What's the key to effective scenario-based training? Making it real. Inspirational trainers take the 93% of their training effectiveness--their voice and body language--and they make it real. They practice out loud where they will be training, or simulate a setting as close to it as possible. They practice in front of live listeners and solicit feedback, or they imagine their learners--they see their puzzled, bored, resentful, hostile, engaged or inspired faces--and they train out loud to each of them. They listen to how they sound. They become keenly aware of how they use their body.
This doesn't mean you have to rehearse an entire 40-hour training. But put some concentrated time into preparing that 93% of your training that will determine its value. Record a five-minute portion of your training to a recorder just like you intend to do it for real. Listen to the recording. Imagine you don't know the trainer. Then, write down your responses to the following questions:
- What part of the tape sounded best to you? Why?
- What part seemed most important to the speaker? Why?
- Did the speaker influence you? Why or why not?
- Were there parts you didn't understand? If so, what got in the way?
- Which of the following aptly describe the speaker?
If you answer all the questions the way you hope the officers you train will, you're done. Otherwise, decide what parts of your vocal communication you'd like to improve and work on them.
As officers, you wouldn't think of using your firearm, expandable baton, handcuffs, pepper spray, or patrol vehicle without training and practicing with them. Do your recruits or officers deserve any less from you as their trainer? Here's another exercise. Examine some videotape of your classroom training with the audio muted. Do you stay behind a lectern or table with your outline in front of you? If you do, you're isolating yourself from your inspiration--your recruits or officers. Get out where your officers are; bring them up to where you are. Make one on one contact with them with a hand on a shoulder, with your eyes, with your voice. Look at your posture. What does it say about your passion for being there, about your commitment to the recruits or officers, about how important they are to you and their communities? Ask yourself if the person you see is committed, enthusiastic, inspired, engaged or passionate? Does she believe in what she is saying? Use your eyes, your hands, your posture, and your body movement to communicate your passion for the training and for your recruits and officers. Examine your movements for distractions: flying hands, toe or finger tapping, swaying, shuffling feet, pacing, fiddling with your hair, adjusting your clothing, shrugging. Get rid of those. Keep the body movements that purposefully communicate your material and your commitment to it and your officers. (These exercises were also adapted from Taking Center Stage.)
FTOs, these tips apply to one-on-one training in the field as well as a classroom or other group setting. Your training to become an FTO should include scenarios where you are in a patrol car debriefing a rookie after an incident and your goal is to inspire them to handle the matter differently. You, too, can audiotape and videotape an incident debriefing and do the same exercises above. When videotaping, look into the camera as you would the eyes of your rookie. If you can tape the debriefing where it might actually occur, all the better.
Greatness Is Within You
American scholar, author and teacher, William Arthur Ward, said,
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
Some say, "those who can't do, teach." I say:
- You can be the greatest, expert do-er;
- You can know all there is about a subject and be the best in the world at it;
- And if you can't communicate in way that inspires others, your sphere of influence is limited to your actions.
Greatness comes from inspiring others to act. When you inspire ONE officer, the ripple effect, perhaps unseen by you, touches countless others ...and so you go on working forever.