How Can A Trainer Refocus A Training Session Once It's Gone Off Track?

Refocusing Back To The Agenda

Sometimes it’s necessary to cut short discussions due to time constraints, or because the comment or questions is somewhat off-topic. If you feel the need to do that, and it’s likely you will for some groups, here are some tips:

  • For questions and comments that are relevant, but probably not of interest to other group members, suggest the person talk to you at break, or right after the seminar.
  • For questions and comments that are not constructive, lead the discussion astray, or as sometimes happens, show a hidden agenda (i.e. an axe to grind with management), it’s useful to recognize that the person is passionate about the comment, but that you can’t do anything about the situation they might be describing (for example, a boss that is unsupportive, or a gripe about someone or somebody). In this situation refocus by indicating we need to focus on things we have some control over, and that’s our own behavior, and actions, so we need to get back to that. Then return to the agenda.

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