You know that feeling you get when you go someplace new? That feeling of being unsure of where you’re going or what’s acceptable or not?
I get that feeling a lot with my job. I am blessed to be able to travel all over this great country training law enforcement. But that travel often brings me to new places. And each time that happens there is a bit of apprehension that comes with it. Each airport is different. The location of the rental car counter is varied.
As instructors we often cause that feeling in others. Even when we are teaching people from our own agency there is often a similar feeling that they experience. Not sure what the class will be like and no idea what the instructor expectations are.
You can help alleviate these feelings. If you’ve ever been to a Command Presence training event you’ve seen our intro slides. These slides are consistent in each of our events – no matter the topic.
The first thing we lay out for the students are our rules for the class. The rules certainly aren’t that stringent, and they are easy to live with. But by laying them out up front AND getting agreement from those attending to abide by them makes the environment safe for all parties.
The next thing we do is show our “As Iron Sharpens Iron” slide. This slide does two things. First, it lets the class know we don’t claim to be “know-it-alls.” We acknowledge we don’t have all the answers. The second thing it does for us is let the class know that we need them to participate in order for the class to be successful. They have unique knowledge, training, and experiences that need to be shared.
The last thing that we do is lay out our objectives for the day. This serves as our “terms of agreement” with the class. They agree to abide by the rules, participate, and we agree to cover each of these items.
By intentionally doing this, we provide the safe environment that everyone craves. It is the safe environment, or known environment if you please, that helps to relieve that apprehensive feeling we often get. Your people will participate more and will get more out of the session. It’s definitely worth the effort and time.