During the Training
Whenever possible, ask questions instead of talking at participants. You can do this by asking open-ended questions, or questions that cannot be answered with a simple Yes or No. These questions usually begin with words like where, when, what and how. The word why can be used if it is said in a questioning way rather than a confrontational one.
For example, when speaking to a first responder audience, asking, Why do you think some first responders are reluctant to let parents hold their deceased baby? would be appropriate, but asking, Why aren’t you letting parents hold their deceased baby? might be seen as confrontational.
Open-ended questions can be used early in a training to get a sense of participants’ expectations and baseline knowledge levels. Open-ended questions send the message that participants’ input is welcome. You also can use open-ended questions to review information already covered. For example, have participants review or summarize parts of the training by asking the following questions:
What new information have you learned today?
How will you apply what you have learned today as a law enforcement officer who might be called to a home where an infant has died suddenly and unexpectedly?
In addition, you can use open-ended questions to help participants share ideas, experiences, barriers and solutions when you process activities or discuss content. For example:
What has been your experience in encouraging safe sleeping arrangements for newborns?
What are some of the barriers you may face in setting a back only sleep position policy for newborns in your child care center?
How can you overcome the barriers you have identified?
Open-ended questions are a simple way for trainers to acknowledge that participants have valuable information and experience to share. However, using open-ended questions often takes more time than lecturing. If you find that you are running out of time in a session, you may need to limit responses from participants by saying things like, We have time for one or two more comments.