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Make a Right Beginning for the Training Program

You are about to start your training program. Like all well meaning trainers, you want your batch to gain maximum output from the training program. Training programs can be completely rehearsed and orchestrated to create the right effects at the right time. But training programs can fall flat if they don't have a great beginning.

In most cases, people undergoing a certain training program don't necessarily belong to the same department. Or sometimes they come from different backgrounds. Hence, it is the job of the trainer to bring all the trainees at the same base and create an environment of positive learning. Given the lack of familiarity within the group, there is bound to be some apprehension. Apprehension makes people withdraw into their shells. If such a thing happens, the training program could become a complete disaster.

The first thing that trainers need to work on is the opening. It is also called the 'icebreaker' session. The icebreaker session is oriented towards increasing the trainees' comfort level with classmates. The atmosphere should be friendly, not aggressive or cold. When you conduct an icebreaker, ensure the following:
  • The icebreaker is not too long or short for the duration of the training program
  • The icebreaker does not embarrass or put off the trainees in any way
  • People should be made to feel comfortable raising issues, or seeking clarification
  • If the training requires team building, people should be allowed to mingle freely
  • The icebreaker should briefly reveal the objective of the training program
In case of management games, icebreakers usually involve physical movement between trainees or teams. Icebreakers are monitored and regulated by the trainer. Trainers should only focus on getting people to feel comfortable in the training session. A few elements of competition could also be included, to build class participation.

Much emphasis needs to be laid on the icebreaker session. A good icebreaker could result in a successful training program. After all, as the famous quote says, 'Well begun is half done'.

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