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Training Transformations

Training Tips: Fishing for Attention with Magic Icebreakers

Ryan E. Day's picture
Submitted by: Ryan E. Day

UnrulyClassYou probably wouldn’t think that teaching Sunday school and conducting a safety training meeting have a lot in common. But, I have both sat through Sunday school classes and taught them. I have also sat through safety training on the shop floor and conducted such training as a crew lead. In terms of attention span, sometimes the gap between Sunday-schooler and blue-collar is not so big. I discovered the value of an effective ice-breaker early on.

Some leaders think of antsy workers as suffering from attention deficit. I would rather see them as possessing minds that are ready to put bodies into action that translates to products and services. You can’t afford to waste their time with boring, same old same old training sessions. Just like an angler, you must find the right bait to lure them in.

They say all talk and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Same goes with training meetings—all talk and no icebreaker makes a dull meeting and minds wander. Sure, you get to check the box “Monthly Safety Meeting: ✔,“ but if no one is paying attention, you’ve lost an opportunity to help protect your most valuable business assets—your employees.

When I taught Sunday school, I used topic-centric games, both mental and physical, to keep the kids’ attention. The same tactic works with adults. Engagement isn’t just a buzzword. Topic-centric video is also a hugely effective tool to break up the landscape of any meeting.

360 Performance Circle hit the nail on the head when it came up with its ”Magic” video series to augment verbal presentations. The series covers a variety of meeting topics such as teamwork, risk management, customer service, and safety. Each topic is also available in different themes, appropriate for a variety of business settings:
1. Jeans, boots, and work shirts (representing the shop floor, factory, manufacturing, construction, warehouse, etc.)
2. Scrubs (representing healthcare)
3. Lab coats (representing medical, electronics, food processing, lab, etc.)
4. Dress pants, open collar shirt, and sport coat (business casual attire)

So if you are in charge of the next meeting, consider video augmentation for success—and candy. Candy is always good.