It is never the same twice to deliver a training course. New places, new people, new companies. Topics, that bring out different things from different attendees. Group dynamics, which can be for the better or for the slightly less better for the interaction of the participants. Cultures, that provide the basis of the peoples’ interaction and own interpretation of the topic in question.
It has never been the same twice, even when I only delivered trainings in Hungary.
On the one hand, because even here in Budapest, in one group of attendees there are always some non-Hungarian people within the multinational companies I have been working with. This already brings a special flavour to the “Hungarian” trainings, better put, the ones delivered in Hungary – but no so Hungarian after all. A lot more colourful than that.
On the other hand, because despite the nationality of the people, the group dynamics is always very different. Some groups are very eager to talk, others need a lot more time to ease up and express what they have in their heads and hearts. And I am still talking about courses delivered in my own home country 🙂
Here in Budapest I have the advantage, that with the majority of the attendees we understand the same jokes, we have more or less the same cultural environment, we understand the same examples and practices. This is something that can definitely help a trainer to connect to the people who are sitting in front of her on those 1-2 days.
But what happens when all this homeland advantage is gone, far-far gone?
When there is no common ground, no common culture, no common joke, no common interpretation?
This is what I am also doing as a trainer. Travel wherever I need to travel, dropped down at country X, and deliver. And of course, the impact has to be at an equally high quality, regardless of which continent I have been dropped to.
When I delivered in Asia or Africa, I could experience these differences first-hand. These are those situations, where the at-home best practices are not necessarily working. Or maybe they are not working at all.
What I do in these cases, is that I arrive there and watch and learn. See how the people of the country talk to each other, what are the things they appreciate, what are the ones they despise. I make an effort to find out what values they have in their daily life and what are those things they appreciate. All these things are so different if you think about Europe, Africa, or far-away Asian countries. This technique provides me a solid basis for being able to deliver the message of the training course I am there to do so.
I also pay a lot of attention to examples. Some, that can be common sense for me, at the same time can mean absolutely nothing for others. For example if I say in Asia, that how interesting it is that people are always surprised by the first snow each and every winter, they will not understand. How would they? They don’t live in a country where snow ever comes. However, changing this example to people being surprised by the rainy season coming, I instantly have the common understanding with them. Fun fact, this whole snow vs. rainy season example happened to me in Myanmar 🙂
Besides all these, some training practices and exercises that work in one part of the world, will not work somewhere else. In some cultures they like to act out, do role plays, however they are reluctant answering questions directly asked by the trainer. In all these cases, I, the trainer, need to be flexible. Changing the material on-the-go, so that it suits the attendees.
Also, it helps me a lot checking the main religion of the countries I go to. In case of a strongly Christian country, I can bring a relevant quote or example from the religion to strengthen the message of the course. However, if I go to a Buddhist country, I am better off checking Buddha’s Teachings and relate to that for the sake of the participants. It really makes a difference and great impact, also experienced personally. 🙂
Pressing the Play button?
All in all, I believe that delivering a training is never about pressing the Play button of our existing practices and materials.
The previous knowledge is very useful, of course. However, as I want to bring real effectiveness to the course delivery, it is indispensable to constantly re-evaluate the group, the circumstances, the needs, the material, the requirements – each and every time.
This will make a training really successful for the participants as well, regardless of the continent, the country, the circumstances it is being delivered in. ¤