Workshops: which type of delegate are you?

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Workshops: which type of delegate are you?

July 18, 2019
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For any of you reading this who deliver training workshops, have you noticed that most groups of people can usually be broken down into type.  I hope you enjoy my (very) tongue in cheek romp through a few of the common traits I’ve come across over the years. 

The Monopoliser

Generally, Mr (or Mrs) Monopoliser is quiet and attentive, taking everything in, making notes.  When the trainer asks if there are any questions, our Monopoliser remains silent.  As soon as you announce a comfort break (this usually indicates that the trainer is gagging for a coffee and a wee) The Monopoliser is there – with eleventy hundred questions they’ve made a note of over the last two hours.  A true Monopoliser will also hang on to the bitter end, with another batch of questions.  I have been walked to my car AFTER a workshop by a Monopoliser. 

Please people – trainers need a comfort break too! 

The Know-All

Know-alls usually state in their introduction that they’re on the workshop because they’ve been sent there by their boss and can’t really see why it’s necessary to waste a day when they could be at work, doing something far more valuable.  Know-alls tend to pull the trainer up at every possible opportunity.  They will openly question the trainer and may even take to the encyclopaedic knowledge of Google to prove the trainer wrong.   Know-alls are also renowned for over-sharing their own experiences, whether the group want to hear them or not!

To all the know-alls out there – just let us trainers know if you’d like to swap places.  It would be lovely to have a sit down and let you do all the work!

The Comedian

There’s always one:  whether it’s down the pub, in the office (remember David Brent?!) or, unfortunately for you, on one of your workshops.    Sadly, our born entertainer is no Rhod Gilbert and your workshop is not an open-mic night down the local.  Sometimes it’s good to just let the Comedian get on with it and watch the tumbleweed as it metaphorically rolls across the training room.  His fellow delegates will soon let him (or her!) know that their humour is, at best, grating. 

Note to Comedians:  there’s a time and a place for everything.  Maybe your energy levels are better suited to Britain’s Got Talent? 

The Intimidator

For many people, workshops can be a stressful situation – asking questions on a subject when you’ve convinced yourself that you’re the only one in the room who doesn’t “get it” can really take guts.  Enter our Intimidator – the one whose eyes roll up to the heavens, the shoulders shrug and there may even be an audible outpouring of tutting.   Or worse – laughter. 

A workshop should be a safe environment where attendees can ask questions without fear of being singled out as a bit of a womble.  Not everyone gets everything first time round:  we all have different styles and speeds of learning.   The beauty of workshops is that the delegates can help each other, so come on Intimidators – put your knowledge to good use and help others rather than criticize. 

The Back-Tracker

OK, so as a trainer we invite questions, and allow time for our delegates to “get it” but most workshops need to keep to a rigid timetable, within reason.  Back-trackers are the ones who, after the lunch recess, ask you a question related to what you covered several hours ago in the first session, long after everyone’s thought processes have moved on from that particular element. 

Be honest with the trainer: if you don’t get something, speak up at the time so that the issue can be explained to you before moving on.   Not understanding a certain item on the agenda could hinder your progress through the remainder of the day – and you won’t benefit from the training.

The High-Expectation Delegate

On a personal note, I endeavour to fit as much into a workshop as time allows – always mindful of what pace my learners may be able to learn at, and not overloading them with too much information in one session. 

My subject (social media) is vast:  I could quite easily write and deliver at least a dozen workshops on the different platforms, time management, content, etiquette, personal vs business use, and then there’s the different levels of Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced.  Trust me, it’s a bloody big umbrella to fit everything and everyone’s needs under in 3 hours!

The only tip I can offer our High-Expectation Delegates is to read the workshop description BEFORE you book.  If you have any queries about the course content, or duration, contact the trainer and ask beforehand.  That way, your expectations will be met and you won’t feel cheated out of a day in a workshop which holds little value to you.

But enough of that …….  What makes for the PERFECT delegate? 

They turn up on time:  ten minutes before the start of the workshop, with a laptop (not a mobile phone or tablet for training purposes).  They set themselves up, log in to the WiFi of the venue, open up their social media channels and they’re sociable to other delegates as they arrive (there’s nothing worse than a room full of people who don’t communicate). 

Once the workshop is underway, the perfect delegate will ask relevant questions at the relevant times.  If they are up to speed with the subject matter, they will help their fellow delegates who may be struggling. 

They will have their mobile phones on silent, and only check them at break times so as not to distract others on the course. 

Having said all of the above, some of the best workshops I’ve delivered have had their fair share of all of those characters, and more!  The key thing is to never stop learning and make the most of everything the trainer shares with you. 

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