For many trainers your audience will usually consist of unknown people. How do you make sure they start the training on the right side? I try hard not to make the training feel like mandatory education but rather an opportunity to learn something. Some good tips on how to start your training sessions:
Set the mood
Set the right mood by having written a big welcome, playing a cool video-loop on the projector or displaying an exciting picture of yourself as a powerpoint slide. Add music (especially in the morning) to get people to wake-up. If time allows, allow people to mingle a little to get to know each other if they are a newly formed group
Greet everyone as they enter the room (as far as possible), to make sure you get faces of the people in there as well as them not feeling to distant from you. I myself have great difficulties learning names (don’t ask my family what I’ve called them throughout the years 😉 ) so usually make a point of marking everyone I greet in an attendance chart and making a note (if I can) where they sit. Don’t try to avoid eye-contact or hide behind a table; be approachable!
Start on time
Even if all participants aren’t there yet I like to set the discipline for the rest of the session, encouraging everyone to be on time after breaks. If I start to be sloppy, then I can only expect my participants to mimic me.
Know your annoying habits
I love chewing on pens and will often eat pens quicker than I write with them. This however is not something good to do in front of an audience as it takes away focus and may come of as a nervous trait. Other common behaviours like these might be clicking with your pen, playing with the keys in your pocket or clearing your throat.
Keep standing up
Standing up and moving around keeps focus on you (but don’t be too distracting). Sitting down for me is only when I’ve asked people to complete an assignment or when we together review something on the projector (but even then I’m quick to jump up to point highlight points).
Image credit: orator by southtyrolean