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Training Tips: Avoiding the “Plop”

It’s early on in the training session and it’s time to get some thoughts from the audience.  You pose a question and you wait for the answers to come streaming out.  But nobody raises their hand.  There’s silence.  Like an auctioneer, you scan the audience for any possible movement.  And you continue to find nothing but lonely, uncomfortable silence.  Your question simply plopped.

Should you call on someone?  Should you just give the answer?

I don’t like either of those options.  I like to ask people to turn to the person next to them and discuss their thoughts on the question.  Once they do this and the ice is broken and there is some energy in the room and people have obviously come up with some thoughts and answers to my question, then I’ll bring it back to the large group and ask for someone to respond.

The “plop” is never fun, but it happens.  In a large room, it’s easy to not volunteer an answer, it’s easy to hide among the rest of the participants.  When participants are asked to pair off, it’s much more difficult to remain silent.  And once the silence is broken, it’s much easier to find answers when you come back to the large group.

The Train Like A Champion blog is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  These brief “Training Tip” posts are a series of quick reference tips that are published while your beloved Train Like A Champion blogger is currently enjoying a little vacation.  The more in-depth posts will resume again in August.

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