Connecting with the Group

Leading a training session in front of a group can be challenging and sometimes intimidating. The tendency can be to focus mostly on what you are saying. While content is important, there is another focus that makes MoveSMART® training truly effective: CONNECTING WITH THE GROUP.

Here are a few simple suggestions for connecting well.

– Stand at a good “social” distance from people. Too far away and you loose connection, too close and they will feel crowded. Six-feet or so from the nearest person is probably about right.

– Keep good eye contact. Look at a specific individual for a sentence or two, shifting from person to person as you talk.

– Project your voice so everyone can hear you. Talk loudly enough so you are sure that the furthest person away can hear you clearly.

– Use names. People love to hear their name used in a friendly manner. “Fred here loves to hunt. How do you think he could use Smart Hands when hunting?” “Alice, you’ve worked lots of job here. What’s the most physically challenging task that you’ve done?” Be careful never to embarrass or put anyone on the spot.

– Welcome questions and comments. “Excellent observation, Jim.” “Barbara, that’s a good question.”

– Involve the group by asking for their ideas. “What are some uses of Line-of-Power in your jobs?” “Tell me of some situations where taking a step closer is possible.”

– Never put the group, or individuals in the group, down. Disparaging remarks about their past or current safety record or practices has no positive value, and only invites resistance and distance. Be very careful about “friendly” kidding. As a leader it’s easy to step over this line.

Of course your overall attitude toward the group will show in your leadership behavior. Respect and care is the foundation for real connection.

For additional ideas on connecting, see our blog title Opening Remarks.

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