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.
There you are: sick, nose running, coughing, and barely
able to talk. Take to your bed? NOT! 16 volunteers are due in two hours
for training that only you can do. Here are some tips to get through the
Water, water, water, but no ice. Ice
makes the throat constrict and only makes the matter worse.
Avoid milk products. Dairy coats the
throat under normal circumstances. There is enough "goo"
in there for a lifetime when you are sick. Have a hardboiled egg instead
of cereal for breakfast.
Whispering doesn't work. It puts more
strain on the vocal cords. It is as damaging as screaming or shouting.
Do not clear your throat. It is also
very hard on vocal cords and doesn't improve the situation.
Menthol and mint dry out the throat.
Hot water, lemon juice, and honey will
(a) relax the vocal cords, (b) clear out phlegm, (c) and coat the
throat with soothing substance. (My great grandmother always added
a half shot of whiskey to the mix. Then you can add putting you to
sleep to the benefits. Not before training, but good before bed!)
Swigging down gallons of orange juice
is also not a great idea. Acids can prolong symptoms of laryngitis.
more ideas for training? Check out our online
bookstore for Sharing Moments of Recognition Every Day by Linda
Effective listening is only as good as
a trainer's response style. Responses act as encouragement or discouragement
to the speaker and others in the training session. The interpersonal
process of give and take is impacted by how a trainer responds. The
response not only directs the course of the ensuing message, but it
tells the speaker if the responder was listening. Here are some options
when trainees make comments or ask questions. Good trainers practice
using all of them.
Reassurance is the act of giving
support, comfort, or encouragement to a trainee. "I know this
is difficult. You should have seen me the first time I tried. I
promise you it will become easier with more practice. How about
we all do it again?"
Paraphrasing is restating something
in order to find out if what you heard is what the speaker intended.
It combines the understanding of words with sensitivity to the feelings
of the speaker. "Let's see if I understand what you are saying.
You think that this part of your position as a volunteer is more
than should be expected and you are wondering why it is part of
the position's responsibilities. Is that an accurate reflection
of what you are saying?"
Interviewing is a way of asking close
questions. Imagine being an interviewer for a newspaper. "When
did that happen? What was your response? What did the client do?
How did you feel about the way you responded?"
Interpretation is the establishment
of meaning or significance to something. This is taking what the
trainee says, looking beyond the literal meaning of the words. "When
you say that our clients are 'hardcore,' what you mean is that these
are people with serious problems that are not easily solved."
5. Give Advice
Giving advice is sharing an opinion
about what some else should do. It is sharing with the individual
words of wisdom to help them deal with a situation. "That has
happened to other volunteers. When it does the best course of action
is to . . . ."
Some training for volunteers is lengthy.
There are multiple objectives and much to be learned. One way to help
volunteers to think about their responsibility for active learning is
with a "Plan to Learn Contract." (See the sample below.)
Begin with a review of all the learning objectives and agenda. Then
pledge to the trainees you will do everything in your power to aid their
Distribute the Learning Contract. Ask them to read it. Tell them
you cannot guarantee meeting the learning objectives without their help.
By signing the contract the individual is agreeing to the seriousness
of the collaboration with the trainer.
Provide time to talk about the contract and for participants to reflect.
Remind the trainees that the contract is theirs and they can sign or
not sign, as they wish.
Plan to Learn Contract
I understand that the training in this course
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://tltc.shu.edu/npo/.
Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with