by Guila Muir
What’s the best way to assure your training participants groan inwardly and “turn off” the first second you open your mouth? Simply by following conventional wisdom about how to open a training session: introduce yourself and provide your credentials.
Instead, generate curiosity, interest and motivation from the outset. Use a “Hook” before introducing yourself. (Participants will hear your credentials better after you hook them, anyway!)
Three Ideas for Powerful Hooks
Quickie Quiz: Create a 3-5-question quiz and ask participants to take it the minute they sit down. It’s best if the questions are slightly provocative or controversial. Throughout the class, answer and clarify the issues.
Here’s a “real-life” example currently being used in a Risk Management class for supervisors:
1. What percentage of claims and incidents filed against this company were closed last year without payment?
2. If an employee is sued because of an act s/he committed within the scope of their duties, the employee must provide his/her own legal defense. (T/F)
3. If you have an automobile accident while driving on company time, you are covered. (T/F)
Questions: Carefully constructed questions are often the easiest and most powerful “Hooks.” Questions can begin with the words “How many here have…?” or “Did you know that…?” Your question should demand a physical response from the participants, such as nodding, raising hands, even standing up.
Visualization: This technique gives even “dry” subjects the emotional content you need to hook the learners’ interest.
Here’s a real-life example of a visualization “Hook” from a supervisory class on wage and hour laws: “Close your eyes and imagine that you are a 10 year old child in the 1930’s working in a factory 12 hours a day, 60 hours a week for 10 cents an hour. You’ve never seen the inside of a school…your feet are cold and you get just one meal break a day. How do you feel?”Ask the participants to open their eyes. Debrief thoughts and feelings; connect to the course topic and state the learning outcomes.
Remember: To increase interest and motivation from the get-go, hook your participants immediately!