I don’t know about you, but as a trainer, when I complete a really great workshop I always read the evaluations. I pore over them looking for ways that I can improve training, get more engagement, provide experiences that lead to sustainable changes in behavior, enhance skills, or influence attitudes. My steadfastness with my own evaluation comes from having my heart broken a few times when I heard a participant say that their favorite part of the training was “the people,” as opposed to having been part of a memorable teachable moment.

Do you ever feel that way? When was the last time you went to a workshop, conference, or seminar that was so engaging it was unforgettable?

I think the last one that really hit me in my emotional solar plexus was about eight years ago. The timing alone says a lot since I attend a LOT of events. There were about 300 people present, and we were all given a drum and then taught to play together as a 300-piece drum choir. It was unbelievably powerful and unforgettable. The interesting part of it was that since the drum exercise was so powerful, I can also recall other parts of the conference and several different sessions with incredible recall.

That recall doesn’t happen often, you know?

I think that most trainers work really hard to deliver the content, and to make sure that their participants “get it.” Participants attend training for such a myriad of reasons it’s hard to fit them all here, but you’re probably familiar with some who are into it, some who attend and think of it as a vacation day (since they aren’t at their regular job that day), and others who feel like they are forced to go as a part of a prison sentence. These ranging motivations make it a huge challenge to design training that will appeal, stick, and motivate those same participants to take on something new. Designing meaningful evaluations will help you figure out how to connect with participants and deliver powerful training.