When participants feel connected to an instructor, the training is more likely to be highly effective. Strong teacher/learner bonds are based on trust. Lucas outlines eight strategies that trainers can use to build trust. These include (1) starting sessions on time, (2) being consistent with expectations, (3) paying attention to learners’ needs, (4) respecting all attendees, (5) monitoring participants’ behavior, (6) mirroring learners’ behavior, (7) showing credibility, and (8) empathizing with participants.
Since verbal communication is such an essential part of training, the author suggests different ways to improve this aspect of a session. Instructors should provide an overview, verify learner understanding, and tie information to participants’ past experience. Even though things might go wrong, instructors should not blame others or apologize. In terms of delivery, trainers must avoid verbal fillers, think before speaking, speak loud enough to be heard, and enunciate each word clearly. When explaining an activity, clear instructions must be provided.
Nonverbal cues are also powerful. In some instances, they can override the instructor’s spoken word. Lucas identifies ten ways that nonverbal cues can be harnessed in a beneficial way. Trainers should (1) smile, (2) think about the cultural meaning of hand gestures, (3) use movement to manage inattentive participants, (4) use open gestures, (5) avoid pointing, (6) use gestures to indicate size or proportion, (7) use gestures to emphasize a strong point, (8) use gestures to make learners pause, (9) use gestures to indicate number, and (10) monitor learners’ nonverbal cues to gauge attention levels.
Questions are one of the best ways to increase participants’ involvement and to evaluate their understanding of key concepts. Tips for using questions to maximum advantage in the classroom include:
- Planning questions in advance.
- Keeping questions simple.
- Asking one question at a time.
- Using open-ended questions.
- Using learners’ names when asking questions.
- Asking a question, pausing, and then calling on a specific participant.
- Calling on a specific person, pausing, and then asking a question.
- Encouraging questions from participants.
- Practicing active listening.
- Ensuring questions are heard.
- Guarding emotions, if a challenging question is asked.
- Respecting differing points of view.
- Never embarrassing a learner.
- Taking ownership of a question that is confusing to learners.
- Not bluffing when one does not know the answer to a question.
- Showing appreciation for participants who ask questions.
Another way to ensure transfer of learning is to provide participants with feedback. Lucas outlines eleven useful ways to offer feedback. He recommends (1) providing positive praise, (2) giving feedback that is meaningful and immediate, (3) using peer feedback, (4) avoiding activities that rank learners, (5) allowing self feedback, (6) encouraging self-assessment, (7) allowing for self-correction, (8) ensuring that learners master the material, (9) asking participants to keep journals, (10) providing periodic observations, and (11) avoiding the use of red pens for feedback which could have a negative connotation.