David Massey

September 15, 2018 at 11:34 am

How would you cope with the graveyard shift?

Always a pleasure to collaborate with SFC on training projects, especially when it means you get to check out the LUISS Hub in Milan. But the graveyard shift? really?

As part of SFC’s “Innovation and Strategic Communication” I worked with a group of thirty young entrepreneurs to build techniques for communicating more effectively when speaking publicly: meetings, presentations, training – you name it.

The only “problem” was my slot was scheduled on the second day and meant running what I would term the “graveyard shift” – that period at the end of the week when people can’t wait to get the course over with and head out the door home.

So as a trainer what can you do? Here are three tips if you ever get the graveyard shift:

Keep moving

Get people moving both in and out of the training room. We were lucky in Milan that we had modular tables, breakout rooms and outdoor space. If people are moving then they are active and not so tempted to dive into their smartphones. Try to keep energy levels high. Give clear tasks with short time frames, use teams and competitions to drive creativity and productivity.

Laughing is learning

Make it fun because laughing is learning. If you create a safe and trust-bound learning laboratory where mistakes are “allowed” then participants are more relaxed and willing to explore new territory. They push their individual boundaries and at the same time develop increased team spirit. Video feedback helps the whole group enjoy the performance aspect of communication and reflect on individual areas to improve.

Don’t fill the bucket

Don’t  ‘fill the bucket’. Too much content, often poorly delivered via static slides can be a killer – especially after lunch on a Friday. On this type of course I use zero PowerPoint or Keynote, preferring to use film, media clips and the participants’ own performances to highlight some key tips and techniques they can immediately go home and practice.

It was a pretty tough day for the trainer too: up at 4:30 to fly from Rome to Milan, then coach and the underground to reach the venue by 9:15. Lunch was onsite which also allows for more relaxed interaction between us all. Then following the afternoon session, I chose the train (just 3 hours) back to Rome.

A great day, well worth it. Let’s hope my students’ next presentations really crush it with the new confidence, skills and tips they have now not only seen but tested out on themselves.

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