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How to Survive The Worst Case Scenarios As A Trainer

Leslie Ciborowski
President Of TrainSmart, Inc.

When my daughter was ten years old, someone gave her a copy of the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. She decided to keep it in the glove compartment of the car and every day when I was chauffeuring her back and forth to activities; she would read an excerpt. These scenarios included everything from escaping a sinking car to surviving avalanches and knowing how to jump from a speeding motorcycle into a moving car- something I never planned to do.

As varied as the worst case scenarios are, the one thing they have in common is that survival depends on two things: knowledge and planning. Before you can escape that sinking car, you have to know how to get out of the car. You can choose to keep your windows open when you are driving near water or ice, or you need to have a sharp object in the car to break the glass and your seat belt.

However, knowing that you have to break the glass and escape will not guarantee survival, you have to have the tool to break the window. And that takes planning.

As trainers, every training event has the potential to become a sinking car. The key is to know how to react in the event of a potential disaster and to have the tools to make survival possible.

Here is my list of the top 5 worst case scenarios for a trainer.

Worst Case Scenario #1: How To Survive A Technical Disaster

Technical disasters include equipment failure, equipment that don’t talk to each other, lack of internet access and a faulty sound system. Too often trainers/facilitators who are faced with a technical disaster try to shrug it off at the moment and ask for the participants’ patience   Here’s what we’ve found: Participants don’t appreciate improv. They have little patience for a trainer/facilitator who doesn’t have a solid plan in place in the event of a technical disaster. Participants judge your professionalism on many criteria and use of technology is one of them. Technology failures, even those that are not your fault, often show up in evaluation scores. Participants expect the technology to work and if it doesn’t, than the Plan B has to make them feel as if they had a better learning experience without the use of technology.

Survival Essentials

  • The best way to survive a technical disaster is to have backup equipment. If you are training in a corporate facility that provides a computer, ask the training coordinator if they have backup computers available. Even if they do, bring your own backup.
  • Have a copy of your presentation on two flash drives as well as stored in “the cloud.”
  • Have a printed copy of all the slides. If a copier is available, print a copy of all slides for participants.
  • If a copier is not available, be glad you prepared for Worst case scenario #5 Murphy’s Law and email copies of the presentation to participants.

No Access to The Internet

In many corporate facilities, the firewall settings prevent you from going to many popular websites and many cloud sites as well. That’s why in the event you need to access your presentation you can’t rely on having it on a cloud service. Many businesses block access to popular sites like Dropbox. If you are blocked, you will be happy that the presentation is also on a flash drive.

If your presentation is dependent on the internet, be glad you prepared for Worst case scenario #5 Murphy’s Law. If you can’t access the sites you need, consider investing in a having a personal hotspot on your smartphone. A Personal Hotspot lets you share the cellular connection of your iPhone with your computer.

If you want to use this option, be sure your cellular plan can accommodate the data that you will use implementing this strategy.

To implement this strategy, you will probably need to be on your own computer. Which means you need to make sure your computer can talk to the projector. Have all necessary cables to make this possible.

Projector doesn’t work

Bring a backup projector with all necessary cables. If you are training in an unknown space, send them the backup technology worksheet see Worst Case Scenario #5 Murphy’s Law.

If you are traveling for your training session, having to lug a projector can feel like a big pain. The decision on whether to travel with a backup projector depends on your comfort level of presenting the workshop without the projected visual support. If you are comfortable presenting without visuals, then you can leave the extra projector at home.

Room Doesn’t Have a Remote Device to change slides.

Check Worst Case Scenario #5 Murphy’s Law to see what list of recommended items in you emergency training kit. 

No Sound

This is only a problem if you are planning on sharing some videos. If you’ve ever tried to rely on the speakers from a computer in a large training room, you know what a disaster that can be. When the sound doesn’t work bring out your external speaker that you’ve included in your emergency training kit, thanks to the tips in Worst Case Scenario #5 Murphy’s Law.

Update: Looking to enroll in a 1-day ttt, 2-day ttt or 3-day ttt train-the-trainer course in 2018? We are offering open enrollment courses in Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, San Diego, CA,  Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN,  Chester Springs, PAOrlando, FL, Irvine, CA, Atlanta, GA, Phoenix, AZ, San Jose, CA, Austin, TX or Nashville, TN? Have a group of 5 or more, and want custom we have on-site training options for you too.

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Leslie Ciborowski
Leslie has over 25 years experience in the training industry. Her responsibilities have included sales, hands on management and software training, curriculum development, needs analysis, usability testing, and project management. Her strong training background, organizational skills, and exceptional development expertise, augment her extensive sales and marketing abilities.