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.
Basics of CommunicationGetting
the Message Through
77% of all Americans
get 90% of their news from television.
An adult in North American has an
attention span of 1 2 minutes.
Information comes to people in short
Information is always supported
with colorful graphics and descriptive phrases.
Inattention is learned at an early
Continuity of learning is missing.
Good trainers pay attention to the way in which people
consume information. The day of the un-illustrated lecture for 45-50 minutes
is over. It is not an effective means to train, although there are some
college professors who have yet to receive that message!
These basics of communication are signposts to planning
Keep the training segments less than 20 minutes doing the same thing.
The topic might be the same, but vary the activities.
Add wall signs or handouts with short colorful sayings related to
your training topic.
Expect people to be impatient. . .never lose yours.
Organize training to be complete in one setting, and not require several
Continuity should come from discrete sessions with single topics.
Arrange training sessions in convenient places and times. Example,
if you have a number of volunteers who work in a downtown area, find
a company that will donate a conference room for 90 minutes starting
at 5:00 p.m. and hold the training at or near where the volunteers work.
Get a volunteer, perhaps homebound, who loves to do graphics things.
Have them do all your graphics for handouts and the like, so everything
you distribute looks wonderful!
Want more ideas for training?
Check out our online
bookstore for Slide Show on a Shoestring, by Nancy Macduff.
The art of oratory has been around for
2500 years. Socrates and Plato were making suggestions for effective
trainers and teachers before overhead projectors and handouts. Those
suggestions are still good today. Follow the five oratory steps listed
below for effective presentations.
What do you want to say? Is your content organized to be accessible
to others? Who? What? Why? How? Where? How Much?
Plan the steps to structure your ideas. Construct a framework to present
your information. Having a plan for presentation can allow the words
and ideas to flow easily. Learning objectives help with this.
This means that you need to think of the stylistic devices or techniques
used to convey the content. The Greeks spoke of three styles; humble,
moderate, and noble. Examples of these abound in the stories they told
and the audio-visual methods they used.
Memorizing material is an old-fashioned notion. There is wisdom, however,
in being so familiar with your material that you present it in a smooth
flow. Avoid reading to adults! Believing in what you say makes it easier
to come across as less scripted.
Use voice, body, gestures or whatever it takes to get your message across.
Check your tone of voice and volume. Be yourself. Don't pattern yourself
after someone else. Be the best you can be with your own personality.
Training workshops should never be the
same two years in a row. Position requirements change, volunteers change,
staff change, and so many differences require new information. So how
is a trainer supposed to determine what to change? The answer is the
needs assessment. Here are some ideas on gathering information to determine
Talk with supervisors, staff, or volunteer leaders about the places
where volunteers consistently make mistakes.
Ask customers, clients, and patrons about the levels of service.
Observe volunteers at work.
Ask the volunteers who are experienced where they could have used
Talk to administrators and high level staff and/or volunteers about
potential shifts in organizational priorities or procedures.
If outside trainers are used, ask them to recommend areas to improve
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