Gentle Bamboo Solutions

How to Approach Multi-Day Sessions Part 2

Calendar | Multi-day sessions

As a trainer, you may occasionally get the opportunity to facilitate a multi-day training program. Such a program has great benefits. Not only do you have more time to cover a wide range of topics, but you can also dive deeper into them. You also get many chances to leave a strong impression on your learners.

Last week, we shared 3 tips on planning and preparing multi-day sessions. This week, we share 3 more:

Tip 4: Have a running leaderboard

In a multi-day session, it is important to let your learners enjoy themselves and look forward to the next day. You can use a scoring system or leaderboard to maintain a running score of the participants between days. This gives your learners a narrative – a story of their own performance.

A running leaderboard is particularly useful because in between days, you can adjust your program. So if certain learners are lagging behind, you can adjust your activities to give them a fighting chance the next day. This will re-engage them and your learners will have a greater satisfaction with the program.

Your scoring system can be either competitive or collaborative. A competitive system is where your learners try and beat each other’s scores. Also consider a “reservoir” system where all your learners’ scores contribute to a grand total. The learners would chase a milestone together across multiple days.

Tip 5: Use multiple facilitators

A multi-day session is complex. When we plan such programs, we brainstorm the modules and structure together as a team. Our team becomes familiar with the entire learner experience. Since many people know the program, why not let many people present it?

There are two distinct advantages to using multiple facilitators.

First, by having multiple facilitators, you introduce variety to your program and keep your learners on their toes. A particular learner may not be able to relate to one trainer but might relate to the other. Every trainer has their own style of teaching, and multi-day sessions present a great opportunity to leverage those styles.

Second, if you have young or inexperienced team members (producers or trainers), you can give them training experience. Multi-day sessions are excellent opportunities for you to provide training segments to your team members. This way, they get real-world experience, the learners get variety, and you improve your team.

Tip 6: Always over-prepare

Apple as a company are masters of marketing, and one of their pioneered techniques is the “One more thing…” rule. At the end of their keynote addresses, Steve Jobs and now Tim Cook will sometimes declare “one more thing” before unveiling a big product. Why do they do this?

Because of our culture, we look for value in everything we do. We want to get more out of our experiences. By promising “one more thing” Apple signals to us that we’re getting more value, even though they had always planned to announce their product.

Having more to share makes your learners feel like they’re getting extra value.

There are two applications to this. The first is to simply use the “one more thing” rule itself. The second is to have extra material ready so that you can take the session off the tracks.

My version of “One More Thing”

I have my own version of “one more thing” for my stand-alone sessions. At the end of a training program such as the “Introduction to the GPS Framework”, I declare to the audience that the session is over and they can leave, but if they stay I have something else to share. Do you know how the audience responds?

They stay. All of them almost always stay.

I then cover a 15-minute version of a different module such as “The Second Wheel” or “The Trolley Problem”.

Why do I do this? It is extra value I can provide to my audience to help them. This also allows me to test material I’m developing, which I can put into different modules later.

Take Your Session Off the Tracks

The biggest benefit of overpreparation is that you can make a session feel organic. A training session is first and foremost a dance between trainer and learner. There must be coordination between both. If a learner indicates they want to move a certain direction, the trainer must lead in that direction.

In real terms, if the learners show interest in material beyond the scope of the session, you should prepare to talk about it. Be prepared beforehand with related material. Your learners will be delighted if you are able to give them knowledge beyond the scope of the class.

These are our six tips for planning multi-day sessions. I hope you enjoyed them. If you’d like to discuss developing your own multi-day modules, email us at abhilash@gentlebamboo.com.