Group training programs can sometimes be exhausting. I’ve been in training for 20 years and I still get a little nervous during large group interactions with people I don’t know very well, role plays in front of the group, and when the pace and energy set by the facilitator doesn’t give me adequate time to reflect. At times I find myself evaluating a training program poorly because it skimmed too much and didn’t provide the deeper dive of thoughts that I enjoy. I don’t enjoy being put on the spot for instant feedback without adequate warning or preparation for it. On breaks, I seek a bit of quiet and I might even eat my lunch alone, while other people are just ramping up their interactions. This is how I know I’m an introvert! Can you identify with this?
Whether you are a trainee, a trainer, or just help with planning and rolling out your organization’s training programs, I’d like to recommend a short blog with some great practical tips from the Association for Talent Development blog, called “Are Your Training Programs Introvert-Friendly?” by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler.
Jennifer’s ideas will not only help you balance your approach, but also make the training more effective for everyone in the room. Her ideas about flipping the classroom (using meaningful pre-learning) make training more than an event; they make it a process, and not only for introverts. No matter your personality type, I recommend learning all that you can about an upcoming training before you show up. You could ask to see the presentation materials, participant guide, and talk to your manager about the learning objectives and outcomes expected from the training. If the training is based on a book, read it beforehand.
And her strategies for creating more human connection in every session is sure to please all the extroverts among us, too. As a participant, when I walk in a training room, I purposefully identify at least 2 people and make sure to introduce myself. You need to use a bit of effort to start some relationships and create human connection. Instructors need a good mix of ice breakers that are not overly intrusive but allow for self-disclosure and create a sense of joint purpose in the room
At Invista Performance Solutions, it is critical that we design trainings using a variety of methods to reach everyone in your training room. Our goal with your team is to design curriculum with diverse activities that can appeal to both the extroverts and introverts among you while not losing sight of the goal—developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities that address your organizational performance needs. One size does not fit all when it comes to learning styles or personality types.