Seasoned trainers are well aware of the fact that training involves more than showing up for a specific training event. Teaching any Prepare Training® program segment involves continuously modeling the program’s guiding principles: Respect, Service, and Safety at Work®.
This philosophy is much more than an idealistic phrase or words on an attractive poster. It is important that Certified Instructors internalize the meaning of the words and model the concepts in a very real way when creating training environments that reflect these values:
- Respect involves treating others with courtesy and preserving their dignity.
- Service involves meeting commitments and maintaining professionalism.
- Safety involves preventing and responding to danger, risk, or injury.
Planning includes carefully considering the scheduling needs of each employee. This may involve not only the specific employee, but also the employee's supervisor and/or department manager, and it may also involve considerations regarding the employee’s internal and external customers. There may be special considerations regarding specific times of the week, month, quarter, or year. It is important to weigh several factors:
- Is the training voluntary or mandatory?
- What is the nature and volume of activity in which involved employee groups are currently engaged?
- Will specific employees need their workstations or responsibilities covered during training?
- Are there employees who will need special accommodations during the training?
When planning, you also need to consider available space, equipment, and supplies. It is important to ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have the necessary space for specific Prepare Training® program segments?
- Are tables and chairs available?
- Do you have audiovisual equipment and supplies? These may include newsprint, easels, and markers, as well as possibly a computer and a data projector.
- Have you obtained the appropriate Electronic Presentations for segments that will be taught?
- Do you have the required number of workbooks and posters?
- Are relevant organizational policies and procedures available?
- Do you have water for yourself and your participants?
- Are rest rooms close by?
- Do you know the location of readily accessible emergency exits?
- Can the special needs of specific participants be accommodated?
Communication and Preparation
Once you arrange these basic logistics, it is important to communicate the scheduled Prepare Training® program event to those who need to know. Training really begins with the very first communication, and therefore it's important to carefully select the manner and style of communication. Advance communication about any segment of the Prepare Training® program needs to speak the language of Respect, Service, and Safety at Work®. This includes practical considerations such as clear directions for traveling to the training facility.
Program announcements might be posted in an employee break area; they could be mailed; or invitations could be made via email, phone calls, or any other mode of communication that effectively reflects the culture of your organization as well as the guiding principles of the program. Keep in mind that how we say what we say is vitally important to the message. This advance communication can set a classroom atmosphere for adult learners even before they walk in the door.
When participants arrive, they should be greeted with a training environment that immediately reflects the principles of Respect, Service, and Safety at Work®. This means that, as Certified Instructors, we need to be there well in advance in order to set up equipment, lay out supplies and handouts, confirm that audiovisuals work properly, and generally ensure that a proper training environment has been prepared.
Since some participants will arrive early, it is important that all logistical matters are handled and resolved at least 60 minutes before start time. If possible, Certified Instructors should personally greet each participant individually. We have all experienced training programs in which trainers appeared flustered, out of breath, and generally annoyed that we were there—and that’s not an attitude we should duplicate!
Additionally, we should assess our environments for any compromises in safety. If we preach safety but model unsafe practices, participants may do the same in their immediate work environments. It is therefore important that Certified Instructors practice and model safe procedures in the training environment. This involves teaching Prepare Training® program concepts, techniques, and interventions correctly. In addition, some less obvious safety concerns within the training environment can present serious hazards during training and expose our organizations to liability. Some common errors and omissions to avoid include:
- Failing to secure extension cords with protective matting.
- Blocking emergency exits with tables, chairs, or other equipment.
- Failing to point out emergency exits to participants during introductory comments.
- Neglecting to prepare a participant name list so that we can account for everyone in an emergency.
It is vital that we model the interdependent concepts of respect, service, and safety throughout the training program. This helps maintain the training environment in a manner that always reflects Respect, Service, and Safety at Work®. We do this in many ways, with "walking the talk" being key. It is essential that we:
- Post signs within the training facility that clearly point to the floor, section, or area where the training will take place.
- Speak with others in the building who will not take part in the training, if the training segment will involve noise or obvious physical activity. Briefly explain the nature of the training and the possibility that conflict simulations will take place.
- Point out emergency exits and rest room locations; explain the process for posting messages and returning phone calls; and detail the process for facility evacuation and designate a gathering spot for taking participant roll call in case of emergency.
- Discuss the Due Care guidelines both as safety guidelines and as part of your classroom communication protocol.
- Start and end on time.
- Obtain advance consensus in the rare event that you will start or end late.
- Use respectful, safe, and service-oriented tools in managing the classroom environment. This includes using "parking lots" for certain questions and discussions. It also includes attempting to maintain a comfortable room temperature if this is within our control.
- Model the Prepare Training® philosophy and techniques if dealing with challenging or disruptive behavior within the training environment.
Training environments that model the Prepare Training® program guiding principles of Respect, Service, and Safety at Work® lend to the professionalism and credibility of Certified Instructors and their Authorized Organizations. A lived-by philosophy speaks louder than any program, poster, or presenter.