Training Design For A Half-Hour Training

by Pooja
(New Delhi)

What kind of a training design should I have to conduct a half-hour training? My office is having all the trainers in the organisation present half-hour sessions so that they can appraise our performance. I want to be able to deliver the best. It should be activity based and enable me to involve all participants.


You can conduct quite a few half-hour sessions. It would have been useful if you had asked for a specific topic. Apparently however, you have a choice. Usually a leadership session although complicated, can make quite an impact.

So, I will outline here a design that I would do for a half-hour duration which will make a good introduction to a longer session on leadership. It would also be useful to know the number of participants. However, as that information is not available, I am going to presume a group of 15 participants.

Introduction to the topic of Leadership:

- Zen Story (A cup of Tea. The story is explained at the end of the design.)(1 min)

- Debrief of Story - The general belief of leaders is that they have all the correct answers and can get anything done through their astute decision-making. The King who approached Nan-in had this kind of a opinion about himself and for him Zen was just another area that had to be collected and added to his repertoire of leadership skills. This kind of an attitude is just one perception of what Leadership is. In this session we'll take a look at what are the other perceptions of leadership (5 mins)

- Divide the group into three small groups. Name the groups A, B and C. Give each group a bunch of around 50 plastic straws (the kind that you use to drink from a coke bottle) and a packet of pins (ball pins - pins with a head). The task is for them to build a strong, stable and tall structure within 15 minutes using these materials.

Tell group A that they do not have a leader and yet they are expected to complete the task as per instructions

Tell the group B that they have to choose a leader whose directions they will follow to complete the task.

Tell the group C to choose a leader too, but whose task is to take the opinion of everybody while s/he and one other person from the graoup can build the straw structure.

After 15 minutes ask the groups to stop the task.

You'll also find a similar game described on the website on the page. However, for your purposes use the description on this page.

- Debrief (8 mins): For the debrief ask the following questions of the group:

1. What were the different kinds of leadership that were evident in each group? Group the opinions in three columns on a flip-chart under laissez faire, dictatorial/traditional/directive and democratic leadership

Quiz the groups as to the names (whether it was A, B or C) of the groups where these leadership styles were operative.

2. Which group finished the task or was close to finishing the task successfully?

Closing Comments: (1 min) What were the issues in each of the groups that helped or hindered the group from being successful?

Facilitator's comments: Our next step is to find out if these issues are tackled in any other form of leadership

The Cup of Tea: Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), received a King who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full and then kept pouring.

The King watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull, no more will go in.” “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” Zen Flesh – Zen Bones

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Nov 11, 2009
Good Half-hour Session!
by: Pooja

Thank you for guiding me through this session. I changed the last part of the design. Instead of just closing it with comments, I narrated another story, which I believe suited my needs more.

However, I don't think I could have done it without your guidance initially. My supervisors were very pleased with my training. My appraisal as a trainer has turned out to be very good.

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