asked this question –

What frustrates you most about meetings at work?”

Here were the top 10 answers:

  1. Allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comments and thoughts.
  2. Doesn’t start on time, stay on track, or finish on time.
  3. No specific action items or walk-away points.
  4. No clear purpose or objective.
  5. Not inspiring or motivating.
  6. Not organized. No agenda.
  7. Too long.
  8. Repeating information for late arrivals.
  9. Weak presenter (unprepared, monotone, overly redundant)
  10. Boring. Nothing new or interesting.

I couldn’t help but see most of these same answers being given for this question –

“What frustrates you most about training?”

We as training designers and facilitators can take this same feedback about meetings as an opportunity to make training better – more inspiring, more meaningful, and more useful.  (And I’m guessing that anyone who takes our training has just come from or is headed into . . . a meeting.)

Here is a top ten list of quick tips for making sure your training avoids the frustration factor:

    1. In a live training experience, watch out for the disgruntled and the disengaged.  Give them some individual attention during a break to try and bring them around, or at least neutralize them so they don’t get to others.
    2.  Start on time, finish on time.  You’ll gain the respect of your audience with when you show respect for their time and priorities.
    3.  Get specific with all action items and takeaways.  These items should be clear, easy to understand, and repeated often.  No one should walk out fuzzy or unclear about what actions are expected of them or what the takeaways are.  Use those action items and takeaways again to follow up with participants.
    4. Get specific will all objectives.  Like #3, they should be clear, easy to understand, and to the point.  No fluff, nothing nebulous, no pedagogical learning speak, and keep them to a reasonable number.
    5. Would you be inspired and motivated by the training you’re designing or facilitating?  I know, I know.  If we’re being really honest here, there is just some training that’s never going to be highly inspiring or motivating.  Even if the subject at hand is dull and boring – what can you do to make it real and connect with the person on the other end?  Connection creates motivation and inspiration.  To help with this, think story or scenarios – look for those places to make a connection.
    6. Make sure everything is organized and the agenda is clear.  This means doing the little things – communicating ahead of time with participants to get them motivated and providing any logistics.  Is your agenda clear; are all of the materials organized?  Make it easy.  All the details count.
    7.  If there’s one thing I see over and over again, it’s trying to include too much.  Then what happens?  You run late, don’t get to it, or rush through it.  None of which are good options. Scrutinize everything in your design, and then remove at least one thing from it.
    8.  Avoid repeating information for people who are late.  I have a colleague who makes latecomers sing.  I recently witnessed the ABCs and a school fight song.  If nothing else, it does make for a good laugh and just the thought of “training karaoke” might cure tardiness!
    9. Your ability to be a strong and adaptable presenter is a difference maker.  If this is a weak area for you, fix it.  You might take a presentation skills course, or work with a mentor who is strong in this area.  Even seasoned presenters still work on their skills, yours truly included.  Presentation skills are priceless, regardless of how often you find yourself at the front of a live or virtual classroom.
    10. You have the power to kill boring, stale, and uninteresting training.  It’s tempting to do things the same old way, especially when we’re staring at a project list a mile long.  But if we’re going to make a true impact through training, occasional risk is part of the game.  Sometimes we need to get out of our everyday environment – look for ideas and inspiration in topics completely outside of your organization, your topic of expertise, and training design itself.

Now… imagine if instead of having a top ten list of things that frustrate your people about training, they have a top ten list of how training is making them better – more engaged, more productive, and more inspired!


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