“It isn’t making mistakes that’s critical; it’s correcting them and getting on with the principal task.” Donald Rumsfeld
Being prepared should be part of the trainer’s code when it comes to audiovisuals. If you don’t avoid these four mistakes, you are likely to have a lot of trouble and frustration when you try to use your audiovisuals.
Mistake #1: Not checking and preparing equipment
All trainers have stories about audiovisual equipment that didn’t work. Get to the training room early enough to make sure that everything works properly and has the correct connectors, wires and remotes. To be safe, bring your own remote with extra batteries and, when possible, your own extension cord with the number of plug-ins you will need. Practice using the remote. Check any extension cords to make sure that they are flat on the floor and not a tripping hazard for you or the participants. Bring wide masking tape so that you can tape the cords to the floor if the training facility does not provide plastic mats that cover the cords.
Mistake #2: Not checking sight lines
There is no point in using audiovisual aids if all of the participants cannot see them. Once the training room is set up with tables, chairs, flip charts, screen, LCD stand, or whatever furnishings and equipment you use, make sure to check sight lines from each chair. In larger rooms, you may need to project higher on a wall so that participants in the back of the room can see the entire slide. You may need to write only on the top half of flip charts for the very same reason, because participants in the back may not be able to see the bottom half of the chart.
Mistake #3: Not preparing markers
It is an unhappy reality that flip chart markers easily dry out. If the participants or you forget to securely close the cap on the markers, they dry out even faster. As a result, it is wise to check your markers to see if the ink still flows freely before each training session. It is also wise to have a backup set of markers. This way, you will be prepared if a marker dries out during the session.
Mistake #4: Not having the right adhesives
Every trainer who travels should have a kit with painter’s masking tape, poster putty, stick pins and straight pins. Many hotel and conference rooms use dividing walls with nubby fabric on them. Even if the flip chart pages are self-sticking, certain smooth wall surfaces will still require that you use masking tape to make sure the pages stay up on the walls. Your kit will ensure that you will be prepared for any wall surface.
It just takes a little pre-planning to avoid these four mistakes so that you are able to use your audiovisuals easily and effectively. In next week’s Tip, we will look at four more mistakes to avoid when using audiovisuals.
May your learning be sweet.