Crucial Skills®

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Trainer Insights

From the Road: "Bueller . . . Bueller . . ."

Steve WillisSteve Willis is a Master Trainer and Vice President of Professional Services at VitalSmarts.

From the Road

This classic scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes to mind each time I prepare to train a new group. For those of you who have seen the movie, you’ll remember this scene. Ferris is absent from class. His teacher monotonously says his name during roll call in hopes that repetition will work its magic and Ferris will somehow show up.

I’ve realized over the years that, like Ferris Bueller’s teacher, our participants are hoping that we show up—and not just physically. It’s one thing to be physically present, but the participants of today expect more. They expect us to be present with them, not just present in the room. Able to read the group’s interest level and respond accordingly. Able to apply the material to their circumstances. Able to inscribe a personalized message on their heart, mind, and soul! Well, or at least a personalized message on the inside cover of their participant guide. I think you know what I mean.

So what’s your trick—what do you do in your preparation or during the session that allows you to be present with your participants? I’m interested in two categories of responses here: 1) what advice do you have for trainers who are fairly new to the VitalSmarts suite of programs and 2) what advice do you have for trainers who are so familiar with the suite they run the risk of phoning in their training?

Join the conversation by sharing your thoughts below.

4 thoughts on “From the Road: "Bueller . . . Bueller . . ."”

  1. David Williams

    Enthusiasm. Without it your dead.
    1st: Before I teach I remind myself of how Crucial Conversations literally changed my life view. I know it works.
    2nd: I remind myself that I am the facilitator not the teacher. Change you r midset from presenting to leading our audience to personal conclusions.
    3rd: I remind myself that complacency leads to mistakes. I’m more suseptable to distraction and forgetfullness. Being lost in the material is bad form.

    What is the story you tell yourself?

  2. Rich Bovo

    I have found it very beneficial at the end of a spaced learning session to ask each member in the class what they are taking away from the session. It has been very insightful for the entire class to hear the comments of what part of the class has been internalized by their peers. By the time we get to the end of the class, some of the comments are similar to others, but this has become a very important part of the session to allow the members to think about what is the lesson content that they are going to work on before the next class.

  3. Lesia Stone

    Definitely enthusiasm AND I make sure to have enough time before class to walk around and personally greet each participant. As I am talking, inevitably someone shares something personal they are struggling with either at home or with a co worker. I always pick a skill they will learn and tell them “you are going to love when we get to CONTRASTING (or whatever is appropriate), because it is really going to help you with that…
    It is contagious as even those who don’t share much, or have a bunch of enthusiasm starting out, absorb that positive intent.

  4. Steve Willis

    I think that it can also be helpful to come back to individuals and the personal insights you gather from them throughout the session. They get the sense that you’re customizing the content to them because you are.

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