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From the Road

Your First Ten Minutes Could Be Your Last

Steve WillisSteve Willis is a Master Trainer and Vice President of Professional Services at VitalSmarts.

From the Road

“You have about ten minutes with this group. If you don’t get them engaged in the first ten minutes, you’re done.” These were the first words out of Seth’s mouth during a phone call to prepare for an upcoming session. The next were, “If it were any other group it would be different, but this group is special.” I don’t think Seth knew how mistaken he was.

You see, Seth didn’t realize that regardless of the background, the level, the experience, you’ve got about ten minutes to get them engaged. This is a crucial moment in the training experience—a time when the participants decide how much attention they are going to give to you and the material. So how you spend that first ten minutes becomes very important to the experience you and your group will have.

Many times, I’ve seen trainers allow those ten minutes to be filed with too much fluff, and not enough stuff from the program. Next time you’re training, take some time to prep that first ten minutes to see if you can more quickly and effectively engage the participants with an exercise, video, story, example, or case study that will grab their attention and their willingness to give you their second ten minutes of attention (but that’s a topic for next time).

What are your thoughts? Suggestions?


Steve Willis

As one of the original trainers at VitalSmarts, Steve has been on the forefront of developing award-winning training programs, perfecting quality training platforms, and delivering training content that has influenced more than 500,000 people to date. In addition, Steve has trained and certified thousands of employees, managers, and trainers from Fortune 500 companies across the nation. read more

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