Saturday, June 21, 2008

Concentrate Your Training Room

Your audience has a ton of noise going on during your training session. The learning and retention of your content hinges on a number of factors, some big - some small. One big factor is your willingness and ability to get everyone physically plugged into the session.

Concentrating the Room is about controlling the learning environment to produce the greatest chance for success and it is so simple to do. Just follow the techniques below. Does it take more time? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Five quick benefits of Concentrating the Room:

1. Removes energy gaps.

2. Removes distractions, especially when you have a round table set-up.

3. Gets the audience physically engaged in the session and thus creates a boost of attention via heightened awareness, blood flow and brain activity.

4. Creates the perfect environment for Passionate Paul and helps Hostage Harriet to get plugged in.

5. Encourages growth in the trainer's confidence because the audience will be more attentive. Guaranteed.

Five ways to concentrate your round table training room:

Table Work: You roaming the room. Audience seated at round tables facing each other.

Unfortunately, most trainers who have a round table set-up just keep the audience members seated like this throughout the entire session. Everyone is facing different directions and many have their back to the trainer. If they are not looking at the trainer, they are facing a table full of distractions. You should keep the audience in Table Work position only when they are doing group work.

High Receive: You in one spot. Chairs and audience members at tables, but facing directly toward you.

We use high receive all the time to make key points, video presentations, slide presentations, and big group discussions. High receive can easily be overused since the audience members remain at their tables. Don't overuse it. The point of any concentration technique is to make a significant directional change in their body language to create a more focused learning environment. If you overuse any one of these techniques, the technique becomes the norm and attention fatigue will set in.

Movie Time: You in one spot. Audience members seated in amphitheater style around you.

If you are planning a longer group discussion, illustrating a point with a story, or teaching from an easel, bring the audience forward and have them sit close to each other and close to you.

Corner Cram: You in the corner. Audience members seated in corner with you.

Same as movie time, only in a corner.

Play Time: You and the audience standing in an open area.

If you are using an activity or exercise to illustrate a point, get the room set up like you need it by concentrating where the audience is standing as you give the directions. Push the tables and chairs out of the way, get all the audience members standing together in one place, get attention and go for it!


Terry Gault said...


Thanks for the informative drawings!

You are right, as the presenter, it is your job to create the best environment for your audience to have a good experience, so taking charge of the space is crucial. If you need to move something, move it. If you need to write something on the flip chart or white board, do so.

If you become too deferential, it can be seen as a lack of confidence , which will undermine your authority and thereby your presentation as a whole!

Darin Behara said...


Excellent Post from an expert that practices what he preaches. August 2007 Rhett facilitated the Oklahoma City Community College Leadership Retreat utilizing every single one of these methods throughout the retreat. Our students were engaged, and the evaluations were through the roof. I encourage presenters to put this into practice, IT WORKS!

George Torok said...

Well stated. And very important to the success of your presetation. A good presentation is much more that the "speech".

George Torok

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