As a trainer or presenter, you have the power to inform, inspire and initiate change. A great training course can improve standards, develop skills and increase knowledge, therefore, enhancing employee performance. Having said this, we have all sat through talks that have failed to make a difference. The content has seemed irrelevant and the presentation is poor. With plenty of other work to get on with, no one wants to feel that they have wasted time. How do you know if your training materials and presentation style is hitting the mark unless you ask for feedback from delegates?
The opinions of your audience are valuable; they are your learning opportunity.
When should you request delegate feedback?
As a trainer, it is advisable to gather information on your audience before you prepare your presentation. The more insight you have, the easier it is to deliver content that is directly relevant to them and keep considering the audience at all times.
During the training session
In some cases, your audience will have chosen to attend, in other cases, their employer may insist on it. Either way, you can gain feedback by observing body language and levels of engagement. If people are distracted or slumped in their chair, it communicates that this isn’t interesting or important to them. How can you adapt and bring their attention back?
Retaining attention is challenging, especially with virtual courses. In a training room, it is difficult for attendees to get up and leave. Not so when they can simply switch off the camera and opt for mute.
Vary the content with video, slides and break out room discussions. Include quizzes, polls and other memory recall activities in the training session. These will help to embed the core message, whilst also giving you an indication of what is being learnt and retained. Invite participants to use the ‘chat’ feature to share comments and keep them engaged.
Use breaks in the training programme to speak with members of the audience. Is there anything that they hoping to learn that has yet to be covered? How did they find that activity? Delegates may not feel they can be completely honest when face to face with you, but their manner can be revealing.
At the end of the training programme
Most feedback forms are circulated as a final stage in the training programme. At this point, delegates are usually keen to get home. They don’t want to miss the train or be charged an extra hour of parking. Their brains are full of new information and hopefully, as a result of the training, a to-do list of all the things they need to explore further.
Whilst you can get feedback from the greatest number of delegates at the end of the event, handing round forms on the day might not capture particularly insightful responses. The majority will tick a few boxes and give a quick comment. Encouraging a word or two in chat before the end of an online event will offer a snapshot of how it was received. In-person you could go round the room and ask for comments.
After the training event
A follow-up email is advisable after any training event. You can provide additional material and follow-up content, to add value. Thank delegates for their time and use this opportunity to invite feedback.
When 3DVA prepares training feedback forms for clients, we advise that:
- Providing personal details is optional – anonymity is likely to result in a more honest response, but they can leave their name if they would like a follow-up
- A mix of question types is best – rating questions give data to compare courses, while open questions with space to write responses, provides personalised comments
- A brief explanation of how the feedback will be used is provided
- The form should be kept short and simple to encourage completion
Post-event, you will likely receive fewer completed feedback forms, however, the content may be more valuable. Delegates will have had time to reflect on the training. Back in the workplace, they may see how it relates to their work. Has the training altered their attitude, made processes more efficient or changed how they respond to customers?
They may have applied some of the learning and may spot gaps in their knowledge that could be covered by further training – what has been useful and what more do they want to know?
The brain can only retain some of the information shared, so much of what you delivered will be forgotten a few days after the event. It is useful to know which presentation slides, visuals, activities or examples helped to make content memorable.
We suggest another follow-up again 3-6 weeks after the training, either to the delegates or to the manager/person who arranged the training for their team members. This is a chance to get evidence of application in the workplace and a measurable benefit. It also presents an opportunity to discuss further training needs.
How to use delegate feedback
It is wonderful to receive positive feedback and this can be used to help market future courses. If there are points that would be of value to other businesses, you may even ask to use the comments to create a course review or case study.
The most useful feedback may be less complimentary. It may criticise your presentation materials or style. It might suggest that the information shared was too simple or too complicated or the venue was poor.
Don’t be tempted to brush this aside or become defensive, this is your learning opportunity. Consider the points objectively and use them to adapt and enhance the training. You want to be that trainer or presenter that engages, educates and makes a difference.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve” – Bill Gates
Present like a Pro
3DVA has created a training feedback form. You can download this for free from our template library. If you would like the document branded and tailored to your training event, contact Dee to discuss your requirements.
Dee can also transform your ideas and notes into impactful PowerPoint slides and infographic visuals Are you ready to present like a pro?