The Training Page of Volunteer Today has practical
trainer techniques and activities to make orientation sessions more productive
and valuable. There are also ideas to help enhance the professional volunteer
manager's training level.
Anyone engaged in training for paid staff or volunteers
needs to be a good listener. Here is a quiz designed to help you determine
your "LQ," or listening quotient.
Directions: Listed below are statements
that relate to one's ability to listen to others. Rate each item
by placing an "X" in the appropriate box. Try to be as
candid as you can in making the rating. When you have rated all
the items, take a straight edge and draw lines to connect the X's.
This provides a profile of your capacity as a listener. A profile
more to the right means better listening skills are at work.
1. I refrain from "tuning someone
out" because I disagree with them or do not like them.
2. I strive to make sure that an individual's
status in the organization or community has no impact on how well
3. If I do not hear something I am
open to admit it and ask the person to restate.
4. I work hard to avoid letting outside
distractions keep me from being focused on the speaker.
5. I attempt to stay with speakers
who are hard to listen toslow speech, poorly organized thoughts,
repeat ideas, etc.
6. I work to interpret the non-verbal
cues the speaker sends - tone of voice, gestures, mood, facial expressions,
7. I listen for information beyond
"facts." Such things as feelings, attitudes, values are
8. I avoid interrupting a speaker.
9. I work hard to really pay attention
to the speaker, not just fake it.
10. I usually restate or paraphrase
a speaker's statement, when necessary, to show I have understood what
the individual is saying.
11. I use non-verbal cues when I am
listening. (eye contact, head nods, smiles, etc.)
12. I try not to be influenced by
what I want to hear, rather than what is being said.
13. I try to listen to what is NOT
14. I work hard to not be distracted
by the speaker's outward appearance. (mannerisms, clothing, hair,
15. I try hard not to be organizing
a response when someone is still speaking.
Want more ideas for training?
Check out our online
bookstore for Training Techniques in Brief, by Stan Smith.
Teaching Staff to Work With
Volunteers: Correcting Mistakes
Staff working with volunteers need training.
There should be classroom-types of training to enhance skills. Some
staff members who supervise volunteers are in non-supervisory positions
in the organization. They do not usually have the benefit of receiving
training on supervision, so the manager of volunteers needs to train
people on how to manage effectively the unpaid workforce.
While there may be excellent training
for staff members, it is not insurance against mistakes. So, what is
the manager of volunteers to do when a staff member makes a mistake
in managing a voluntee? Here are some tips.
Be sure you understand the volunteer's tasks. Make sure you have
a current position description and understand what the volunteer is
supposed to do. Was the mistake a misunderstanding of a job duty? Maybe
the staff member and the volunteer did not have a meeting of the minds
about the work to be done.
Practice asking non-threatening questions. Work on tone of voice and
physical demeanor as you make inquiries about the mistakes. Try open-ended
questions: "When the volunteer came in yesterday what happened?"
Try writing them out before you talk to the staff member.
Approach the situation with an open mind. Even if the staff member
is not your favorite person, look at the conversation with him/her as
a fact finding mission. The only people who really understand this situation
are the volunteer and the staff member. This is an excellent place to
practice those listening skills mentioned above. The manager's job is
to determine the best course of action for all parties.
The best solutions come from the staff member. Discuss the situation
with the staff member and encourage him/her to take ownership of the
problem. Ask how the situation can be remedied. The solution is likely
to be carried out if the staff member identifies it.
Washington State University will offer
the first face-to-face Volunteer Management Certificate Program at
Port Hadlock from April 26 29, 2005. This is an up-close-and-personal
version of the award winning online course. Hosted by the WSU Learning
Center the training is in the shadow of the Olympia Mountains and
across the Straits of Juan de Fuca from Victoria, British Columbia,
Canada. Join three top drawer faculty in an intensively interactive
institute designed to hone your skills in organizing and managing
volunteers. For detailed information visit the Volunteer Management
Institute Web site at: http://emmps.wsu.edu/volunteer.
Deadline for registration is extended to March.
Interested in assessing volunteer and
staff relations in your program?
COLLEGE PROGRAMS ON NONPROFIT
AND VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT
Close to 200 colleges and universities
offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management.
They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics
sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out
the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of
these colleges. A full list resides at http://pirate.shu.edu/~mirabero/kellogg.html.
Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with