Quiet trainees can be difficult to handle.
A trainer can land great difficulty when he gets a quiet and unresponsive train.
This is because, in the learning and teaching experience, an engaged and unengaged audience can make all the difference.
If, as a trainer, you are facing problems handling quiet trainees and engaging with them, here are some very effective ways you’ll get help handling them.
Confront the silence
An experienced trainer knows the value of silence in the classroom.
Silence does not only mean that the trainees are daydreaming or they are not attentively listening to you.
Silence can also mean that all the trainees quietly listen to you with their full attention.
They’re absorbing everything you’re saying, thinking about your lessons, and considering how they will help their life, work, and knowledge.
Instead of making your trainees talk continuously, take this silence positively.
Confront the silence in a way that reminds your trainees to participate in the training session.
For example, whenever you finish talking about a particular topic, wait for a few seconds and ask the trainees some questions.
Asking questions will allow everyone to involve in the discussion.
Try to engage those trainees more in the question-answer session who you think are more quiet and reluctant to participate in the discussion.
This way, even the quiet trainees will get involved in the training session.
They will also try to open up when all the trainees actively participate.
So, try to use every pause and every silent moment to engage your quiet trainees in the training session.
You can also plan any activity to get the quiet trainees involved.
Activities can be planned when you have time before starting a new topic.
But be sure to make everyone involved in the activities.
Try to engage your trainees by asking questions within the training session.
Keep your audience engaged if you want to keep your training session alive so that no one gets bored and sleepy.
The quiet trainees in the training session should also be involved in the question and answer session.
Make sure you select your questions very carefully, don’t ask questions that can only be answered with yes or no.
Ask open-ended questions to allow the quiet trainees to answer in detail.
Remember to prepare your questions beforehand.
Open-ended questions give more room for discussion and further opportunities to learn something.
Ask for opinions
During the training session, ask for the opinions of your trainees.
This will make them feel knowledgeable and valuable.
When a trainer asks for the opinions of their trainees, he gets them involved in the learning process.
When asked for opinions, you will remove the fear of quiet trainees so they can also remove their fear of talking within a group.
Most quiet people dislike speaking in groups; they hesitate and feel reluctant.
But if you make them feel comfortable and valuable, they may feel that their opinion matters.
This feeling will encourage them to talk next time.
You can also ask them to give their opinions on your communication skills.
This will engage them in a healthy conversation.
Once the quiet trainees feel comfortable with you and the group, they will also start participating in further conversations.
One of the very effective techniques to bring the quiet trainees out of their shells is to make them tell stories.
You can ask them to tell a story within the breaks when a topic ends.
You can also tell a story yourself and ask questions of the trainees.
This will help engage all the participants equally in the session and also help them express their feelings.
Some people have a hard time speaking in front of people.
Most quiet people find it awkward to speak in front of a group; for that, you can give them the option of writing their thoughts down in the form of a story.
Quiet people will express themselves better in a written form because speaking out loud is not their way of expressing things.
Remember, if your trainees are quiet, that doesn’t mean they are not interested in listening or replying to you.
Most quiet people are more interested and attentive than those who talk too much.
Those who talk less listen more.
Those who talk more, listen less, and face difficulty concentrating.
So if you have quiet trainees, learn how to deal with them.
Please don’t feel bad about them being quiet.
They’re better than those who talk more because they will take less time to learn from you.
There is a variety of teaching tools you can use to make your quiet trainees get trained better.
For example, you can use flip cards to write notes on them and illustrate points so that all the trainees can see them.
Things that are heard and read simultaneously are easy to remember and learn.
So when you use teaching tools, that will make your points easy to understand for the audience.
You can also make presentations and display them on a projector, so everything you say is shown there, too, with pictures and slides.
Another way is to give your quiet trainees paper and pencil so they express their thoughts in words or pictures.
This will not only make it easy for the quiet trainees to express themselves, but it will also make the process more fun and creative.
Start a conversation with the quiet trainee so that it may serve as an icebreaker.
This will help you gain his trust, and he will start opening up with you.
You will have to go the extra mile to make your trainee have a good conversation with you.
Maybe you’ll need to make a lot of effort, but that would be worth it.
But remember that you will have to take the first step; you will be the one to break the ice because quiet people usually don’t take the initiative in talking first.
To make quiet trainees talk and to deal with them easily, you can make them sit with a chatterbox person.
When two people with totally different personalities sit together, they influence each other.
This will serve your purpose, the quiet trainee will start opening a little bit, and the chatterbox trainee will take the influence from the quiet trainee by talking less.
This is a very effective technique to deal with the quiet trainee present in your group of trainees.
Give responsibility to that quiet trainee, and make him the group leader.
Being the group leader, he will be forced to interact often with the group members for different reasons.
Making him responsible for the group members will eventually make him less quiet.
You must schedule a one-to-one conversation with the quiet trainees.
When you observe a trainee not participating much and seems quiet, arrange a one-to-one conversation with him.
Quiet people usually don’t talk in a group; they like being alone and only open up to people they trust.
When you arrange a one-to-one conversation with a quiet trainee, he will feel that he also matters to you even though he doesn’t participate much.
The one-to-one conversation will make the trainee and the trainer’s bond stronger.
Tell your trainee that the conversation between you two will remain confidential, ask for the problems they are facing in interacting during the session and then address those problems in the right way.
Acknowledge if they tell you about your disruptive behavior, which may have upset them.
This will show them nicely that you care for them and want them to participate equally as others do.
This technique will also help in building their confidence.
Quiet trainees may be difficult to handle, but it can become much easier if handled with careful techniques like those mentioned above.
If you don’t make any effort to make your quiet trainees speak up a little, you will keep running blind because you will get no feedback, and you will have no idea about which areas to focus more on while conducting the course.
In such conditions, change your training techniques according to the trainee’s personality.
I hope the above article will be helpful for you.
Q: How do I respond if the quiet trainees ask me questions during the break while I’m sitting alone?
Never discourage a quiet trainee even if he comes to you in the break to ask a question alone.
Answer him politely and express gratitude upon bringing your attention to that question.
Also, request him in the nicest of manners to ask the same question during the session so that more people may benefit from his question.
This way, the quiet trainee will get his answer, and also he will gain confidence.
Q: What are some reasons for being trainees quiet in a training session?
A: Trainees may be quiet due to shyness, lack of confidence, cultural differences, or language barriers.
They may also be disengaged or find the content uninteresting.
Q: How can I encourage quiet trainees to participate?
A: Try using icebreakers, asking open-ended questions, providing positive feedback, and creating a safe and inclusive environment.
Also, consider providing opportunities for small group discussions or pairing quieter trainees with more outgoing ones.
Q: Should I call out quiet trainees in front of the group?
A: No, it’s important to avoid singling out individuals and creating a negative or uncomfortable atmosphere.
Instead, try to create opportunities for participation that feel safe and supportive.
Q: How can I measure the success of my efforts to engage quiet trainees?
A: You can measure success by tracking participation levels, asking for feedback from trainees, and observing changes in engagement and confidence levels.
Remember that building trust and rapport takes time and consistency.
Q: What if I still have trouble engaging quiet trainees despite my best efforts?
A: Consider reaching out to the trainees individually to better understand their needs and barriers to participation.
Additionally, consider seeking feedback from other trainers or colleagues for additional ideas and support.