August 4, 2010

Trainers Just Want to Have Fun

Sometimes training participants come back from break or lunch a few minutes late. Well, OK, this happens a lot of times. Years ago, I decided to create a fun penalty for tardiness. If you were late, you had to tell a joke, BUT it had to be a clean joke. If you couldn’t think of a clean joke, you had to sing a song … of my choosing: My Bologna Has a First Name or I’m a Little Teacup. My classes embraced this idea, and the number of late arrivals went way down. When students were late, we heard a good joke or had a musical interlude. If the participant sang Teacup, my students insisted that they act it out, too. Who knew?

One day, a student screeched through the doorway, just seconds before the deadline. She smiled at me and said, “Someone tried to stop me, but I told them I had Barbara, and they had to tell me a joke to stop.” The person didn’t offer a joke, and she didn’t stop. The class loved it.

One note to keep in mind, this tactic does NOT work with sales people. I tried it once, and only once. Several of my students lingered just outside the door until they were late. They all had a joke to tell!

And then there was the class that turned the game on me. I always returned from lunch at least five minutes early. But on this day, I walked into a room full of waiting students. They shook their heads and pointed at the clock. I was late! Confused, I checked my watch. It said I was early. I shook my wrist and tapped the watch dial, deciding the battery must be dying. I shrugged my shoulders and told a joke. Then, they took the clock off of the wall and reset it to the correct time. Bazinga! They got me.

Although I rarely use this method these days, it started my journey of finding wacky ways to liven up the day and keep us laughing while learning. A little fun never hurt anyone.

5 comments:

AUMom said...

My joke repertoire should be huge! Good way to handle the situation.

I would have to tell a joke; my singing would clear the room.

Tina

Valerie said...

HA! Love that your students turned the tables on you!

Fun is good. If I weren't already Christian, I'd declare "fun" my religion. Laughing is my favorite aerobic activity.

Bob Strother said...

In my 40-year professional career, I must have sat through a gazillion training classes. I wish more of the facilitators had employed mixing laughter with the learning. More power to you, Barbara.

eversch said...

I like it!

Barbara V. Evers said...

Thanks Bob. I'm continually looking for something to keep training enjoyable. I tell my students that laughter gets more oxygen to the brain, so they can think better AND stay awake.