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.
Training Volunteers to Work with People
with Physical Disabilities
Volunteers in your organization might encounter an individual
with some physical disability. Do they know how to behave in a manner
that is not offensive, and is helpful, if needed? Be sure to remind them
to focus on the person, not the disability. Here are some tips that could
be discussed and practiced in a training session.
Offer to shake
hands with a disabled person. If the person is visually impaired
the volunteer might say, Shall we shake hands? If the
response is yes, then reach out and touch the hand of the person to
initiate the handshake.
A person in a wheel
chair is not necessarily deaf. No shouting. Practice talking
in a normal tone of voice to someone sitting in a wheel chair.
If possible, sit
down to talk to someone is a wheel chair or electric scooter.
This makes conversation not such a neck-breaker for both
parties, one of whom is looking up and the other down.
Do not touch or
lean on a wheel chair, without permission. It is considered an
extension of the person. Imagine leaning on their legs while you are
talking. Few people would do that. The chair can represent legs
to the person in the chair.
Never help without
asking if it is needed. If you are turned down in the offer of
help, do not push it.
with a hearing impaired person who has an interpreter, speak to
the person, not the interpreter.
Be sure to speak
clearly and to the face of a hearing impaired person. Many read
lips and that cannot be done if you are turned away. Be sure the person
can see you.
NEVER pet a service
dog. The dog is working when it is with its owner. Your attempt
at affection can interfere with that work.
presence to an individual with visual impairments. Do not arrive
quietly and startle someone.
Any book or guideline on public speaking or training
urges the trainer/speaker to have fun and exhibit a sense of humor. Comedic
timing, appropriateness of material, and being funny do not
come naturally to most people. Here are some tips on using humor in the
Do not introduce yourself in a humorous way, unless your reputation
has preceded you.
Never use humor to cover up a lack of preparation or lack of knowledge
on a topic.
Make fun of yourself, but never others. Self-effacing humor demonstrates
confidence. People who are secure have the ability to laugh at themselves.
Laugh with peoplenot at them. Someone sharing a painful moment
might describe something that tickles your funny bone. Be cautious about
laughing, unless the person laughs.
If you use jokes or tales or stories, make sure they relate to the
topic of the training.
Never tell a story or joke just to be funny. Believe in the joke as
having a relationship to what you are teaching.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Good humor seems spontaneous, but is
practiced in advance.
Use good delivery techniques.
Know the lines, joke, storyespecially the punch line.
Never announce a joke, simply tell it.
Pause for the punch line, then wait two beats for laughter to begin
Keep stories, jokes, tales short.
Avoid ethic or sexist jokes and/or stories. NEVER!
Give people permission to laugh. If you laugh and enjoy yourself,
learners will relax and follow your lead.
Have a saver line handy if a joke or story bombs. That
joke usually works . . . with my kids (dog, wife, husband, mother).
Training is often designed to lead
to action. TABB is a system to allow the participant to reflect on what
they have learned, own that learning, and make a commitment to further
action. It can usually be done in 5 10 minutes at the end of the
Distribute the TABB form
Review the instructions
Ask people to share their action steps, if they wish.
Thing, Action, Barriers,
The challenge from any training is follow-through. This form is
designed to help you sort out:
what you have learned
how you would like to put it into action
the barriers to doing that, and
the benefits you will get from implementing this new thing.
What is the most important thing
you learned from todays class?
What action steps would you
like to take on that idea?
Are there barriers that will
keep you from reaching your goals?
What rewards or benefits do
you expect from taking this action?
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
Interested in assessing volunteer and
staff relations in your program?