Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) training has a reputation (sometimes well deserved) for being dry and boring. Unfortunately mandatory annual refresher training can seem even worse to employees forced to sit through it. Part of the reason for this is inherent in what good, effective adult education/learning should be and what EHS refreshers are. Part of the reason also rests with the trainer. Adult education should be "learner-centered" (what works best for the learner) rather than "information-centered" (here's the information regardless of the learner's interest or lack thereof). Typically, refresher training is the latter, very information-centered. Adult learners are self-directed and motivated to learn. They want the training to be directly applicable to their immediate needs. They don't like a rigid curriculum, forced upon them, nor "future" needs. They want (and deserve) good training and they can (and do) recognize bad training.

Knowing and acknowledging all of this up front is a big help. There are a myriad of ways to improve any training. What follows are at least 75 proven tricks and tips that trainers can use to "spice up" their next annual refresher training - good luck!

Arrive early! This should go without saying, but a late trainer has already lost much credibility and respect before even showing up. So, don't plan on getting there "on-time," instead plan on arriving early. It gives you time to get a feel for the room, a chance to "test drive" the audiovideo (A/V) equipment, and (perhaps most importantly) to meet and greet the trainees as they arrive. You can start to develop a rapport with them, ask them what they are interested in regarding the training topic, and if needed solicit their help (trainees love to help!).

Introduce yourself to the trainees! Obviously following on the heels of "arriving early," introducing yourself starts the process of getting to know each other. Once the trainees start to get to know the trainer, the sooner a rapport develops and the trainees will accept the trainer's views on a given subject.

Make a good first impression! As the saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." So start off well. Be punctual, well groomed, and polite. Tell them that you are looking forward to the training (be truthful) and hope that they are, too. Then impress!

Be introduced and credentialed by someone else! It's important for the trainees to know who you are and why you should be up front providing the training. It is advantageous if someone else does the introduction and validates your experience, credentials, and/or abilities. A third party gives you more credence in the eyes of the trainees and takes the burden off of you. Also, you don't come off as bragging or "blowing your own horn."

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