Taiwan Experience

I am writing this on my way from Taipei to Hong Kong, after I just completed the SPIN class in Taipei today.

Well, I have not done the ‘Right After Class (RAC)’ sharing for quite some time.   I however want to write this experience since I do like it.  In particular, I like how I maintained the discipline and atmosphere in the class.  For example, on day 2 and 3, all 22 learners arrived before the start time at 0900!!   It is amazing to see that all seats    have been taken when the class starts!!

In short, the key to maintain discipline is that you got to agree a ‘consequence’ (e.g. sing, dance) with them and more importantly execute it, repeat, execute!   If you ‘let go’ one single ‘offender’, it is like telling the rest that it is OK not to follow the ground rules.  On the other hand, learners will follow the ground rules better if you can carry out the consequence to the most senior person (if he / she violates any of the ground rules)   Of course, you do not act like a hardcore policeman.   You got to strike a balance between being strict and approachable.

Another observation is that the Taiwan learners were reasonably engaged in the class.   There were smiles and nodding….  Anyway, I plan to send them a follow up email to solicit their more detailed feedback on the class.   I hope that I can run the Africa class as good as this one.

我刚完成台北的SPIN课程,我写这段文字的时候正在台北到香港的路上。

我已经有好一段时间没有为每一课程写东西了(即‘Right After Class (RAC)’系列),但我真的想写写这次台北的经验。其中我特别想纪录的是我挺成功建立的课堂纪律和良好学习气氛,例如,在课程的第2和第3天所有的学员准时在课程9点钟开始前就到达!能够在课程开始的时候看到所有座位也有人坐真是让我很有成就感!

简单来说,我觉得维持课堂纪律的重点是与学员一起制定如果违反纪律的‘后果’,但更重要的是要认真实行这些‘后果’!如果你让一位‘犯事者’免受处分,这就像告诉其他学员不守纪律也是可以的。相反,如果你可以让比较高级的学员(在他违规后)厉行‘后果’,其他学员也就会乖乖守纪律。当然,在执行‘后果’时,你需要在严厉和平易近人中取得平衡。

另外,从这班学员在课上的微笑和点头等,我能留意到这班学员挺投入上课…. 无论如何,我计划写一个电邮给他们征纳他们比较详细的意见,让我可以提高课堂技巧。

我希望我在非洲的课程也能一样好玩!

RAC – Different experience

  • Course: A presentation class
  • Date: 20 Sep 08
  • Location: Beijing
  • # of Learners: 8
  • I am feeling: Excited though tired

I delivered a presentation class to a local airport design and construction company.  This was my first experience to deliver class outside the financial services industry.   I like such experience as different learners offer me different perspectives.  I had to research for their work challenges and thus the training need.   Being in a different industry and in a local firm, they had very different mindset.  They asked different questions.   All these made me learnt.

For example, I thought one of their challenges to be ‘nervousness’ during presentation.  In fact, their training coordinator told me the same.  However, I realize only during the class that the problem is actually the opposite.  They are too talkative in their actual presentation.   They talk too much that they are off the topic, and limit the participation from their audience!!   I needed to think of different way on spot to make them realize the issue.   It was exciting!!
I love to train different learners, and I wish to do more.

RAC – Make them move

  • Course: A presentation skill class
  • Date: 17-18 Sep 08
  • Location: Beijing
  • # of Learners: 8
  • I am feeling: Good
  • Course: An influencing skill class
  • Date: 19 Sep 08
  • Location: Beijing
  • # of Learners: 20
  • I am feeling: Good

I went to Beijing right after Taiwan.   I did 2 internal classes there.  

There was an occasion which I wanted to run an energizer needing empty space more than I had.  I needed to move all the tables and chairs.   In the past, I would give it up since it would be too much a hassle to do so.  I do not like the chaos when the furniture is re-arranged.  But somehow, this time, I thought it would not hurt to ask the learners to move the furniture.  After all, physical exercise is an energizer!!

It worked.   The learners liked it.

It is always argued that we should involve the learners in the process.   I think this experience is a good example.   On the other hand, this experience made me realized that I was too rigid before.   I was rigid about the timing, the discipline, the room set-up…   sometimes, I shall let it flow.

After all, I remember that a master trainer once said ‘Training is messy.’

RAC – ‘Diversity’

  • Course: Induction Program
  • Date: 1-5 Sep 08
  • Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • # of Learners: over 150
  • I am feeling: Great

I am writing this post in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport….   I just finished an international induction program for the graduate trainees in our bank.   It was a large scale event with over 150 learners.  
 
To me, this is an experience of ‘diversity’.   First, it was a great experience to facilitate sessions for learners coming from some 20 nationalities – Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, UAE, Indonesia, Philippines, India, Kenya, UK….   I had all different attitude, knowledge and viewpoint in the classroom.   It is fun to just observe, but even more fun to facilitate their learning.
 
The second aspect of ‘diversity’ is my 4 co-facilitators.  It was amazing that though we were very different, we worked along very well!!   Whilst some are creative and spontaneous, some are structured and detail-oriented.   Through this program, I do realize more the power of a team with diverse capabilities.   Of course, having appropriate soft skills is essential to ‘bridge’ the difference.   In addition, I learnt a lot from them including new facilitation techniques and thoughts behind designing a session.
 
OK, time to catch my flight back to Shanghai!!

RAC – ‘Am I bored?’

  • Course: 1 day influencing skills course
  • Date: 21 Aug 08
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • # of Learners: 20
  • I am feeling: Good

The class was attended by a few other fellow trainers in our organization. At the end of the class, one of them asked me whether I become bored after delivering some classes for almost 2 years. My answer was a bit complicated:

– I do look forward to taking on new classes rather than just delivering the old ones. I love the process of preparing and delivering the new material, during which I learn a lot as well.

– On the other hand, I am not exactly bored with the old classes… at least not as much as the others would probably imagine. I believe the key is that my delivery focuses on the learners but not the content. Since the learners are different each time, the class is ‘virtually’ not the same.

  • I often collect expectation at the class beginning and tailor the class accordingly without compromising the key message of the original design;
  • I always ask lot of questions in classes and there are all different sorts of response. Well, arguably, I asked too much some time;
  • I encourage questions in the class by different techniques and tricks. See one trick I shared before on this blog.

RAC – Customizing

  • Course: A presentation skills workshop
  • Date: 18-19 Aug 08
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • # of Learners: 10
  • I am feeling: Good

It is the first time I customized a presentation skills workshop for a specific business line in our bank.   Unlike an open course, I had a specific business sponsor who ‘ordered’ this class.  Since I personally worked in this business line before, I managed to communicate effectively with the learners re the presentation content as well.

I hope the learners had found it useful!!

RAC – An Ineffective Class

  • Course: SPIN
  • Date: 11-13 June 08
  • Location: Beijing, China
  • # of Learners: 23
  • I am feeling: Puzzled

I am writing this on my flight from Beijing back to Shanghai, after I just concluded the class around 3 hours ago. It rains heavily both in Beijing and Shanghai, and thus caused serious flight delay. I hope that I could arrive home before midnight….

I do not feel right about this class. The learners were not engaged enough in general as compared my previous SPIN class. I can see people doing sms with their mobile phones, going in and out answering phone calls…. What’s the worst is that they performed badly during those quiz-type recap session. They did not learn as well as I expected (or as my previous classes).

I am not sure why this is the case. Some possible reasons coming to my mind:

Continue reading “RAC – An Ineffective Class”

RAC – Ice Breaker

  • Course: A 2-day presentation class
  • Date: 12-13 May 08
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • # of Learners: 7
  • I am feeling: ‘Shaken’

This presentation class slot was actually started in Feb but was halted in the middle owing to my daughter’s birth. We have spent around 2 hours together in Feb before I left to the hospital. We arranged a replacement class slot for the learners last Monday.

I felt that I knew the learners quite well. After all, we have already spent around 2 hours together. And I also received a few emails from them asking about my newborn. In addition, the learners are all from the same year of graduation program. In other words, they know each other very well. As such, I decided to go straight into the class content, without running any ice-breaker in the beginning.

I was wrong. Continue reading “RAC – Ice Breaker”