The easiest tweak you can make to your training and orientation programs…

stocking-up-on-classroom-candy
How many of you put out candy for training attendees? I know we do at the day job…in fact, the photo above is a shot of my cart on a recent stock-up trip at my local Sam’s Club. Even when the cost of doing business continues to soar, this is an expense that we have curbed, yet kept.

Why?

Because people like candy.

Before the workplace health and wellness fans start to worry, we also provide fresh fruit and some considerably less-exciting snacks like granola bars and trail mix.

Until I attended a recent conference, however, I didn’t give much thought to the bowl of candy that graces our training tables. Then, a tiny little tweak transformed a simple snack into a learning tool.

I promise you now, whether you are a long-time phase(two)learning follower or this is the first post you’ve read, this is worth the price of admission. Which, frankly, is free…so what a deal, amiright?

Check this out:

tech-tip-on-candy-wrapper

Whoa! Mind. Blown.

How simple is this? All that is needed is candy or snacks, a package of printable adhesive labels and some tips or ideas to share to your participants.

Granted, I’m sure I’m not the first person to “discover” this little nugget, but in over 20 years of teaching and facilitation, somehow it’s new to me. Regardless, it got me thinking….how else could we use this easy tip in training or Orientation programs? Here are 8 beyond-simple ideas:

  1. Provide the URL for your organization’s intranet, wiki, or other learning sites.
  2. Share the Twitter handles for influential, must-follow people in your organization or industry.
  3. Post can’t-miss dates – like when your benefit paperwork is due.
  4. Distribute your company’s IT Help Desk email or phone number.
  5. Share interesting trivia about your organization’s history. (Bonus: Have participants piece together the trivia into a timeline!)
  6. Introduce your company’s mission or purpose statement. 
  7. Solicit simple, one-sentence quotes from other employees – tips on how to be successful at your organization
  8. Share “Fact or Fiction” statements about your industry, organization, products/services, etc. Have participants stick (literally!) the wrappers under one of two columns on a flip chart (“fact” or “fiction”). As the candy is consumed throughout training, the columns will grow. On the last day of training, see how accurate everyone’s guesses are!

Honestly, I could probably come up with a dozen other ideas…there are so many creative possibilities for this one!

Your turn: Have you used this type of interactive element in your training sessions? What tips have you communicated? And most importantly, what is the must-have candy in YOUR candy bowl?

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4 thoughts on “The easiest tweak you can make to your training and orientation programs…

  1. I like this a lot. A few months ago, a group of learners were so upset we didn’t bring candy on Day 1 of a session that several people wrote about it in the end-of-day eval forms. And then we forgot to bring candy on Day 2 (so much for learners being able to see the value of their input). But when we came back the next month for Part 2 of the training, candy was a center piece… this idea would have made it even better!

    1. Thanks Brian! People get very cranky when we forget to put the candy bowls out. Low blood sugar, I guess. ;) Not sure how this is the first time I’ve learned this little trick, but there are so many easy little ways to use it!

      Here’s another idea – put a variety of “safe” icebreaker questions on the labels, and use it for introductions at the start of the day (could do this with breakfast/granola/protein bars instead of candy if at the beginning of the day?)

      Or another idea – review questions? Toss a piece of candy to someone, and they have to read the question aloud and answer?

      I may have to do a Part 2 to this post… :)

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