If you have delivered safety training classes in the past, you might be familiar with that awkward feeling that sometimes precedes the start of a safety training class. Your trainees come to class less than ready to learn and you can just tell by the look on their faces that they would rather be someplace else.

We have all heard that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" but did you know that you can't teach an uninterested dog ANY tricks? A great opening can get your trainees interested. In this session, we will talk about two of the most important parts of a safety training class - the opening and the closing or as this title states, the "warm up" the "wrap up."

The warm up is important because if you do not get the attention of trainees' in the first few minutes, you will most likely have "lost" them for the class. Once their mind gets preoccupied with other thoughts, it might be very hard to get them back on track. Also, unless you have built some fluff into the beginning of your class (and this is NOT recommended) you will need to have your trainees paying attention from the very start. The sooner you can engage the trainees and get them involved in their own learning, the better the training experience will be.

Warm Up activities are sometimes called icebreakers or openers. Are these the same? The terms may be used interchangeably but they are actually quite different. An icebreaker generally refers to an activity that is in place to get trainees to get to know each other a little better. Many trainees dread this part of the class since they most likely have memories of being asked (or more likely told) to participate in an activity that either embarrassed them, made them feel uncomfortable or had no relation to the class content. For some reason, some trainers believe that these types of activities bring the trainees closer together. Usually, the opposite occurs. The trainee ends up feeling awkward and uncomfortable and this is exactly the opposite of what trainees need to experience in order to learn.

Trainees are most receptive and learn best when they are relaxed, feel safe and feel comfortable in the learning environment. This is why games and activities are great to use in training. If a trainee is having fun, it will be difficult for them to tune out what is going on and in fact, they may be learning without even realizing it.

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